Wednesday Weeper of the Week: “Here Comes The Flood” by Peter Gabriel

The artist doesn’t always know best.

That’s the conclusion I’ve reached concerning Peter Gabriel’s haunting ballad “Here Comes The Flood.” I knew the song originally from a greatest hits collection called Shaking The Tree: 16 Golden Greats. On that version, which the credits listed as having been recorded specifically for the compilation, Gabriel is accompanied only by piano and some atmospheric effects. He sounds like the survivor of apocalyptic event in this take, sadly surveying what man has wrought.

For years I listened to this version and loved it. Then last year I was watching The Americans, which is the best thing on TV by a wide margin in my humble opinion. At the end of a particularly fine episode, the actions of various characters were set to the original version of “Here Comes The Flood,” which can be found on Gabriel’s 1977 solo debut and which I had never bothered to seek out. And I was floored by its power.

Gabriel apparently thought the song was overproduced by Bob Ezrin, known for his work on Pink Floyd’s The Wall and several other rock classics. While it’s true that Ezrin has never been known for his subtlety, his work on “Here Comes The Flood” coaxes great drama out of it. The crashing guitars and Gabriel’s hollowed-out croon really up the intensity, and the imagery of the lyrics, which are half-environmental plaint and half science fiction, really pops on this take.

I’m providing links to both versions below so you can make your choice. Like I said they’re both fantastic, but I’ve come to prefer Ezrin’s bombast over Gabriel’s desolation.

(E-mail me at countdownkid@hotmail.com or follow me on Twitter @JimBeviglia.)

http://www.amazon.com/Counting-Down-Bruce-Springsteen-Finest/dp/1442230657

http://www.amazon.com/Counting-Down-Bob-Dylan-Finest/dp/0810888238

 

Advertisements

2 Comments on “Wednesday Weeper of the Week: “Here Comes The Flood” by Peter Gabriel”

  1. wardo68 says:

    Definitely seek out the version recorded with Robert Fripp for his Exposure album. Ward everybodysdummy.com twitter.com/everybodysdummy From: Countdown Kid To: wardo68@yahoo.com Sent: Wednesday, March 25, 2015 10:04 AM Subject: [New post] Wednesday Weeper of the Week: “Here Comes The Flood” by Peter Gabriel #yiv5010250026 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv5010250026 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv5010250026 a.yiv5010250026primaryactionlink:link, #yiv5010250026 a.yiv5010250026primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv5010250026 a.yiv5010250026primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv5010250026 a.yiv5010250026primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv5010250026 WordPress.com | countdownkid posted: “The artist doesn’t always know best.That’s the conclusion I’ve reached concerning Peter Gabriel’s haunting ballad “Here Comes The Flood.” I knew the song originally from a greatest hits collection called Shaking The Tree: 16 Golden Greats. On that ver” | |

  2. Scott says:

    Spot damn on. I’ve heard a half dozen different versions, at least, including various live versions, and while all were wonderful, despite PG’s opinion, none of them are are quite as great as the original LP version.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s