Released 21st April, 1986

Sledgehammer was the first single to be taken from Peter’s fifth solo studio album So, and was released on 21 April 1986.

‘Sledgehammer’ was obviously a big track from that record and that was, in part, homage to the music that I grew up with. I loved soul music, blues music and that was a chance to work with some of the brass players that had worked with Otis Redding, who’s my all time favourite singer. It was a fun thing to do, but again that was built around a great groove and a good feel.

Written by Peter Gabriel, the song was produced by Daniel Lanois and Peter and engineered by Kevin Killen and Lanois.

The cover was designed by Peter Saville and Brett Wickens for Peter Saville Associates. with photography by Trevor Key.

The single first charted in the UK on 26 April 1986, peaked at #4 and stayed in the UK Top75 for 18 weeks. In the USA Sledgehammer reached #1 on the Hot 100 on 26 July 1986, replacing Genesis’ Invisible Touch in the top spot and eventually spending 21 weeks on the top 100.

The accompanying video for Sledgehammer was directed by Stephen R Johnson, produced by Adam Whitaker, with animation by Nick Park, The Brothers Quay, Peter Lord and Richard Goleszowski. The video won a record nine awards at the 1987 MTV Video Music Awards, including Video of the Year as well as Best British Video at the 1987 Brit Awards. In 2018 a remastered 4K version of the video was premiered on Apple Music, after extensive restoration work was completed by the team at Aardman. Watch in 4K here.

The single was released on a number of formats in the UK:

Don’t Break This Rhythm

Don’t Break This Rhythm
I Have the Touch – ’85 remix

12″ / Cassette Limited Edition
Sledgehammer – dance mix, remixed by John ‘Tokes’ Potoker
Don’t Break This Rhythm
Biko – twelve inch extended version
I Have The Touch – ’85 remix