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Peter Gabriel – In Your Eyes


It’s often the case that the best song on an album doesn’t get released as a single (see: Fever by Kylie Minogue) and I always used to tut when this happened and assume it was a cynical ploy on the part of fiendish record company executives to force you into buying the album instead. Come to think of it, it’s not really that cynical, it’s fairly sensible marketing. But it is a bit annoying come Greatest Hits time and there’s a glaringly obvious omission.

1986’s So was the great breakthrough Peter Gabriel album, the one where public perception of him shifted from slightly-strange-man-who-used-to-be-in-Genesis to handsome, confident showman with a glint in his eye and bags of top tunes. So was packed with them – Sledgehammer, Big Time, Red Rain and the Kate Bush duet Don’t Give Up.

Best of all though, there was In Your Eyes. Possibly the most stirring declaration of love ever recorded, I like to think that had it been around in 1597 William Shakespeare would have slotted it into the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet. As it stands, it was Cameron Crowe who got lucky, using it to iconic effect in 1989’s Say Anything. It may also be the most intimidating declaration of love ever recorded – what on earth do you say back to “In your eyes I see the doorway to a thousand churches” ? “Cheers, thanks a lot” probably wouldn’t cut it.

Now, every pop fan knows that in every amazing song there is always the moment – that is, the point where the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and everything is as perfect as it can be. It usually comes about three quarters of the way through, often after the bridge when it jumps a key and heads into the chorus for a final victory lap. But In Your Eyes is one of only two records I can think of which have the moment right at the beginning (the other is of course ELO and Olivia Newton John‘s Xanadu.) What both these songs have in common is the genuine rush they induce in just a couple of bars, and by the time Peter sings “love….I get so lost sometimes” I am buying whatever he is selling.

While we were forced to shell out £5.99 for the cassette in Our Price, Americans did get this as a single, twice in fact – making no.26 in 1986 and no.41 three years later on the back of its use in Say Anything. Lucky them.


Entered chart: was not released

Who could sing this today and have a hit? Ooh, let’s give it to Andrea Faustini as his first single.

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