Peter Gabriel – 1

Author: Colin | Published: 8/12/10

Peter Gabriel - 1

Peter Gabriel - 1

Peter Gabriel - 1

Peter Gabriel - 1

Artist Peter Gabriel
Title Untitled (Peter Gabriel)
Label Charisma
Year 1977
Design Update: Likely to be Storm Thorgerson rather than the previously stated Peter Christopherson, Hipgnosis
Music Popular
Desktop Download image
Notes This is Peter Gabriel’s first solo album after his departure from Genesis. The image on the front cover, which is inevitably most widely known, communicates an almost overpowering sense of isolation, alienation and unhappiness. The reason for this may be technology, fame or something as yet undisclosed. What’s certain is that this impression is achieved with remarkable economy.

A skeletal narrative unfolds over the four images that each span the outer and inner sleeves from edge to edge. Read chronologically, the viewer begins by approaching the scene, draws alongside the vehicle, waits for the window to open and finally meets the gaze of the figure inside the car. The subject remains remote, his gaze downcast until the final frame in which he engages the viewer with a direct stare that reveals his otherness. Are those cogs or flowers that illuminate his eyes? His expression is blank, unapologetic. He leans toward the viewer a little.

The car is almost unidentifiable, it’s an any car, a stand-in for all cars. Similarly, although the subject is Gabriel himself, there’s little to distinguish him, he’s an everyman, removed, unreadable. Even his posture is unclear: has he slumped forward, is he asleep or catatonic? He’s a passenger, seated in the passenger seat, another clue to his lack of agency. The desaturated grey of the windows and the barely-spied interior suggests the colourlessness of despair. The car is a prison that has drained all life from its inhabitant. It’s the antithesis of Gary Numan’s “Here in my car, I feel safest of all”. Nothing of nature is visible except the stormy sky reflected in the windscreen. Rain has gathered in tiny puddles on the vehicle’s metal body. The rain’s lack of absorption conveys a sense of the inorganic, unyielding nature of the scene. The framing of each image is close and claustrophobic.

I’ve only seen the inner sleeve for the first time recently and much as I like its development, I find myself a little disappointed by the final image. It seems superfluous: the trope of the pop star as alien was most famously explored by David Bowie on Space Oddity and then in Nic Roeg’s film The Man Who Fell To Earth released a year before this album. There’s something chilling and fascinatingly static about the other three images that is (self-) sufficient, more powerful without the narrative. They’re frames of an unmade film scripted by J.G. Ballard. As with the vast majority of Hipgnosis covers, there’s a strong sense of art direction over design, the textual elements ultimately incidental to the strength of the images.

The design and visual imagery for Peter Gabriel’s first three solo albums has been attributed to Peter Christopherson during his tenure with Hipgnosis, although no reference is made to this on Storm Thorgerson’s website. This post is dedicated to Christopherson, the designer, artist and musician who died last week.

See also:


Listen Peter Gabriel – Here Comes The Flood


  1. My wife and i ended up being quite happy when Chris managed to finish up his reports with the ideas he made through the weblog. It’s not at all simplistic to just be handing out thoughts which usually men and women have been selling. We know we now have the blog owner to thank for that. The type of illustrations you have made, the straightforward site menu, the relationships your site assist to promote – it’s got many sensational, and it’s really assisting our son in addition to us know that this matter is satisfying, which is tremendously essential. Many thanks for all!

    Comment by moncler outlet — July 2, 2020 @ 9:15 am
  2. Thank you for your whole effort on this blog. My mother delights in carrying out investigations and it’s really obvious why. Many of us know all regarding the powerful manner you make insightful tricks through your website and as well attract response from people on the idea then our favorite daughter is without a doubt becoming educated a great deal. Take pleasure in the remaining portion of the year. You are performing a good job.

    Comment by golden goose — July 4, 2020 @ 9:34 pm
  3. I must voice my passion for your kindness giving support to those who really need help on your issue. Your personal dedication to getting the message all through turned out to be amazingly important and have in most cases enabled others much like me to attain their ambitions. The insightful suggestions indicates a whole lot to me and even more to my peers. Thanks a lot; from each one of us.

    Comment by longchamp handbags — July 10, 2020 @ 4:01 am
  4. I’m just commenting to let you know of the excellent experience my cousin’s princess experienced reading your web site. She discovered a lot of details, with the inclusion of what it is like to have an incredible helping mood to get others very easily know precisely a variety of tricky subject matter. You actually exceeded my desires. Thanks for rendering such precious, healthy, explanatory as well as unique thoughts on this topic to Mary.

