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Peter Gabriel Shaking the Tree: Sixteen Golden Greats album cover
3.88 | 102 ratings | 15 reviews | 21% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1990

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Solsbury Hill (4:20)
2. I Don't Remember (edit) (3:48)
3. Sledgehammer (Slight remix) (4:56)
4. Family Snapshot (4:25)
5. Mercy Street (edit) (4:44)
6. Shaking the Tree (1990 remix) (6:24)
7. Don't Give Up (edit) (5:56)
8. San Jacinto (6:41)
9. Here Comes the Flood (new recording 1990) (4:31)
10. Red Rain (5:36)
11. Games Without Frontiers (edit) (3:57)
12. Shock the Monkey (edit) (3:58)
13. I Have the Touch (1983 remix) (3:44)
14. Big Time (4:26)
15. Zaar (2:59)
16. Biko (edit) (6:54)

Total Time 77:19

Line-up / Musicians

- Peter Gabriel / vocals, piano, Fairlight, Prophet, CS80, percussion
- Tony Levin / bass, stick (1-3,7,8,10,12,13), drumstick bass (14)
- Steve Hunter / guitar (1)
- Robert Fripp / guitar (1,2)
- Larry Fast / synthesizers (1,8,11-13,16)
- Alan Schwartzberg / drums (1)
- Jerry Marotta / drums (2,4,8,10-12,16), drumstick bass (14)
- David Rhodes / guitar (2-4,6,7,8,10-15)
- Manu Katche / drums (3,6,7)
- Phil Collins / snare drum (4), surdu (16)
- John Gilbin / bass (4)
- Larry Klein / bass (5)
- Youssou N'Dour / vocals (6)
- Habib Faye / bass, guitar (6)
- Kate Bush / vocals (7,11)
- John Ellis / guitar (8)
- Daniel Lanois / guitar (10,14)
- Stewart Copeland / hi-hat (10), drums (14)
- Peter Hammill / backing vocals (12)
- Simon Philips / drums (13)
- Simon Clark / bass (14)
- Shankar / doublin violin (15)
- Nathan East / bass (15)

Releases information

Geffen 24326-2

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PETER GABRIEL Shaking the Tree: Sixteen Golden Greats ratings distribution

(102 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(21%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(59%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

PETER GABRIEL Shaking the Tree: Sixteen Golden Greats reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by daveconn
5 stars As greatest hits compilations go, this is one of the good ones. GABRIEL's catalog was ripe for the picking, with a smattering of nonalbum tracks (the title track, the remix of "I Have The Touch") to attract fans. "Shaking The Tree" doesn't follow chronological order, instead manipulating the listener with islands of upbeat music in between an ocean of calm, dark waters. The track selection is intelligent though not as democratic as it might have been. Is "Family Snapshot" better than anything on GABRIEL's second album? No, but the intent here was obviously to favor GABRIEL's more subdued and sophisticated tracks. As a result, "Shaking The Tree" could be accused of historical revision, further compounded with yet another new version of "Here Comes The Flood". (The definitive version, by the way, resides on Robert Fripp's Network.) Including "Zaar" from the recent Passion soundtrack is a very good idea, and letting Birdy escape is fair enough as it would have taken up valuable real estate. The rest of "Shaking The Tree" is probably familiar to most radio listeners: "Solsbury Hill", "Games Without Frontiers", "Shock The Monkey", "Sledgehammer", "Big Time". There are five tracks from "So", including "Mercy Street", which is highly effective in this setting. In the minor complaint department, "This Is The Picture (Excellent Birds)" should have replaced one of So's tracks (maybe "Red Rain", since it seems redundant after "Here Comes The Flood"). "Shaking The Tree" yields mostly fruit from the '80s, which have remained fresher than the songs on his first two records. This is the music that GABRIEL will be remembered for, and on which his reputation as an influential artist rests, so you can't begrudge Tree for shooting him from his best side. Note: the elpee version featured only twelve tracks, and was thus subtitled Twelve Golden Greats.
Review by Zac M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is a greatest hits compilation that was created in the early nineties. I find myself enjoying all of the tracks on the disc. In my opinion, it gives a great overview of his solo work encompassing the years 1977-1990. Some of his best solo stuff is on here and there is no true filler.

I would have to say that the emotional intensity of Gabriel's post-Genesis work is felt throughout this album. With songs like "Don't Give Up" and "Red Rain," it seems as though Gabriel (and Kate Bush as well in "Don't Give Up") pours out his soul to the listener. In other tracks, like the ever famous "Sledgehammer," "Shock the Monkey," and "Big Time," Gabriel uses humor, sarcasm, and criticism. Another highlight of the album is of course "Biko." A political statement made by Gabriel, "Biko" is a favorite among many Gabriel fans.

I have to say that this is a great place to start for anyone interested in exploring Gabriel's solo career. It's kind of a drag that popular tracks like, for instance, "In Your Eyes" aren't included, but after all, a lot of the "So" album is represented here. Four stars, an excellent addition for any prog fan wanting to explore the career of Gabriel after his departure from Genesis.

Review by horza
4 stars Its a difficult thing to bring out compilation albums which will please everyone, but I think Gabriel comes pretty close with this one. This 16 track collection fairly well represents Gabriel's career post-Genesis. Some tracks are edited, some remixed but in the case of 'Here Comes The Flood' we have a totally new recording. From his first album, this track was never really a favourite of mine particularly, however I just love this new version. In it Gabriel captures a feeling of true melancholy and it would move me to tears if I let it. Something about it touches a nerve. The tracks that you would expect to find are all here. 'Solsbury Hill', 'Sledgehammer', 'Don't Give Up' and 'Games Without Frontiers' will be familiar to most considering the radio airplay that they will have had. Gabriels best album 'So' is (in addition to 'Sledgehammer'&'Don't Give Up') well represented by 'Red Rain', 'Mercy Street' and 'Big Time'. I'm pleased that San Jacinto is included on this album. Its a favourite of mine and deals with issues concerning Native American Indians and modern commercialism. Its a great track live, but the album version is still the real deal. The album is well-balanced and will have tracks for the Gabriel newcomer to discover. Biko is a fantastic closing track and recounts the shocking events that befell Stephen Biko in a prison cell on the 12 September, 1977 in Pretoria, South Africa. Very moving.
Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I have said so many times that i am not a huge fan of "the best of" albums, this is called "16 Golden Greats", or "Shaking thre Three" whatever you want to call it, but exactly this is a compilation of his greatest hits or most popular hits until 1990, the latest album here is "Zaar" from the 1989 album "Passion", so tracks like "Blood of Eden", "Kiss that Frog" or "Barry Williams Show " are not here, i mentioned that because i think they are popular songs and good songs for a compilation.

In this time, i like the mix of tsongs in this compilation, almost 80 minutes of early Peter Gabriel`s music, i would prefered maximum 60 minutes, but it is ok. This compilation starts with the most of the classic Gabriel`s tracks "Solsbury Hill", it is a great song from their first album, all of us already know the intro, this is the only one track of his first album, im afraid that here is not any track of their second album. In order of appereance : "I dont Remember", "Family Snapshot", "Games without Frontiers" and "Biko" are from his third album, and for much considered his best solo album, Biko is a hymn to that right defender, the song is great with a sad mood, but great, Family Snapshot and Games without fontiers are clasic songs, and great, with an 80`s sound, but well done. "San Jacinto", "Shock the Monkey" are from his fourth album, the first one is an excellent song, with beautiful lyrics, and a superb voice, is one of the most emotional tracks, from the fourth album is also "I have the Touch" but here is another version, with a new drum track, additional voice and keyboards. "Sledgehammer", (probably the most well - known song, and with an incredible video), "Mercy Street", "Don`t Give Up", "Red Rain" and "Big Time", are from that 1986 inteligent and beautiful work of art called "So", that album is great, with nice lyrics and a mix of dynamic and great instruments, moodie songs like "Mercy Street" and a beautiful song with Kate Bush with a guest vocal appereance is "Dont Give Up". "Zaar" is the unique track from "Passion", that album is completely different to the earlier, so this song is completely different compared with the other ones. "Shaking the Tree", the name of the album is a great song, with the superb voice of Youssou N`Dour,, this song was originally released in an album from this african singer called "The Lion", nice stuff by the way. And "Here Comes the Flood" was a new release from this album, another good song, but not the best.

So this compilation is great, good music, lots of instruments and different moods in the songs, a bit progressive, not really, but it has it`s moments, a nice compilation, but maybe "In your Eyes" is missing here, recommended to any progressive rock fan, and if you are a Genesis fan (of course with Gabriel), you should try this, but you dont have nothing to compare with Genesis.


Review by evenless
4 stars I'm usually now a fan of compilation albums as a "real fan" would always prefer to have all original studio albums rather than just some compilation disc. Usually it also tends to reek after some "cashing in" by the artist as many artist come up with some compilation albums when they are long lost and forgotten. This is one would be an exception to the rule I think, since Mr. Gabriel has still released many fine albums after this one. I guess it's not a bad one to start with if you didn't already own some (or all) of his preceding studio albums.

The track list of "Shaking the Tree" is top notch with indeed 16 golden tracks on it. However: if you don't own this one yet I would rather go for the 2003 release "HIT" as it is a double disc set which has 15 tracks more on it. Once again the track list of "HIT" is also top notch. Since I only owned the album "SO" until "Shaking the Tree" was released this was a very nice addition to my PG collection. 4 stars once again.

Review by Chris H
3 stars One thing should be stated right off the bat. There is absolutely no such thing as a 5 star compilation, bceause there is almost no chance that you will agree with every song on the recording. With that being said, I want to mention that "In Your Eyes", one of Peter's most sentimental and popular songs that just about everybody has heard, is suspiciously absent from this compilation.

Other than that personal gripe I have with the recording, this is truly a fine collection of Peter Gabriel songs. All of the major songs are here, such as "Solsbury Hill", "Sledgehammer", "Shock The Monkey" and "Games Without Frontiers". All of the albums from Peter Gabriel up to Passion are on here, with the most popular albums being represented more heavily, however.

Once again, there is no such thing as a 5 star "best of" collection. This comes very close, but too many hugely popular tracks are missing, and some of his better albums are not represented as evenly. All in all, not too shabby of a collection for beginners, but I would look elsewhere for a complete introduction to the Peter Gabriel sound.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Excellent introduction to Peter's Solo

For those of you who favor Peter Gabriel's voice in Genesis, you may want to explore his solo as well and this compilation does represent his work. It will give you a flavor of how Peter explores his musical sense in his own territory. One thing for sure, do not expect that the music is something similar with what he did with Genesis like in "Supper's Ready", "The Return of The Giant Hogweed", "The fountain of Salmacis" or even "Firth of Fifth" and "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway". It's TOTALLY DIFFERENT kind of music. Therefore, it's worth starting with this compilation. If, by listening to this album, you think that this is not your "cup of tea", you should not force too hard for you to like it. No one can force you to like or dislike some particular music and / or artist. Take a long break and do not spin the CD again until you are ready with open mind situation.

You might recall that Peter left Genesis right after the tour of ground breaking (and the best, in my opinion) album "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway". His self-titled album shocked the music industry because he brought in totally different kind of music compared to his tenure with Genesis. Song like "Down The Dolce Vita" is my favorite track but it does not tie itself with any Genesis music. But overall I like this debut album even though at that time I was more keen on Genesis, Yes, ELP, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Gentle Giant etc.

Through this compilation you will get Peter's successful hit "Sledgehammer" in its disco style and also nice n touchy song like "Mercy Street". "Don't Give Up" is also a nice composition with touchy and uplifting lyrics. You will find Peter's powerful voice through mellow track like "Family Snapshot" and "San Jacinto". This compilation also features Peter's great track from debut album, "Here Comes The Flood", but this time has only piano, no other instrument.

If you like this compilation, please do NOT stop here because I urge you to buy Peter's fourth album that also features other great tracks like "The Wallflower", "The Rhythm of The Heat" and "The Family and The Fishing Net". You will also need to have Peter Gabriel "Secret World" live and "Plays Live". The studio album "Up: is also great - you can enjoy great track like "Signal To Noise". This compilation is EXCELLENT. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Chicapah
4 stars What a surprise many of these songs are bound be for the non-progging Muggle who buys this collection because they think "Sledgehammer" is a cute dance song and expect the other tunes to be in the same playful vein. But for the more knowledgeable fan of Peter Gabriel this is a decent sample of his solo work from the time he left Genesis in 1975 to when he released the soundtrack for "The Last Temptation of Christ" in 1989. When it comes to this gifted artist I urge you to procure his complete albums but if you are a neophyte to his music and want a general idea of what he's about then this isn't a bad place to start.

His iconic "Solsbury Hill," written about his dramatic departure from Genesis, is a great example of getting the public tapping along to a 7/8 time signature without them even realizing it. Aided by the punctuation of Robert Fripp's expressive guitar, this catchy song was instrumental in giving Peter a solid foothold in the music business and its moderate success insured that he'd be allowed to make more LPs. "I Don't Remember" features the amazing talent of bassist Tony Levin and is the first indication that you aren't going to necessarily be hearing only radio-friendly pop ditties along the way. This track has a groove that just won't quit and the way it drives right into the funky horn section of "Sledgehammer" is very cool, indeed. (Obviously this package doesn't present the cuts in chronological order but I'm sure that's because the big shots at Geffen wanted to have some of the more recognizable hits spread out evenly through the disc.) While this song wasn't revolutionary as a chart-topper, its highly imaginative and entertaining video was an absolute sensation on MTV and gave artists a new perspective on what was possible in that booming medium. I also like the fact that they include the intriguing drum march ending that appeared in the video but not on the LP version.

"Family Snapshot" is one of Gabriel's unconventional tracks and its disturbing story line about an assassin closing in on his prey and its intriguing arrangement gives you an insight into his more eclectic side. "Mercy Street" carries you effortlessly along like a leaf in a stream and it is one of his most soothing creations. His unique voice is mesmerizing. Originally released on Youssou N'Dour's '89 album "The Lion," the remixed version of the outstanding "Shaking the Tree" is a must-have for all of Peter's followers. Its jubilant celebration of women is infectiously uplifting and Manu Katche's expert drumming adds dynamic excitement to the tune. "Don't Give Up," with its lyrical contrast of perspective portrayed brilliantly by Gabriel and guest singer Kate Bush, is one of his most profound pieces ever. The way Levin's bass flits around the basic time signature is also worth mentioning. "San Jacinto" may take some getting used to at first but I assure you that it will stick in your head forever because of its haunting, sequenced synthesizers and mysterious aura. And when the cavernous depth of sound opens up like a giant crack in the earth in the second half it is nothing short of awesome.

The simplicity of "Here Comes the Flood" works well at this juncture as Peter's soul-penetrating voice performs its magic. "Red Rain" is another stellar cut from the masterpiece that is "So" and the audio wall that characterizes this tune envelopes your senses with irrepressible inertia. In comparison, the lighter feel of the sardonic "Games Without Frontiers" is like a walk in the park. It's another song that lent itself well to the still-primitive video clip format and gave him much-needed recognition at that point in his career. While it sounds a bit dated now days, "Shock the Monkey" was definitely a shock to radio in the early 80s because there was simply nothing else like it in the musical universe and, when it shot into the top 40 (his first to do so), it identified Gabriel as a force to be reckoned with for years to come.

The remixed version of "I Have the Touch" adds a little spice to the track and gives it a different flavor from the album version that suffered somewhat from a lack of punch. The slick, satirical "Big Time" was the follow-up to "Sledgehammer" and it made it all the way up to #8 on the singles chart in 1987. It also made for yet another captivating video but its brittle edge gets on my nerves sometimes. "Zaar" is an odd inclusion here but hopefully it steers some listeners toward his groundbreaking "Passion" CD that helped to introduce world music to the masses. If you enjoy hearing something totally mind-expanding from time to time then you should definitely check it out. The last tune here, the breathtaking splendor that is "Biko," is timeless in its profound message and its emotional impact. It defines a truly progressive way of thinking in that it follows no known set of rules and creates seven minutes of one-of-a-kind music that leaves a big footprint in your subconscious. Perhaps more than any other Peter Gabriel song it personifies the genius that he is.

The glaring omission is his beautiful "In Your Eyes" and it's like traveling to Yellowstone and not seeing Old Faithful. For whatever reason it was left out that inane decision defies all logic and keeps this CD from being a representative history. I once read that PG didn't want it included because he wrote it for his ex-wife who was divorcing him at the time. That seems rather selfish and immature to me and I hope it's not fact.

In the vast MTV wasteland that was the decade of the 80s this artist's output was one of the bright spots in that otherwise lifeless landscape and Peter gave many of us undernourished proggers hope for a future that would include a return to adventurous excursions in the music world. There were times when Gabriel's albums provided the sole beacon of light along a very foggy and disheartening shoreline and he deserves a prog medal for that alone. He kept the flame lit. Not as essential as most of his records are but an excellent addition for those who don't know him as well as they should.

Review by Negoba
4 stars Near Perfect Compilation Finds Great Balance

I must first say that this album was the first thing I owned from Peter Gabriel. I knew the hits from So, but this was the first album I was able to listen to continuously. During my college years, this tape remained in my car non-stop for months. It is a soundtrack for many of my summers, my roadtrips. It was the gateway from which I discovered early Genesis and developed my love of prog. It continues to be a tie that binds my brother and I, songs that we shared in those days when we were both growing up. So I'm a little biased.

Because this greatest hits album was my reference point for this great artist's music, it was always hard for me to differentiate these songs from their respective albums (aside from So and Passion which I got a little later but long before the first four). It has been an interesting experience going back and trying to listen to the songs in their original context. For some of Gabriel's best works, like "San Jacinto," "Here Comes the Flood," "Games without Frontiers," I think of all together.

Enough of my experience, which serves simply to say that the album by itself is wonderful, and succeeds in its purpose completely. The proof of a compilation album is in the song selection, and here it is quite good. The most notable points are that PG II (Scratch) is completely unrepresented, which is, in my opinion, appropriate. Two wonderful tracks are omitted, the first being Security's "Rhythm of the Heat," which was certainly not a hit but one of PG's most colossal solo tracks. The more bewildering choice was to leave out perhaps Gabriel's most famous and iconic track, "In Your Eyes." That song was THE love song of the late 80's; Gabriel's most covered, and in retrospect probably his most beloved.

The one new track "Shaking the Tree" is excellent, combining the world music of Passion with pop sensibility, a formula which would dominate the following studio album, Us. The simple piano reworking of "Here Comes the Flood" is a much superior version to the one on the debut album, though I do enjoy both. Bookending with "Solsbury Hill" and "Biko" is the perfect choice, and the track order flows very smoothly start to finish. The dark brooding intensity of the dark story song "Family Snapshot" follows megapop hit "Sledgehammer" and it works.

Someone else wrote that a greatest hits album never deserves a 5 star rating and that's probably appropriate. But this is an album that belongs in any library that doesn't have the component albums. It's an excellent entry point into one of the most important solo careers in prog. I recommend it without reservation.

I'll review the individual albums in succession soon, but this was my first love, so I felt I needed to give Shaking the Tree its due.

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars If you like radio edits, remakes and re-mixes you might like this. This is a so-so introduction to the solo career of Peter Gabriel. Most of the songs here are in edited form. "Here Comes The Flood" is a new recording based on the version on Robert Fripp's Exposure album. "I Have The Touch" is a re-mix with added parts. I actually like this version better than the one on the fourth album. It sounds fuller.

You get the title track taken from Youssou N'Dour's 1989 album. Here it has a new vocal. There are no songs from the second album. It would have been nice if they at least included "On The Air". Oddly, they do have a song from Passion, "Zaar" but in edited from. One of Gabriel's most well known songs, "In Your Eyes", is not included. "Solsbury Hill", "Family Snapshot", "San Jacinto", "Red Rain" and "Big Time" are the only songs that appear in their album versions.

I have yet to hear Passion but "Zaar" always sounded interesting to me. Having said that, I don't think anything from Passion should have been included. "San Jacinto" also seems like an oddity here. They should have included one of his first and best singles "Modern Love". This could have been so much better than it is. You're better off just getting his first three albums. 2 stars.

Latest members reviews

4 stars In my early school days, I heard my first of Gabriel was the song 'Biko' from his third eponymous release. At the time I didn't think much of it, but after awhile I came into contact with the progressive genre and learned more about Gabriel and his career. I tend to shy away from his Genesis m ... (read more)

Report this review (#1449987) | Posted by aglasshouse | Friday, August 7, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Although I don't enjoy his solo work as muh as his endeavours with Genesis, Peter Gabriel has definatley had some excelent and creative musical adventures sence 1975. Shakinbg the Tree is a collection of some of Gabriel's greatest songs, including "Solsbury Hill", "I Don't Remeber", "Sledgehammer", ... (read more)

Report this review (#758762) | Posted by smartpatrol | Friday, May 25, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is a really masterpiece having in mind that it is a complitation. There is also a new track "Shaking the Tree" which is sung with "Youssou N'dour". This one is really beatiful and gives the title to the album. Every person who listen to ths music for a while says that it is very good and wan ... (read more)

Report this review (#237820) | Posted by amontes | Sunday, September 6, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Crossover pop, that is This album has not been reviewed in ages and it just so happens that I have been listening to it recently, so why not add a few fresh comments, even though most of what can be said about it already has been. This is a compilation of Peter Gabriel's solo work from his ... (read more)

Report this review (#232389) | Posted by SentimentalMercenary | Wednesday, August 19, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars From the world of progressive rock to the world of pop and the many (secret?) worlds in between, Peter Gabriel is a first-tier superstar. Among his many casual fans, there's a high demand for a good, single-disc Gabriel anthology, an introduction to or overview of his best work. Fortunately, "Sh ... (read more)

Report this review (#24070) | Posted by | Thursday, July 8, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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