Shock The Monkey

Released 20th September, 1982

Shock The Monkey was the first single to be taken from Peter’s fourth solo album and was released in September 1982, a couple of weeks after the album.

The song was written by Peter and produced by David Lord and Peter and recorded at Peter’s home of Ashcombe House near Bath. Though originally mixed at Crescent Studios in Bath, the track was remixed at SARM studios, engineered by Julian Mendelsohn, with help from Danny Heaps.

Most people saw that as a sort of animal rights song, but it wasn’t actually, it was a song about jealousy.

The single first charted in the UK on 25 September 1982, peaked at 58 and stayed in the UK Top75 for 5 weeks. In the USA the single became Peter’s first top 30 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 reaching #29 on 29 January 1983 and eventually spending 18 weeks on the chart.

Peter was interviewed on BBC Radio 1 by David ‘Kid’ Jensen on 19 August 1982, where he reflected on the first WOMAD festival and forthcoming new album. He was asked if the choice of Shock the Monkey as a single had been his own:

“In fact, no. We had various discussions with the record company [and] in the end I came round to this way of thinking. I would have preferred this as a second single. I was trying to write in a Tamla Motown style, although the end production and arrangement isn’t really in that direction but in terms of lyrics and actual songwriting that was the feel with which I started, so in some ways I didn’t feel that it most represented the album, but I like the song and if you hear it you’ll get a feel for what it is…”

The cover images for the single are based on video images by Malcolm Poynter, Peter Gabriel and David Gardner, that also feature in the album artwork.


The video for Shock The Monkey was directed by Brian Grant and produced by Scott Millaney.

The track features Jerry Marotta on drums, David Rhodes on guitar, Tony Levin on bass, Larry Fast on prophet and backing vocals from Peter Hammier. Peter on vocals, Linn programming, prophet, CMI and backing vocals.

The single was released on 7″, 12″ and 7″ picture disc

Shock The Monkey
Soft Dog

Shock The Monkey
Soft Dog

7″ picture disc
Shock The Monkey
Soft Dog

Soft Dog is available on the digital only album ‘Flotsam and Jetsam’. The track was mixed and engineered by Glenn Tommey.