    Comment by yeezys — July 14, 2020 @ 7:26 pm
  5. A lot of thanks for all your work on this website. Kim takes pleasure in conducting investigations and it’s really simple to grasp why. All of us notice all about the powerful form you give insightful tips and tricks via this website and as well increase contribution from people about this matter then our own simple princess is certainly understanding a lot. Take advantage of the rest of the year. You are performing a really great job.

    Comment by yeezy 500 — July 17, 2020 @ 9:14 pm
  6. My spouse and I stumbled over here by a different page
    and thought I might check things out. I like what I see
    so i am just following you. Look forward to exploring your web page yet again.

    Comment by webhosting — July 18, 2020 @ 7:17 am
  7. I must convey my passion for your kind-heartedness in support of all those that need help on in this subject. Your real dedication to getting the message all-around became remarkably important and have regularly helped ladies much like me to get to their desired goals. Your amazing insightful tips and hints denotes so much to me and especially to my fellow workers. Best wishes; from everyone of us.

    Comment by nike air force — July 21, 2020 @ 12:19 pm
  8. Hello very cool blog!! Man .. Beautiful .. Superb ..
    I will bookmark your website and take the feeds also? I’m glad to seek out numerous useful info
    here in the post, we’d like develop extra strategies on this regard, thank you for sharing.
    . . . . .

    Comment by best hosting — July 21, 2020 @ 10:37 pm
  9. I truly wanted to develop a brief note to appreciate you for all of the lovely solutions you are placing on this site. My long internet search has finally been recognized with reliable knowledge to exchange with my pals. I ‘d mention that many of us readers are really endowed to exist in a fantastic place with so many special people with valuable ideas. I feel really blessed to have seen the webpage and look forward to many more entertaining minutes reading here. Thanks once again for a lot of things.

    Comment by chrome hearts online store — July 24, 2020 @ 7:46 pm
  10. I have to convey my respect for your kindness in support of those people that must have assistance with this one topic. Your very own dedication to getting the solution around became exceptionally insightful and have always empowered individuals much like me to attain their ambitions. Your amazing important help and advice indicates this much a person like me and especially to my mates. With thanks; from all of us.

    Comment by supreme outlet — July 27, 2020 @ 8:21 pm
  11. I am commenting to let you know what a useful encounter our child had reading your blog. She figured out such a lot of issues, most notably what it is like to have an excellent giving mindset to get others easily comprehend various hard to do topics. You undoubtedly did more than our own expected results. I appreciate you for rendering these interesting, trusted, revealing and even cool tips about the topic to Jane.

    Comment by kyrie 4 — August 2, 2020 @ 3:28 pm
  12. I wish to point out my respect for your kindness in support of persons who really want help on in this question. Your very own dedication to passing the solution around became surprisingly productive and has usually empowered professionals just like me to arrive at their dreams. Your entire helpful report denotes so much to me and further more to my fellow workers. Thank you; from all of us.

    Comment by balenciaga shoes — August 5, 2020 @ 12:22 pm
  13. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each
    time a comment is added I get several e-mails with the same comment.

    Is there any way you can remove me from that service?

    Comment by best web hosting company — August 5, 2020 @ 3:53 pm
  14. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much
    about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.
    I think that you can do with a few pics to drive the message home a bit, but other
    than that, this is excellent blog. A great read.
    I will definitely be back.

    Comment by website hosting services — August 7, 2020 @ 9:42 am
  15. I do accept as true with all the concepts you’ve introduced for your post.
    They are really convincing and will definitely work.

    Nonetheless, the posts are too brief for newbies.

    May just you please extend them a bit from
    next time? Thanks for the post.

    Comment by web hosting providers — August 8, 2020 @ 4:22 pm
  16. Hi Dear, are you genuinely visiting this web page daily,
    if so after that you will without doubt obtain nice experience.
    adreamoftrains web hosting sites

    Comment by adreamoftrains website hosting companies — August 9, 2020 @ 6:22 am
  17. I am just commenting to let you understand what a really good discovery my cousin’s princess undergone visiting your site. She discovered so many issues, including what it’s like to possess a very effective helping nature to make many more without difficulty understand various specialized issues. You actually did more than readers’ expectations. Thanks for churning out the valuable, healthy, edifying and also cool tips on that topic to Jane.

    Comment by supreme clothing — August 12, 2020 @ 5:53 pm


To submit your comment and help me with comment spam,
please do this sum and then click Submit Comment above, thanks:

What is 12 + 7 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is: