In Your Eyes

Album: So (1986)
Charted: 26


  • According to Gabriel, the lyrics could refer to either the love between a man and woman or the relationship between a person and God.
  • African musician Youssou N'Dour sang backup. In 1991 Gabriel performed this in N'Dour's native country of Senegal before a crowd of 70,000.
  • This was featured in the 1989 movie Say Anything in a scene where John Cusack plays this from a Boom Box he holds over his head to win the heart of Ione Skye. Cameron Crowe, who directed the film, was going to use Billy Idol's "Got To Be A Lover," but it didn't work with the scene. Crowe got the idea to use this when he played a tape from his wedding which had the song on it. Because it was a deeply personal song, Gabriel did not want to let him use it, but when Crowe called and sent him a tape of the movie, Gabriel loved it and gave his approval.
  • The producers of Say Anything (see a still) were charged about $200,000 to use the song, but it was worth the price as it became one of the most famous scenes in movie history. The scene became a cultural touchstone, which was a little strange for Gabriel. He told Rolling Stone in 2012: "I've talked to John Cusack about that. We're sort of trapped together in a minuscule moment of contemporary culture."
  • Gabriel combined various real and electronic instruments to create the song. He worked the Fairlight CMI synthesizer and the Linn drum machine, and also played piano. Other musicians on the track, along with N'Dour, were:

    David Rhodes - guitar, backing vocals
    Jerry Marotta - drums
    Richard Tee - piano
    Larry Klein, Tony Levin - bass
    Manu Katche - drums, talking drum, percussion
    Ronnie Bright - bass vocals
    Jim Kerr (from Simple Minds), Michael Been - backing vocals
  • A special 7:14 mix of this song was released to radio stations by Geffen Records. It features extended singing by Youssou N'Dour. This promotional copy also included a 6:15 version of the song, and an 8:36 of Gabriel's "Biko." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Rob - Hutchinson, KS
  • This is one of the few slow songs that gets consistent airplay on rock radio. It was not real popular when it came out, but continues to get constant airplay on a variety of formats, as listeners never seem to tire of it.
  • The band SR-71 also does a cover of this song. They performed it live at the 2004 Gravity Games. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Brad - Hickory, NC
  • In 1994, Gabriel did a version of "In Your Eyes" live, which appears on Disc 2 of the double CD set of Secret World Live, and lasts 11:34. On this version, he improvises a lot in the song with the backup singers. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Glenda - Austin, TX
  • The singer/guitarist Jeffrey Gaines recorded a popular version of this song that got a lot of airplay on Adult Contemporary radio and appears on his 2001 album Always Be. Gaines writes most of his own material, but his cover of "In Your Eyes" has become his best-known work. When we asked him about performing a song written by someone else, he replied: "The conviction I have within that material is my joy of singing."
  • When Guitar Player magazine questioned whether David Rhodes was upset over his 12-string being buried beneath synthesizers, the guitarist replied: "I think that's fine. Often, I prefer that. I think sometimes it can be unnecessary to have a lot of definition between instruments. All the instruments should blend to make the song work, to build the atmosphere. The fact that you can't hear your part, a particular sound, shouldn't worry you at all. A lot of guitarists enjoy playing very loud and doing big solos. I'm not into that."

    He added: "The idea of making things work appeals to me a lot more. I approach things texturally and build them up, giving the music space to develop. With Peter, we use a lot of effects, so that it sounds as little like a guitar as possible."
  • In addition to Say Anything, this was also used in these TV shows:

    The Righteous Gemstones ("Better Is The End Of A Thing Than Its Beginning" - 2019)
    It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia ("The Gang Gets Romantic" - 2019)
    The Last Man On Earth ("Not Appropriate For Miners" - 2017)
    The Flash ("Gorilla Warfare" - 2015)
    Lilyhammer ("Out Of Africa" - 2013)
    The Goldbergs ("The Ring" - 2013)
    Glee ("Girls (And Boys) On Film" - 2013)
    Cold Case ("Family" - 2005)
    American Dad! ("It's Good To Be The Queen" - 2006)
    Felicity ("Pilot" - 1998)

    And in these movies:

    Yes, God, Yes (2019)
    Deadpool 2 (2018)
    The Rocker (2008)
  • Daniel Lanois, who co-produced the album with Gabriel, explained to Sound On Sound how a small musical toolbox created a dynamic album. "It's a mysterious album," he said. "What's interesting about that record, is that if you listen closely there aren't that many unusual instruments on it but it sounds sonically innovative.

    It was created with a fairly limited supply of tools, if you like. Most of the keyboards are acoustic piano, Yamaha electric piano and Prophet 5 - an old Prophet 5 polysynth, one of the very first ones to come out. Also an old Fairlight Series II with some good sampled sounds. Yet So has a variety of sounds and you don't get the feeling that it's the same things over and over again. It's another lesson in the theory of the small toolbox and learning to love your tools. Learning the difference between that setting and this setting and not necessarily using wildly different instruments or components to come up with variety but using a concentrated small area and drawing a lot from them."

Comments: 49

  • Mark from New YorkI saw a movie about the making of the album So and Gabriel himself confirmed my suspicions about the song. He mentioned that there was an African tradition of writing a song that could hold a dual interpretation of being a love song between a man and woman and between a human and God. The spiritual imagery lends itself to this. He also mentioned that when this song was sung live, in concert, it was a spiritual experience the likes of which he does not see in any of his other songs. Now we know why.
  • Ray from Victoria, BcKevin Nealon of SNL fame has a channel on YouTube entitles "Hiking With Kevin". On the episode where he hiked with Rosanna Arquette, she stated that this song is one of two famous songs that were written about her. She claimed to have "spent time" with Peter Gabriel back in the day.
  • Kathleen from MarylandThe lyrics for the section at the end that's sung in Wolof is: Sa bet chi lamp, chi tangaay, sa bet maangi ci biir. From what I've been able to figure out, this translates to "Your eye, the heat, the light, I am inside." So that would be "In your eyes, the light, the heat, I am complete," wouldn't you agree? At the very least, it's "In your eyes, the light, the heat," which is what's being said in English.
  • Kathleen from MarylandSteve: It features Youssou N'Dour singing at the end of the song, and that part was translated into his native Wolof. Wolof is the native language of Senegal.
  • Glenn from In The Back Of Your MindIt's my understanding that this song was NOT written by Peter Gabriel at all and that it was written by a Frederic Robert Vitani? Any truth to that?? He's listed on a bunch of credits as being the writer and Gabriel the performer of this great classic song.
  • Steve from Indiana I would like to know about the language that was "chanted" in some versions. This is what someone put down as a language but I yet to find out if it is the correct spelling. Language and meaning would be great if you know. Thank you! Here is the copied version of the lyrics I'm referring to: sowot silang quasi tangai sowot manganchibi
  • Nicole from Salt Lake CityI really, really, really hope that it IS Daniel Lanois posting a comment on these song lyrics about the song not being about Arquette. It's almost believable. Well written, no troll-ish mistakes. Freaking brilliant producer and musician, but why would he be found on this site in the first place. *le sigh* P.S. Daniel if that is you, I loved "I Love You." Great song!
  • Norm from Vancouver, BcThis is what I feel the song is saying
    I have put the actual lyrics in quotes and my comments after the quoted lyrics.
    When I refer to God I am refering to the unexplainable source responsible for all creation and whatever your individual perception of that is

    "love I get so lost, sometimes"
    Love is God and sometimes we live our lives without God in our hearts
    "days pass and this emptiness fills my heart"
    When we live without God in our heart we feel less whole our heart feels empty there is something missing.
    "when I want to run away
    I drive off in my car
    but whichever way I go
    I come back to the place you are"
    The solution to leading a more fulfilling life is not running away but finding God and He is everywhere so you can find Him wherever you are.

    "all my instincts, they return"
    Once you live life with Gods love in your heart and follow His guidance decisions come easily
    "and the grand facade, so soon will burn"
    Life as we know it is an Illusion the closer we are connected to God the more we will be able to see through that Illusion
    "without a noise, without my pride"
    The stillness and silence achieved through the practice of meditation is the method to dissolving the ego which clears the path to aligning yourself with God.
    "I reach out from the inside"
    It’s all about Internal transformation

    "in your eyes
    the light the heat
    in your eyes
    I am complete"
    God is the light and the heat and in His eyes you are complete
    "in your eyes
    I see the doorway to a thousand churches"
    There are many different religions with different stories trying to explain the unexplainable they are all pointing to the same doorway.
    "in your eyes
    the resolution of all the fruitless searches"
    When we live to find happiness through acquiring material possessions we find that the happiness is very short lived.
    "in your eyes
    I see the light and the heat
    in your eyes
    oh, I want to be that complete
    I want to touch the light
    the heat I see in your eyes"
    We are all a fragment of light and heat of God. Behind the Illusion we all have the potential to achieve god consciousness. When we feel empty inside it is our desire to return to that consciousness and be returned to the original source of light and heat

