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"Big Time"
Single by Peter Gabriel
from the album So
  • "Curtains" (UK)
  • "We Do What We're Told" (US)
ReleasedFebruary 1987 (UK) [1]
Songwriter(s) Peter Gabriel
Producer(s) Daniel Lanois and Peter Gabriel
Peter Gabriel singles chronology
" In Your Eyes"
"Big Time"
" Red Rain"

"Big Time" is a song by English rock musician Peter Gabriel from his 1986 album So. It was his second top-ten single on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at no. 8. [5]


The song underwent a lot of changes: Jerry Marotta remembers an early version of "Big Time", which he described as more intense and so far out from the released version that it "would not have been a hit." [6]

The song's bass guitar part is unique in that backing bassist Tony Levin and then-backing drummer Jerry Marotta teamed up to record it. Levin handled the fingerings while Marotta hit the strings with his drumsticks, resulting in a percussive sound; it was inspired by a technique developed by Gene Krupa in the 1940s or early 1950s. [7] Inspired by this sound, Levin later invented funk fingers, which were little drumstick ends that could be attached to the fingers to achieve a similar bass guitar effect in concert.

The drum parts were a considerable challenge to record, with Marotta, Manu Katché and Stewart Copeland each playing a take over a click track from the LinnDrum. Gabriel liked Copeland's drum take but felt that it did not quite lock in rhythmically. [6] He said, "I love Stewart's playing. He's not the world's best timekeeper, as he would be first to admit, but he can drive a track like very few others; it's always ahead of the beat, sits right up and forward, and his kit always sounds very alive." [8]

To get around the problem, engineer Kevin Killen mixed down Copeland's drum parts to mono, sampling sections of his playing that lined up best with the click track and flew them in a few bars at a time. Gabriel additionally wanted to bring in the drum fills, which were also meticulously sampled, and adjustments were done to the speed to get them to line up with the track. [6]


Cash Box said that the song "features Gabriel in a characteristic lyrical goldmine delivering a passionate, believable vocal." [9] Billboard called it a "dynamic, big-room funk-rocker" that recreates the old Memphis sound. [10]

Music video

The visual style was very similar to the " Sledgehammer" video, using stop motion claymation by David Daniels and strata-cut animation. The larger video was supervised by director Stephen R. Johnson and produced by Prudence Fenton. It was shot at Peter Wallach Studios. Artist Wayne White contributed to the creation of the video.

Track listing

7" UK

  1. Big Time (7" edit)
  2. Curtains

12" UK

  1. Big Time (extended version)
  2. Big Time (7" edit)
  3. Curtains

Cassette single UK

  1. Big Time (extended version)
  2. Curtains
  3. No Self Control (live version)
  4. Across the River
CD-single UK
1."Big Time (Extended Version)"6:14
3."No Self Control"3:54
4."Across the River"7:12
5."Big Time (Seven Inch Version)"4:26
Total length:25:14

7" USA

  1. Big Time
  2. We Do What We're Told

12" USA

  1. Big Time (dance mix)
  2. In Your Eyes (special mix)
  3. We Do What We're Told


Along with the two mixes found on different versions of the single, Big Time has been officially remixed by Electrokingdom in various mixes, including the version by Frenk DJ & Niky D. Although reputed to be more numerous, four mixes (Main Mix - Club Mix - Dub Mix - Acoustic Mix) can be downloaded on legal platforms.


Credits adapted from the album So: [11]

Chart performance

In popular culture

"Big Time" was used in 2006 by WWE as the main theme for WrestleMania 22. [25] It is featured in the intro of the documentary Inside Job. [26]

The B-Side, "Curtains," was not released in digital format until 2004, when the 'Broad Mix' of the song was featured in the videogame Myst IV: Revelation, to which Peter Gabriel also lent his voice as an actor. [27]


  1. ^ Easlea, Daryl (2013). "Peter Gabriel UK Discography". Without Frontiers: The Life & Music of Peter Gabriel. Omnibus Press. ISBN  9780857128607.
  2. ^ "Peter Gabriel – Big Time (4:24)". Billboard. Vol. 98, no. 47. 22 November 1986. p. 79. ISSN  0006-2510.
  3. ^ Randall, Mac (10 July 2002). "Gabriel, Beck and Miller Struggle with Gravity". The New York Observer. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  4. ^ Grant, Steven; Robbins, Ira. "Peter Gabriel". Trouser Press. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  5. ^ Dean, Maury (2003). Rock n' Roll Gold Rush. Algora. p.  160. ISBN  0-87586-207-1.
  6. ^ a b c Killen, Kevin; Marotta, Jerry (9 July 2014). "Killen and Marotta". The Ethan Hein Blog (Interview). Interviewed by Ethan Hein. Retrieved 3 May 2022.
  7. ^ Levin, Tony (1996). "Tony Levin: Around the World in a Disc". Innerviews (Interview). Interviewed by Anil Prasad. Retrieved 3 May 2022.
  8. ^ "Peter Gabriel". Retrieved 3 May 2022.
  9. ^ "Single Releases" (PDF). Cash Box. 22 November 1986. p. 9. Retrieved 7 August 2022.
  10. ^ "Reviews". Billboard. 22 November 1986. p. 79. Retrieved 7 August 2022.
  11. ^ So (booklet). Geffen. 1986. 9 24088-2.
  12. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 120. ISBN  0-646-11917-6.
  13. ^ " Peter Gabriel – Big Time" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  14. ^ " Top RPM Singles: Issue 0784." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  15. ^ " Peter Gabriel – Big Time" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  16. ^ " The Irish Charts – Search Results – Big Time". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  17. ^ " Nederlandse Top 40 – week 19, 1987" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  18. ^ " Peter Gabriel – Big Time" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  19. ^ " Peter Gabriel – Big Time". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  20. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  21. ^ a b "So – Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  22. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending MARCH 7, 1987". Cash Box. Archived from the original on 6 October 2012.
  23. ^ "Top 100 Singles of '87". RPM. Vol. 47, no. 12. 26 December 1987. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  24. ^ "Top 100 Hits for 1987". The Longbored Surfer. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  25. ^ "WWE Takes "Big Time" Approach to Marketing Blitz for WrestleMania 22". WWE. Stamford, Connecticut. 7 March 2006. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 3 November 2019.
  26. ^ "Inside Job (2010) - Soundtracks - IMDb". IMDb. Retrieved 4 October 2022.
  27. ^ Ubisoft (22 August 2004). "Myst IV Revelation Features Original Peter Gabriel Song and Voice Talent". Business Wire.

External links