Amazing Music Videos: Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel

This video won nine MTV Video Music Awards in 1987, and it seems that this record remains unsurpassed. Stephen R. Johnson, who also directed Gabriel’s similar music videos “Big Time” and “Steam”, directs this crazy piece.

Among other techniques used here, we have stop motion animation, which takes a real long time, but the result is very cool. Basically, you have to shoot the video one frame at a time. It wasn’t the first (or the last) video that used stop motion animation, but I think it was the most influential one. When we watch it now, it doesn’t seem as groundbreaking as it did back then, but “Sledgehammer” remains a great piece of art. That’s what I look for in videos, I admire those who care enough to take the time to do it right, figure out some cool concept and then create something unique and truly artistic.

This video has some memorable highlights, let’s see, the “fruit-face”, the “star-suit”, the insane dancing moves with the girls doing back vocals at the end, and of course, the two oven-ready chickens dancing to the flute solo. Yeah, I kinda feel like watching it again, now. It begins a bit slowly, but after a while, there’s so much stuff going on, you won’t know where to look. Just don’t miss the dancing chickens!


3 thoughts on “Amazing Music Videos: Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel

    • Yes, very catchy. I don’t think I’ve heard any of his albums all the way through aside from “So”, but I know he’s got some good songs here and there, Mercy Street, Games without frontiers, Red Rain… He did a pretty cool version of Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne” too, maybe I ought to do another battle of songs post about that!

      • The three I have (Peter Gabriel I, III, and So) are definitely keepers, can’t say I’ve heard anything of his that I haven’t liked.
        I’d support such a song battle post!

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