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    RockChat Rewind with Joe Milliken.
    On this day (May 19) in 1986 Peter Gabriel released his fifth studio album on the Charisma/Geffen label titled “So.” Recorded at his home studio, Real World Studios, and produced by Gabriel and Daniel Lanois, Peter was a little less experimental on “So,” despite drawing from various musical influences including art rock, pop, soul and African and Brazilian world music elements. It was also his first solo effort not to be simply called “Peter Gabriel,” after getting some pressure from his record label about not properly promoting his music and new album.
    Gabriel had considered Chic’s Nile Rodgers as a producer, but ultimately chose Lanois, who had worked with him on the 1984 soundtrack “Birdy.” Other musicians appearing on the album included bassist Tony Levin, guitarist David Rhodes, and drummers Jerry Moratta and Stewart Copeland. Backup singers included Kate Bush, Laurie Anderson and Youssou N’Dour.
    “So” is Gabriel’s most successful album and catapulted the artist from cult hero to a mainstream star and received mostly positive reviews from the press, praised for its fusion of multiple genres, poignant lyrics, creative melodies and the pioneering use of the Fairlight CMI synthesizer. The album was nominated for three Grammys in 1986 including “album of the year” (lost to Paul Simon’s “Graceland”), and won “video of the year” at the MTV Music Awards for “Sledgehammer.” Gabriel also won “best male artist” and “best video” at the Brit Awards that same year.
    “So” reached #2 on the Billboard album chart, #1 on the UK chart, and hit #1 in ten countries. Three singles from the album cracked the Billboard Hot 100 chart, with “Sledgehammer hitting #1 where it stayed for four weeks, while “Big Time” reached #8 and “In Your Eyes” climbed to #26. A fourth single, “Don’t Give Up,” reached #72. One of the top-selling albums of the 80s, “So” has gone on to sell more than six million copies worldwide.