Peter Gabriel: Sledgehammer

Posted March 7, 2011 by J Matthew Cobb in HiDef

Nothing quite tops the almightiness of “Sledgehammer”

In the Eighties, MTV made sure that the music videos playing in their daily programming promoted grandeur levels of video art. Peter Gabriel’s reimagining of a ‘Pee Wee’s Playhouse’ universe in the 1986 video for “Sledgehammer” proved to be one of their best. The song was a smash hit on pop radio (#1), but the concept video took its legend to a higher plateau. Its combinations of cut-and-paste plasticine animation, claymation and stop-motion techniques proved to be groundbreaking at the time. To prove how big it was, the video took home nine MTV Video Music Awards – the most for any music video to date and it remains the most played music video to ever hit MTV. Before Cee Lo struck Grammy gold with his charging blunt 2010 hit “F**k You,” Peter Gabriel paved the way with three nominations (including Song of the Year and Record of the Year). Pretty good for a filthy sexually-innuendo anthem loaded with funky Memphis soul and sprinkles of cool rock. J MATTHEW COBB

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J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine

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