My Top 1000 Songs #232: Here Comes The Flood
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: