Burn You Up, Burn You Down

Released 24th November, 2003

Burn You Up, Burn You Down was released as a single in support of the compilation album Hit, and released on 24 November 2003.

Recorded at Real World Studios, Burn You Up, Burn You Down was written by Peter Gabriel, Neil Sparkes and Karl Wallinger. Produced by Peter Gabriel, Stephen Hague and Karl Wallinger and recorded by David Bottrill and Richard Chappell. The single version was mixed by Stephen Hague and Richard Evans and edited by Ben Findlay.

The song originally dates back to the first of the Real World Recording Weeks in the summer of 1991.

“This was a long groovy track and everyone ended up in the workroom at midnight listening to it – Billy Cobham on drums, a lot of red wine going round,” remembers engineer Richard Chappell.

Popsy Dixon [The Holmes Brothers] has this very high voice, a hauntingly beautiful voice, and he’d come up with these high notes that hit me hard every time he reached them – PG

The song had nearly made the UP album. In fact, initial artworked promo CDs of the album even feature the track, before a last minute decision to remove it was made. An alternate version is also available on the Big Blue Ball album which celebrates the three extraordinary Real World Recording Weeks of 1991, 1992 and 1995.

The single spent one week in the UK singles chart and peaked at 78.

The cover uses an image by photographer Gregory Halvorsen Schreck and was designed by Marc Bessant; “I can’t remember where I first saw the series of the man with the bag on his head by Gregory Halvorsen Schreck, but I know when I did I thought they were really good – fun but a little sinister. Peter has long been an exponent of distorting faces, well this was losing a recognisable face altogether, making it an ‘everyone’ or a ‘no-one’ – either way it made for an intriguing cover.”

Performers on Burn You Up, Burn You Down:
Vocals, keyboards: Peter Gabriel
Backing vocals: The Holmes Brothers (Wendell Holmes, Sherman Holmes & Popsy Dixon), Jules Shear, Karl Wallinger
Guitar: Justin Adams, David Rhodes
Bass: Jah Wobble, Wendy Melvoin
Drums: Billy Cobham
Djembe sabar: Arona N’diaye
Programming: Chuck Norman
Guitar synth, organ, skin shake, hi-hat, frame drum: Tchad Blake

The single was released on CD

Burn You Up, Burn You Down – Radio Edit
Darkness – Engelspost Remix