It's remarkable how a single song can weave itself into your daily rhythms and plant itself solidly within the landscape of your life. It had been a while since that's happened to me. But now that song is "Whole Thing," which features Peter Gabriel's voice, and was borne of a collaboration with other musicians. Big Blue Ball, on which this track is featured, was recorded at Gabriel's Real World Studios in the early nineties, and was finally released only a couple of years ago.
Peter Gabriel has sung this song to me easily every day for the last few weeks, sometimes more than once in a day. If our lives had soundtracks like movies do, this song would appear in my own.
About the collaboration, Gabriel is quoted here:
“One week in the middle of summer this craziness exploded in our Real World Studios. We had this week of invited guests, people from all around the world, fed by music and a 24 hour café. It was a giant playpen, a bring your own studio party. There’d be a studio set up on the lawn, in the garage, in someone’s bedroom as well as the seven rooms we had available. We were curators of sorts of all this living mass. We had poets and songwriters there, people would come in and scribble things down, they’d hook up in the café. It was like a dating agency, then they’d disappear into the darkness and make noises – and we’d be there to record it.” Peter Gabriel, producer and performer
Reading this quote today for the first time, I understood, even more than before, why this song has sucked me in so deeply. The more people I meet who tell me the stories of their lives, the more I know that we're all connected in ways that are much more meaningful than our often blasé approaches permit us to realize. Collaborative creative connections are among the most important to me, and I love the imagery Gabriel shared, giving me a snippet of what was surely a profound experience with which to be a part.
We need collaboration. We need creativity. We need meaningful, profound experiences. And we need music that speaks to us.