(Top Modern Rock Songs Of All Time)
Artist: Peter Gabriel
Release Date: April, 1986
From the Album: So (1986)
Quick Take: The song that took Peter Gabriel from art rock hero and college radio mainstay to full-on pop star (thanks to a wildly inventive video that was at the time possibly the coolest thing that had ever been done in the m), 1986's "Sledgehammer" takes the epic tendencies of previous Gabriel singles like "Shock the Monkey" and "Games Without Frontiers" into a much catchier direction. Like much of So, "Sledgehammer" is obviously deeply influenced by American soul records of the '60s, and that earthier foundation keeps the song from getting distracted from the pounding, swaggering groove at its core. Earlier Peter Gabriel albums would have taken this song into some oblique left turn halfway through, but even Gabriel's utterly unexpected flute solo here makes perfect sense. It's not his masterpiece, but it's probably his best pop song. Later attempts at rewriting it, like 1992's dismal "Steam," didn't work half as well.
Courtesy: Stewart Mason (Allmusic.com)