My Top 1000 Songs #232: Here Comes The Flood

[I've been writing up my Top 1000 songs on a daily basis--you can see them all in descending order by hitting the All My Favorite Songs tag.]

"Here Comes The Flood," from Peter Gabriel's 1977 solo debut, makes for a perfect album closer--it's an unabashedly bombastic epic, poetic vagaries ultimately tethered to portentous, biblical apocalypse. The song retains the majesty and artfulness of his work with Genesis, but grounded in a firmer classic rock tradition. "Lord, here comes the flood. We'll say goodbye to flesh and blood. If again the seas are silent and any still alive, it'll be those who gave their island to survive." 

I don't personally mind the over-the-top prog-rock grandiosity given by producer Bob Ezrin (who has likewise added over-the-top grandiosity to Lou Reed's Berlin and Pink Floyd's The Wall), the gentle verses cutting loose into a booming chorus that seems fit for the song's lyrical content; but some find it a bit overwhelming (including Gabriel itself), and, certainly by the song's crushing climax, I totally get it.

Fortunately, there are alternative versions aplenty. My personal favorite is the stripped-down re-recording Gabriel made with Robert Fripp (who produced Gabriel's second LP); it's just Gabriel at his piano, backed by a soothing palette of Fripp's looped-guitar Frippertronics. This version is found on Fripp's 1979 album Exposure, sandwiched between two short Frippertronics pieces, and I think it's best heard as part of that longer suite.

Gabriel also released a different, Fripp-free piano and vocal version on a 1990 greatest hits collection; though the best way to experience an unadorned solo version is through his breathtaking live performance of the song on a 1979 Kate Bush television special (see below).

Here's the original:

Here's the Gabriel/Fripp version (without the opening/closing Frippertronic pieces):
And that 1979 solo performance: