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. I’ve not seen this cover attributed to Peter Christopherson in print anywhere. The first Hipgnosis book, Walk Away René, says “Photos & design by Storm” while a later Hipgnosis volume, For the Love of Vinyl, dedicates two pages to the design with Storm T going into some detail about its creation. The idea of rain on a car came before Peter Gabriel appeared with a commission; the car was Thorgerson’s own Lancia Flavia and he took the photos. These were b&w shots hand-tinted by retoucher Richard Manning. Oh, and the effect on the eyes was done with contact lenses.

    Comment by John Coulthart — December 8, 2010 @ 9:26 pm
  2. Hello John, I read this online, but can’t now recall the source. Sounds like the attribution may well be in error. You refer to the “idea of rain on a car”, but that’s only a part of the power of these images. The make of car is referred to on Thorgerson’s website, but I think that distracts from the strength of the images.

    Comment by Colin — December 8, 2010 @ 10:41 pm
  3. Right here is the perfect site for everyone who wishes to find
    out about this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really would want to…HaHa).
    You certainly put a fresh spin on a topic which has been discussed for ages.
    Excellent stuff, just excellent!

    Comment by http://tinyurl.com/quest-bars-cheap-77971 — November 24, 2019 @ 12:26 am
  4. Everyone loves what you guys tend to be up too. This type of clever work and reporting!
    Keep up the amazing works guys I’ve included you guys to my

    Comment by http://tinyurl.com/ — November 24, 2019 @ 9:11 pm
  5. Hi to all, how is the whole thing, I think every one
    is getting more from this site, and your views are fastidious designed for new visitors.

    Comment by coconut oil was — November 25, 2019 @ 9:28 pm
  6. Heya just wanted to give you a brief heads up and
    let you know a few of the pictures aren’t loading correctly.
    I’m not sure why but I think its a linking
    issue. I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same results.

    Comment by plenty of fish dating site — November 26, 2019 @ 5:58 pm
  7. Thanks for ones marvelous posting! I actually enjoyed reading it,
    you could be a great author.I will be sure to
    bookmark your blog and will often come back later on. I want to
    encourage you continue your great writing, have a nice morning!

    Comment by ps4 games — November 28, 2019 @ 9:57 pm
  8. I really like it when individuals get together and share opinions.
    Great site, keep it up!

    Comment by quest bars cheap — November 30, 2019 @ 5:24 am
  9. Hi colleagues, how is everything, and what you want to say concerning
    this post, in my view its in fact remarkable designed for me.

    Comment by quest bars cheap coupon twitter — December 3, 2019 @ 8:08 pm
  10. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.
    I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that,
    this is magnificent blog. An excellent read. I will certainly be back.

    Comment by ps4 games — December 5, 2019 @ 8:18 pm
  11. I’m not sure where you’re getting your information, but
    great topic. I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more.
    Thanks for wonderful info I was looking for this information for my mission.

    Comment by ps4 games — December 5, 2019 @ 11:38 pm
  12. I’ve been exploring for a bit for any high-quality articles or
    blog posts on this kind of space . Exploring in Yahoo I ultimately stumbled
    upon this site. Studying this information So i am
    satisfied to show that I have a very just right uncanny feeling I found out just what I
    needed. I such a lot unquestionably will make sure to
    don?t fail to remember this web site and provides it a glance regularly.

    Comment by ps4 games — December 6, 2019 @ 7:52 am
  13. Thank you for any other magnificent post. The place else may anyone get that kind of information in such a perfect
    means of writing? I have a presentation subsequent week, and
    I’m on the search for such info.

    Comment by ps4 games — December 7, 2019 @ 1:22 am
  14. I always spent my half an hour to read this weblog’s posts everyday along with a mug
    of coffee.

    Comment by quest bars cheap — December 7, 2019 @ 11:26 am
  15. Hi there, just wanted to say, I loved this post.
    It was helpful. Keep on posting!

    Comment by quest bars cheap — December 9, 2019 @ 7:11 am
  16. Hey! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site
    before but after reading through some of the post I realized it’s new to me.

    Anyhow, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll
    be book-marking and checking back frequently!

    Comment by ps4 games — December 10, 2019 @ 6:24 pm
  17. I really like what you guys are up too. Such clever work and reporting!
    Keep up the very good works guys I’ve you guys to our blogroll.

    Comment by coconut oil — December 18, 2019 @ 1:32 am
  18. You’ve made some good points there. I checked on the net for more info about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this web

    Comment by match.com free trial — December 29, 2019 @ 9:34 pm
  19. Good way of telling, and good paragraph to take information regarding my presentation subject matter, which i am
    going to deliver in university.

    Comment by sling tv — January 1, 2020 @ 1:18 pm
  20. Ahaa, its pleasant dialogue on the topic of this article here at this weblog, I have read
    all that, so at this time me also commenting at this place.

    Comment by tinyurl.com — January 2, 2020 @ 1:09 pm
  21. My partner and I stumbled over here coming from a different web page and thought
    I might check things out. I like what I see so now
    i’m following you. Look forward to exploring your web page yet again.

    Comment by asksylphoflight.tumblr.com sling tv — January 4, 2020 @ 10:06 pm
  22. Howdy this is kinda of off topic but I was wanting to know if blogs use
    WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML.
    I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding skills so I wanted to get advice from someone with
    experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Comment by https://asksylphoflight.tumblr.com/ sling tv — January 7, 2020 @ 1:03 pm
  23. I simply wished to thank you so much once more. I am not sure the things that I would’ve done without the type of opinions shared by you relating to such subject matter. It became a distressing dilemma in my circumstances, however , discovering a skilled mode you resolved the issue took me to jump with contentment. I’m just grateful for this assistance and thus expect you find out what an amazing job that you are doing training many others by way of your webblog. I know that you’ve never got to know all of us.

    Comment by balenciaga shoes — January 11, 2020 @ 10:22 pm
  24. Needed to draft you one tiny word to help say thank you as before with your pleasant solutions you have discussed in this article. It’s certainly seriously generous with people like you to supply publicly all a few individuals could have offered as an e-book to help with making some money for themselves, mostly considering the fact that you could have done it in the event you desired. Those thoughts as well served to be the great way to know that the rest have the identical dreams just as my own to know more and more when considering this problem. I know there are some more fun periods in the future for people who browse through your website.

    Comment by supreme hoodie — January 13, 2020 @ 5:57 pm
  25. Thanks for all your valuable labor on this blog. Kim enjoys working on internet research and it is easy to see why. A lot of people hear all about the lively way you render very useful guidelines via this blog and therefore recommend response from visitors on the content while my simple princess is without question starting to learn a whole lot. Take advantage of the rest of the year. You’re doing a first class job.

    Comment by golden goose sneakers — January 15, 2020 @ 11:36 am
  26. First of all I want to say awesome blog! I had a quick question which
    I’d like to ask if you don’t mind. I was interested to find out
    how you center yourself and clear your head prior to writing.
    I have had a difficult time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out there.
    I truly do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally lost simply
    just trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or tips?

    Comment by sling tv — January 15, 2020 @ 1:49 pm
  27. When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get several emails with the same comment.
    Is there any way you can remove me from that service? Cheers!

    Comment by sling tv — January 17, 2020 @ 12:26 am
  28. My husband and i were comfortable that Ervin managed to do his researching by way of the ideas he grabbed while using the web page. It’s not at all simplistic just to be offering steps which often some other people might have been trying to sell. And we understand we need you to be grateful to because of that. The type of illustrations you have made, the straightforward site menu, the relationships you will assist to engender – it’s most excellent, and it’s really letting our son and us know that this subject is brilliant, and that’s quite vital. Many thanks for the whole lot!

    Comment by cheap jordans — January 17, 2020 @ 6:00 am
  29. I simply wanted to thank you so much once more. I’m not certain what I might have followed in the absence of the type of creative concepts shown by you over such industry. It has been a depressing setting for me, however , viewing the very skilled mode you handled it made me to jump with contentment. I am just grateful for the assistance and as well , hope that you are aware of an amazing job you have been doing instructing the mediocre ones with the aid of your website. More than likely you have never met any of us.

    Comment by off white nike — January 18, 2020 @ 10:47 pm
  30. I have to express some thanks to this writer for rescuing me from such a crisis. As a result of browsing through the the web and obtaining notions which were not productive, I figured my life was well over. Being alive without the presence of strategies to the problems you’ve fixed through this review is a crucial case, as well as the ones which could have in a negative way damaged my career if I had not encountered your web site. Your own mastery and kindness in controlling all the pieces was helpful. I don’t know what I would’ve done if I hadn’t come across such a solution like this. I’m able to at this point relish my future. Thanks very much for this high quality and amazing help. I will not think twice to refer the sites to anyone who would need guide about this matter.

    Comment by balenciaga shoes — January 20, 2020 @ 3:00 pm
  31. Thanks a lot for giving everyone an exceptionally pleasant possiblity to read from this website. It is always very sweet plus jam-packed with amusement for me and my office co-workers to visit your site at minimum thrice in 7 days to learn the newest guidance you will have. And of course, I am certainly fascinated with the extraordinary advice you serve. Certain 2 points in this article are definitely the most suitable we’ve ever had.

    Comment by hermes belt — January 22, 2020 @ 4:47 am
  32. That is a really good tip particularly to those
    new to the blogosphere. Simple but very precise information… Appreciate your sharing this one.
    A must read post!

    Comment by sling tv best package 2020 — January 24, 2020 @ 9:10 pm
  33. I do accept as true with all of the ideas you have offered to your post.
    They’re really convincing and will certainly work. Still,
    the posts are too short for starters. May just you please extend them a little from subsequent time?
    Thank you for the post.

    Comment by cbd oil that works 2020 — April 4, 2020 @ 10:38 am
  34. A lot of thanks for all of the labor on this blog. Gloria enjoys participating in investigations and it’s easy to see why. All of us notice all concerning the powerful method you render both interesting and useful items via your web blog and even recommend participation from visitors about this situation while our own girl is really discovering a lot of things. Take pleasure in the rest of the year. You have been carrying out a terrific job.

    Comment by jordan retro — May 17, 2020 @ 7:44 pm
  35. Needed to compose you a tiny observation to thank you so much as before for your pleasant things you have shared on this site. This has been so pretty generous of people like you to allow freely precisely what a few individuals would’ve marketed for an e book to help make some dough on their own, primarily given that you could have done it if you decided. These pointers also worked like a fantastic way to be aware that other individuals have similar interest really like mine to find out more and more in respect of this condition. Certainly there are millions of more fun periods up front for individuals that check out your site.

    Comment by golden goose sneakers — May 23, 2020 @ 12:05 am
  36. I precisely needed to thank you very much once more. I am not sure what I would’ve done in the absence of the type of tactics provided by you over such a problem. It was actually a challenging case in my view, nevertheless observing a new well-written strategy you solved it forced me to jump over happiness. I’m thankful for this guidance as well as sincerely hope you comprehend what an amazing job you’re providing teaching the mediocre ones through the use of your site. I’m certain you have never come across any of us.

    Comment by kyrie irving shoes — May 25, 2020 @ 6:51 pm


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

What is 10 + 2 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is: