The song was one of the band’s biggest hits and received good amounts of airplay in the U.S. The song’s music video, directed by Adam Berg, features a man falling from the sky until he eventually falls through the ground, where he continues to fall until he eventually falls out of Earth. Peter Gabriel appears three times during the music video, as an airplane pilot, a man inside a building and a man walking on the street, all of them witnessing the man falling at one point.
Peter Gabriel sings on this with Afro Celt Sound System, which is a comprised of traditional Irish and African musicians. Gabriel is a big proponent of World Music, and Afro Celt recorded their first album at his Real World Studios in Bath, England. Gabriel isn’t the only famous guest vocalist on the album: Robert Plant lends his voice to the track “Life Begins Again.”
This song could have been a breakout hit for Afro Celt Sound System, but it suffered from bad timing. The band was gaining momentum and the song was garnering airplay when the terrorist attacks of September 11 occurred. The imagery in the video includes a man falling to the ground in what looks like New York City, as well as a near miss with an airliner. MTV and VH1 immediately pulled the video, and many of Afro Celts tour dates had to be canceled.
Undaunted, Gabriel mounted a tour in 2009 following the release of his orchestral covers album Scratch Your Back, which focused on those covers of songs by the likes of Lou Reed,David Bowie and Radiohead. 2010 found Gabriel instead focusing on his own catalog, backed not by a rock band but a 46-piece orchestra. The New Blood Orchestra adds a richness and emotion to such fan-favorite songs as “Red Rain,” “Don’t Give Up” and “San Jacinto.”, taking them to an entirely new place while Gabriel’s smoky voice hovers above. Gabriel may be playing well-known songs from decades past, yet this concert is anything but a nostalgia trip. With these dramatic rearrangements, the melodies we all know and love live on, and at the same time, his music and, you could say, popular music as a whole takes a big step forward.
While Peter is showing his age here, what he may be losing in voice he more then makes up for in class and heart. This version was the best ending of the song yet – moved me to tears. Whatever he may be losing it’s not evident at all here, this is by far the most soul piercingly beautiful arrangement of one of Peter’s finest works. “Hold the line,” indeed.