July 19,1986, former Genesis lead singer Peter Gabriel was at No. 2 on US charts with his somewhat unusual single, “Sledgehammer.” In a funny twist, his former band, Genesis was at No. 1 with their pop track “Invisible Touch.”
Both songs are interesting in their portrayals of love situations. “Invisible Touch” is about the narrator falling for someone without noticing that she has reached in and touched his heart. The arrangement is engaging, and the chorus is catchy. Besides Collins’ voice, the standout factor of this song is that it makes good use of rhythm and word choice.
“Sledgehammer” on the other hand, is a masculine, with a slower tempo. The narrator in this song wants the object of his affection to call on him, so that he can be her “Sledgehammer.” It is bravado and innuendo wrapped in a sort of British pop-soul that is ultimately entertaining. Gabriel’s shriek’s and exclamations add to the song’s dynamics.
Gabriel left Genesis in 1975, and almost immediately launched a successful solo career. The song “Solsbury Hill” was (and some respects still is) immensely popular. Most US audiences of a certain age are familiar with Gabriel’s single “Shock the Monkey” from his 1982 album “Peter Gabriel.” “Sledgehammer” is from his 1986 album “So.”
Genesis after Peter Gabriel
When Gabriel left Genesis in the 1970s, drummer Phil Collins also took on the role of lead vocalist. Collins’ smooth but flexible vocals allowed the band to score a number of hits. Not to mention his powerhouse drumming, especially on songs like “In the Air Tonight.”
Genesis began to craft songs that fit the world around them and their worldwide fans. Their single “Land of Confusion” succeeds in part on the basis of the quick pace of the vocals and the way the drums are used to create dynamics. Also, the song’s political commentary fit in with the 1980’s threat of nuclear war.
Both Genesis and Gabriel managed to be successful during the 1980s. The performers’ neck-and-neck performance at the top of the charts indicates in some ways an equal amount of talent, which doesn’t always happen.
Peter Gabriel and Genesis on the charts
While during the week of July 19, 1986 Genesis had the No. 1 spot, and Gabriel No. 2, it should be noted that the following week, there was a reversal of fortune. For the week of July 26 of that same year, Gabriel made it to No. 1. Both songs spent a respectable amount of time on the charts eight weeks (Genesis) and 12 weeks (Gabriel).
Both songs had to compete with the likes of Kenny Loggins and Janet Jackson and others to hold any positon on the chart.