More to keep him in the marketplace than anything else, a Peter Gabriel “greatest hits” album snuck out at the end of 1990. While it was probably mostly the label’s doing, he certainly gave his input, even going so far as to refuse to package it inside the cardboard longbox that was standard in the US at the time. Shaking The Tree became a perennial seller, providing true hits alongside some other curios.
Despite beginning with “Solsbury Hill”, the chronology goes all over the map through the rest of his solo work. Collectors would be slightly interested in the various edits and remixes that were utilized to keep the program at capacity, affecting various selections from the third album, Security and So. Even “Zaar”, from Passion and hardly a big radio request, fits in the flow.
More interesting was the new piano-and-vocal performance of “Here Comes The Flood” that scrapes away all the bombast of the album version to the bare bones. The big draw was the title track, which was actually a remix (with new vocals) of a song from the previous year’s Youssou N’Dour album, which Peter had produced.
It’s a good sampler, though oddly enough, the one track Shaking The Tree doesn’t have, to worldwide confusion, is “In Your Eyes”, so soon after its exposure in Say Anything. Surely that would have been a better choice than “Mercy Street”? People who really wanted it could just buy So, of course. Or, they could wait until 2003 and pick it up on the double-disc Hit anthology, which sported a few other edits, songs from the two albums he’d completed in the interim, and no “Mercy Street”. (As long as we’re getting ahead of ourselves, Atlantic took the opportunity to cash in with Revisited, a fairly crass repackaging of songs from his first two solo albums, timed to coincide with his next solo album. Which we shall be discussing soon enough.)
Peter Gabriel Shaking The Tree: Sixteen Golden Greats (1990)—4