The Barry Williams Show

Released 16th September, 2002

The Barry Williams Show was the first single to taken from Peter Gabriel’s seventh solo studio album UP, and was released prior to the album on 16 September 2002.

Recorded and mixed at Real World Studios, The Barry Williams Show was produced by Peter Gabriel, recorded and engineered by Richard Chappell and mixed by Tchad Blake.

‘The Barry Williams Show’ is definitely an observation on TV culture and I didn’t realise at the time of choosing the name Barry Williams, which was effectively out of a hat, that there would be various well known Barry Williams; there’s a Welsh Rugby Player and there’s an actor who was in the Brady Bunch in America… so people are speculating on why I would make references to the Brady Bunch! We are also dealing with the lyrics and whether they are going to get on radio now which is something which hadn’t occurred to me because I don’t think any of the lyrics are things you wouldn’t find in a Sunday newspaper or teenage magazines in some way but it was quite fun writing it.

The cover image was designed by Marc Bessant. Of the artwork Bessant says;
“Mostly the singles artwork came from the choices already taken to represent the songs on the album. For a couple of months myself and Dilly Gent sourced various material to show Peter based on what we had heard and some lyrics we had. Some choices were more literal than others, whilst some had meaning which we missed and/or was more relevant/personal to Peter.”

The Barry Williams Show CD single artwork design grid.

The Barry Williams Show cover uses the Paul Thorel image ‘Regardez Madame! L’Escargot Vola!’ “Peter has always had a big interest in film and video art; I didn’t know of Paul Thorel’s work but it was perfect for this particular song and the themes it touched on. Distortions of image, breaking down of transmission and reception, human beings voluntarily lost/immersed in the context (in this case reality TV). Paul Thorel’s digital/photographic work of the gazing face decomposing into scan lines more than suggested this brilliantly.”

The accompanying video was shot and directed by Sean Penn.

Performers in The Barry Williams Show
Drums: Manu Katché, Ged Lynch
Percussion: Ged Lynch
Guitar: David Rhodes
Backwards guitar: Tony Berg
Bass: Tony Levin
Trumpet: Christian Le Chevretel
Backing vocals: David Rhodes, Sally Larkin
Groove treatment: Tchad Blake
Treated loop and programming: Richard Chappell
Reverse strings, mellotron, organ, bass keys, harmonica, chorus telecaster, string samples, MPC groove: Peter Gabriel

An edit of the track Cloudless features on each format of the single release, having previously been released on the Long Walk Home album, in April earlier the same year. It’s connection to the song Sky Blue, through its use of the same spine-tingling performance by The Blind Boys of Alabama was, at this point, still to be revealed.

The single was released on CD and 7″.
7″ – PGSV13
The Barry Williams Show (Unadulterated Radio Edit) 4:44
Cloudless (Radio Edit) 4:08

CD – PGSCD13
The Barry Williams Show (Unadulterated Radio Edit) 4:44
The Barry Williams Show (Album Version) 7:18
My Head Sounds Like That (Remix By Röyksopp) 8:22
Cloudless (Radio Edit) 4:08

CD – PGSCDE13
The Barry Williams Show (Unadulterated Radio Edit) 4:44
My Head Sounds Like That (Remix By Röyksopp) 8:22

Unavailable digitally for many years the Röyksopp Remix is available on the digital compilation Flotsam and Jetsam.