Don’t Give Up – Peter Gabriel duets with Dolly Parton



I recently watched an excellent documentary about the making of Peter Gabriel’s 1986 album “So” on the BBC iPlayer, rich with interesting facts and curious anecdotes, some of which I wanted to share.

“So” was a bit of a departure for Gabriel. Up to that point in his career he had been hugely successful, but probably admired more for his artistry, song-wrtiting craft and musicianship, but not known for his chart-topping prowess. That and occasional oddness. In fairness, he probably never aimed for chart topping hits, not even with “So”, but the album broadened his appeal hugely. The track listing is as follows:

“Red Rain”
“Don’t Give Up” (featuring Kate Bush)
“That Voice Again”
“In Your Eyes” (featuring Youssou N’Dour)
“Mercy Street”
“Big Time”
“We Do What We’re Told (Milgram’s 37)”
“This Is the Picture (Excellent Birds)” (featuring Laurie Anderson)


Of those Red Rain, Sledghammer, Don’t Give Up, In Your Eyes, Mercy Street and Big Time can all be regarded as hits or classic tracks that have stood the test of time. Whilst Mercy Street and In Your Eyes could be considered to be more like the usual finely crated songs expected from Gabriel, Big Time and Sledgehammer in particular gained Gabriel a new audience. Sledgehammer came with a then groundbreaking video, shot in stop motion, which involved days of gruelling shoots, where Gabriel had to remain incredibly still in front of the camera, whilst floating clouds where painted on his face and all kinds of bits of plasticine smashed into or went through his head whilst he mouthed the lyrics to the song. I believe the video is still the most played ever video on MTV. It also came at a time when MTV was riding a wave, drawing a new audience of young kids and teens – I myself can remember watching Sledgehammer and being fascinated. By today’s standards the animation looks somewhat clumsy, but at the time it was ground-breaking.

For me, one of the most curious facts about “So”, is that Gabriel originally wanted Dolly Parton to sing the duet in “Don’t Give Up”. He contacted her management, but they never got back to him – it is assumed that they didn’t know who he was, which is slightly astounding. I guess these days a quick internet search could have dispelled any notion that this guy from Great Britain was an amateur. It is however really hard for me to imagine Parton singing on the song – I’m very glad her management never got back to him.

A testament to the longevity of “So” is that it comes in at 14 in the Rolling Stone 100 Best Albums of The Eighties list.


Piano Tuning – What You Need To Know

Hi Everyone

As piano sheet music is our best-seller, we thought we’d take a look at the issue of piano tuning, and why it is important.

If it’s only my young children who play, why would I need to have my piano tuned regularly?

As we grow older we are more able to articulate our likes and dislikes. This is not always the case in music, wether you are a proficient musician or not. Explaining why exactly something doesn’t sound right musically is very hard. It can be a very abstract and sensuous thing.

When studying piano and in particular elementary level piano, intervals such as fourths and fifths are commonly used. These are very pure and open sounding intervals giving a pleasant sensation. When a piano is tuned well, these intervals form the basis for a clear and pleasing sound over all. Once it goes out of tune the sound becomes muddy and these intervals are heard and felt less clearly, and are much less focussed.

Young children are very sensitive to sound, and in many ways are effected by it more than adults. When it comes to an untuned piano, a child may not only be unable to articulate this, but you are risking the chance he/she will become less engaged and lose interest in playing the piano altogether. By keeping your piano tuned on a regular basis you are helping your child remain focussed and to create a sound that is both pleasing for them and for yourself.

So how often should you have it tuned? The minimum would be once a year, though another good rule of thumb is twice a year, when the seasons change from cold to hot and back again. Pianos are made of very natural materials – wood, felt, leather and metal, so they expand and contract with change in temperature and also dampness. If you live in a very dry climate, it may be worth looking keeping the inside of your piano humid enough, if you live in a very damp climate, you most certainly would not want to add any extra humidity.

Avoid placing your piano against outside walls, and especially avoid placing your piano in front or near a radiator, as this will dry out the wood an make it crack.

Thanks to Dov Waterman for the extra insights into piano tuning. If you are looking for North London Piano Tuner, then please click here.


New Buttons On Our Homepage

Hi there

You may have noticed that we have a host of new buttons on our homepage:

I thought I might just take the time and briefly explain whet these are about.

There are two twitter buttons:

“Tweet” means if you click on this and you have a twitter account, you can tweet (the address) of our homepage. We would actually rather like it if you did this, as it help us!

“Follow @ greatscores” – if you click on this and have a twitter account, it means you will receive all our twitter messages (or tweets) to your twitter account.

The youtube button links to our youtube channel, where we have loads of interesting videos. They are also on our main site, but it’s harder to find them there, as they are on the individual song page that the video relates to. So if you want to just browse through all our videos, then click on the youtube button.

The Digg button is for users of social bookmarking site Digg, so if you want to share our homepage on Digg, please click on this button.

The +1 button is a new feature on google. If you have a google account, and you like our homepage, you can click on the +1 button and this tells google that you like our site, which is very useful to us.

Lastly we have the facebook like button. If you like our page, and are a member of facebook, then we would love it if you “liked” us.

We have more innovations coming over the next few months, so stay tuned!