From Peter Gabriel’s landmark 1986 “So” album, this song is a combination of dance, rock, blue-eyed soul, and funk. Gabriel had said it was influenced by 1960s soul music, in particular that made by the Memphis label, Stax Records. The distinctive horn track was provided the Memphis Horns, Stax’s house musicians.
This song is about sex; the lyrics are loaded with phallic symbols. In addition to the word “sledgehammer,” other references to the male member include the train, bumper cars, and the big dipper. The innuendo was typical of the blues music Gabriel drew from.
Gabriel said regarding the theme of the song: “Sometimes sex can break through barriers when other forms of communication are not working too well.”
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