Peter Gabriel has never been one to stand on tradition. The former Genesis singer bends and hammers fashionable pop forms to his liking (à la his massive MTV-fueled hit "Sledgehammer") or uses the obligatory soundtrack assignment to explore the world music that has been his obsession for decades (as in "Zaar" from Passion). This 16-track anthology explores the width--and, crucially, depth--of Gabriel's rich post-Genesis music, from the post-prog obliquities of "Solsbury Hill" and "Here Comes the Flood" to the African musical and political concerns of the title track (available only on this collection) and the epic "Biko." But what makes the compilation even more compelling is the way it eschews the chronology of its decade-plus body of music, instead weaving and segueing Gabriel's music into a tapestry of compelling mood and color. It's a rewarding listening experience for fan and novice alike. --Jerry McCulley
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Member CD Reviews
Reviewed on 8/4/2012...
Classic Peter Gabriel. He is a legend and the CD plays like a legend.
1 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
(Reno-ness) from ARROYO GRANDE, CA
Reviewed on 5/30/2007...
Pete's selection of tunes will invigorate your body, and you will start to accomplish more than you ever had before!
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
from CHICAGO HTS, IL
Reviewed on 2/26/2007...
This CD turned me on to Peter Gabriel with Shaking the Tree.
1/2 -- Solid, but still not great
Johnny Boy | Hockessin, DE | 12/04/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Peter Gabriel is one of those few artists that literally hasn't made a single bad album, or even a single bad song. If it's got Peter Gabriel's name on it, you can be 98.99% sure that it's going to be good. He is truly one of the finest performers of the 20th century, and has always been one of my favorite artists.
But the thing about Peter Gabriel is he has never had a truly great comprehensive collection. Sure, 'Hit' is a pretty good two-disc collection that covers the basics and several others, but it's many miles away from being definitive. My favorite Peter Gabriel compilation (personally) is 'Revisited,' because it spans his first two albums, released between 1977-1978. But I don't recommend that album for the casual PG fan.
Now then, enough with the small talk. Let's get to the review.
'Shaking the Tree: Sixteen Golden Greats' is a solid compilation spanning 1977 to 1990, his career as a solo artist (he left Genesis in 1975 after the classic 'The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway' was released). And while 13 years is quite a long time, 16 tracks is just simply too short.
Read on for the positives and negatives of Peter Gabriel's first compilation album.
-Most of his big radio hits of the 1980s are here. 'Sledgehammer,' a massive hit and a #1 hit in America for Gabriel, appears here, as does 'Shock the Monkey,' 'Red Rain,' 'I Have the Touch' (in a 1985 remix that is different than the album version that appeared on 1982's 'Security'), and 'Shaking the Tree' all appear here.
-The sound quality is just superb. You couldn't ask for a better-sounding disc then this one.
-Way, way, WAY too many missing songs. 'I Go Swimming' was a minor success for Gabriel in the U.S. in 1982, and it's also a classic. Plus, where is perhaps (besides 'Sledgehammer,' of course) his biggest hit, 'In Your Eyes'? HOW CAN YOU HAVE A GREATEST HITS COLLECTION AND OMIT THAT ONE? Stupidity at it's finest.
-Many of the tracks are edited. 'Zaar,' 'Sledgehammer,' 'Shock the Monkey,' and 'Biko,' among others, all appear on this collection in edits. That's a shame and it further proves my point of why Peter Gabriel needs a box set -- ASAP.
-NOTHING from 'Peter Gabriel 2 (Scratch)'?!? One of his all-time best albums (and quite possibly my favorite) and yet we get absolutely ZILCH from this album. That means (for all you die-hard Gabriel fans out there) no 'Exposure' or 'On the Air.' How disappointing. Strangely enough, the U.S. version of the two-disc set 'Hit' suffers from this same problem.
-Although I like it, I personally feel the original 1977 version of 'Here Comes the Flood' should have been included as opposed to the 1990 remake featured on 'Shaking the Tree.' While it's still good, I don't think it's as good as the original.
Overall, there are far too many negatives to highly recommend this disc. This disc is a fine example of why Peter Gabriel is highly deserving of a box set, including some of his recordings with Genesis and his solo stuff. If you are a new fan of PG and you want a nice entry point to his legendary music, this disc could possibly be recommended. But otherwise, just buy his solo albums, which are all masterpieces in their own right."