Whats the song solsbury hill by peter gabriel about

i have been feelings its about jesus and his journey whats the song really about

I don’t think PG has ever clarified the meaning, but one of the more common interpretations ties it to his leaving Genesis right as they were becoming popular. Many people do find it to be spiritual in nature, but some of us (including myself) just like the way the song sounds.

i have heard it is about how a bruce springsteen concert inspired him to leave genesis. it certainly does seem to be about leaving genesis, but the bruce springsteen part is not verified in the lyrics.

Solsbury Hill is near Bath, where Gabriel lives. It’s therefore pretty safe to assume it’s about Gabriel, not Jesus or Springsteen.

For the rest of the lyrics it’s about self-belief and a resolution to move on to where home really lies. This could be about going out as a solo artist, but like many uplifting songs could fit in with just about any similar personal experience of the listener.

(Or it could be about how some guy named Howard Jones is going to come along 10 years later and steal your tune.)

From the horse’s mouth: (http://www.petergabriel.com )

With regard to the meaning of the song, Peter says: “It’s
about being prepared to lose what you have for what you might get, or what you are for what you might be. It’s about letting go. By letting go, you create the space for something new to happen. It’s a personal struggle to learn to jump off the diving board.”

Most people interpret that as being about leaving Genesis, since that was the most obvious “jump off the diving board” he made around that time.

Here are the lyrics.

So, let’s look at it from the God calling him home to heaven angle (I don’t think that’s the only way, and the more general “find yourself” angle that lestrange points out works too).

  1. He hear’s a voice, saying prepare to leave, to come home. (God calling him to heaven.)

  2. He decided not to tell anyone - they’d think he was crazy (“Hey, guys, an eagle told me to pack my bags!”).

  3. Turning water into wine. (Can’t get a more blatant Jesus reference than that, but it’s not clear what it means – did he wake up in the morning with a glass of Merlot next to his bed?)

  4. In a rut, until … an epiphany! He decides which connection to cut, and clearly it’s the connection to the modern logical world (walked right out of the machinery). With his heart pounding (boom boom boom) he’s decided to take the leap of faith, and beleve that the voice he heard was the voice of God (Son, He said, grab your things I’ve come to take you home).

  5. The last verse is tricky – but here’s one take. He’s realized that “real life” has left him wanting – illusions, he’s not where he wants to be. When he makes his leap of faith (decides he’s heard the voice of God) someone is happy (“libery she piroutte”). (Who is liberty though?). After that time he realizes that the non-enlightened are mere “empty silhouettes”, that regard his new born self as nutty and are even rude about it (no one taught them etiquette). And when he realizes that, he is truly free, and ready for his new life. “Keep my things, they’ve come to take me home!”
    That’s been a favorite for a long time.

You guys are the best thanks

Questions about how to interpret movies, songs, and books usually belong in Cafe Society, so I’ll move this thread over that way.

moderator GQ

Ah, my favourite song :slight_smile:

The “turning water into wine” is coupled with the previous line “My friends would think I was a nut/Turning water into wine”. IOW, his friends would think he was about to start having delusions of being able to turn water into wine.

Or that’s how I’ve always interpreted it.

You are confusing yourself.

“Liberty pirouettes” means that freedom is elusive. Just when he thinks he is free, freedom eludes him. It’s just that using “liberty” and “freedom” sounds less redundant than using one or the other twice.