By: Ray Hidalgo
Classic Rock icon Peter Gabriel turns 63 today, and what better time to look back at his incredible career than on his birthday !
When Gabriel suddenly left Genesis in 1975, his absence left a gaping void in the then-fledgling group. It took hundreds of auditions to find a competent frontman to replace him until the discombobulated ensemble settled on their backup drummer, the prodigious Phil Collins (it still worked out pretty well). Gabriel went on to release a series of successful solo albums, most notably, 1986's So. Had he not left Genesis, however, Gabriel’s contributions outside of his music may never have come to fruition.
Despite his wide musical acclaim, Gabriel has at times, ignored his more well-known day job to follow his curiosity. In 2011, Gabriel told the Sydney Morning Herald, “I've not been bored but then I've also made decisions to have an interesting life rather than trying to maintain a successful career. And they are slightly different paths.”
In particular, Gabriel has been a prominent activist in the fight against racism. In addition to the song “Biko,” an anti-Apartheid anthem inspired by murdered South African activist Stephen Biko, the British musician has co-founded the prominent human rights advocacy group WITNESS with Amnesty International and Nelson Mandela, the esteemed former president of South Africa.
Having also co-founded the internationally recognized World of Music, Arts, and Dance Festival, Gabriel has endeavored to unite people through the messages he conveys off and on the stage.
On WOMAD’s website, Gabriel says, “Music is a universal language, it draws people together and proves, as well as anything, the stupidity of racism.”
Happy Birthday to Peter Gabriel! For more on his life and career, head to his official website.