    "love, I don't like to see so much pain
    so much wasted and this moment keeps slipping away"
    Pain and suffering comes from not living in the present moment. Suffering comes from regretting the past or fearing the future
    "I get so tired of working so hard for out survival
    I look to the time with you to keep me awake and alive"
    When you are truly inline with God it is a state of being no longer striving to succeed
  • Lalah from Wasilla, AkInt he movie "say Anything", this song is also playing in the background of the backseat-of-car scene.
  • Tony from Vancouver, WaDavid Arquette said on the Howard Stern show that this song was written by Peter Gabriel for Rosanna Arquette.
  • Stimpson from Salem , MaThis has become one of my all time favorite songs.I think that, like most great poetry, it can be taken several ways. My favorite version is the one from his 1994 tour with Paule Cole. You can tell she was having the time of her life.
  • Dom from Perth, AustraliaMy god what can i say everytime i listened to the beautiful so my goose bumps,start and if your really thinking of someone so dear to you,you cant help but drop a tear or too,would have to say that would be my wedding song,theres only one of a kind an thats it..well done pete for a song we all listen,if we are listening to it alone,its not strange to say that really it involves 2 people or more..
  • Steph from Claverack, NyIt tells of the love that one feels; you can only hope to have something that strong in your lifetime. How many times have you been in your car listening to this song, been immediately transported to the glow that true love carries? Amazingly great song, holds up for all time. Sad and happy, all rolled into one. Makes you heart cry.
  • Theresa from Murfreesboro, TnThe best love song of the '80s.
  • Erika from Vernon, CtOne of my favorite songs, hands down, by ANY artist. I, like a few others here, have always believed that this song was about the line between physical and spiritual ectasy. (As is "is there a line?" and "how do you know which is which?") But something that I've never been able to find an answer to: the video for this song features clips from a old movie. Clips from the same movie (I think) are also used in the video for David Bowie's "Hallo Spaceboy." Anyone have any ideas?
  • Thom from Carson City, NvI feel this song reaches out further than just being a love song between a man and woman, Or a spirritual song between God and man. My Daughter recently moved to the west coast and I thought I would be able to handle it better than I am. I have always loved Peter Gabriels work but never gave this song much thought till I was watching a T.V. show about a father and daughter who were sepporated by his death and this song started playing at the end of the show and the tears shot out of me. Peter Gabriel has a way of hitting home. My Daughter is very full of life and she has been my biggest inspiration in my life. Solsbury Hill comes to mind with me because I am from the west coast end as soon as I can afford to go, I'm going home.
  • Martha from Kdh, NcI can see how this can be a love song, but I see it as a song of love for God, or the creator or whatever one wants to call it. I think that with God there is no hiding anything. God knows all and sees all, and the song seems to be saying that while I am just human and have flaws and share this world with all other human activity of various sorts, I want to be seen by you (God) for the good and perfect person that I want to be. It's like Gabriel is saying "I want to have your approval." - As a child wants to be seen by a parent. It is a quite touching song to me. I don't participate in any church, but I think that this song is a prayer like no other in the Bible that I've come across. It speaks in my language.
  • Age from C-ville, PaThis song is the perfect mix between beautiful love lyrics and captivating musicianship.
  • Kevin from Springfield, Pajeffrey gaines cover is great. a perfect song
  • Tom from Hershey, PaI have this one on my ipod and jog to it. It has a great running beat, especially the Gaines version.
  • Peter from Huddersfield, EnglandAgree wholeheartedly with of the best lovesongs ever written.
  • Maggs from West Alexandria, Ohlove Say Anything, love John Cusack, love this song....
    Maggs, Ohio
  • Mark from Austin, TxI read somewhere that, when asked if they could use the song in Say Anything, he said that he would have to see the film first. They sent it to him and he said, "Ok, but I'm not too happy with the fact that the main character dies of a drug overdose." Turns out that they had accidentally sent him a copy of Wired, a film about John Belushi.
    Anybody know if this is true?
  • Tj from Baltimore, MdIn my area (Baltimore, USA) local radio stations play a version of "In Your Eyes", which removes the words "I see the doorway to a thousand churches". Is this censorship of the original lyrics to remove a religious reference, or did Peter Gabriel endorse this version? I also heard this version on XM Radio.
  • Mike from Santa Barbara, CaAllegedly, this song was written about Rosanna Arquette, who was Peter Gabriel's girlfriend at the time.
  • Michael from Rockford, Il To Mr. Lanois, It really does'nt matter that much. People like misguided facts, and will never stray.
    No need to for the dramatics in this forum, might I suggest a song to straiten this matter on one of your releases?
    Feel free to contact me at
  • Iana from Manila, OtherI Love this song too, because it reminds me of a man whose having trouble in his life but the great about this is he actually live continuously, because of his undying love to the one he Loves. , . ;)
    - Iana, Manila, Philippines,,,
  • Chuck from Houston, Txmy fav by peter g.
  • Jeffrey from Dowagiac, MiCameron Crowe originally wanted to have John Cusak's character serenade Ione Skye's character, but Cusak didn't sing well, so he had him hold a boom box over his head playing this beautiful song. Movie history was made.
  • Farrah from Elon, NcI love this song. This song is very inspiring.
  • Shay from Bridgeton, MoI have a copy of this song being done by Staind. It's awesome!!!
  • Bradley from Bemidji, MnContemporary Christian artist Nichole Nordeman has covered this song on her 2002 CD "Woven and Spun."
  • Daniel from MontrealI am so sick of this. I will finally speak out regarding Roseanna Arquette being the inspiration for "In Your Eyes". It was another young woman, also an actress, who was the inspiration for the song. I don't know if it's Arquette's camp who is generating this rumor, or the public. Her identity is not revealed because at the time Gabriel was still officially married. Arquette and Gabriel didn't even meet until after the album came out. I should know. I co-produced the album. And furthermore "Roseanna" is not about Arquette either. The band, Toto, has many times, told the press, that she did NOT serve as the inspiration to the song, only the name. I hope this puts the issue to rest.
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, Scpat from montreal. Where did you hear tjat story. It's pretty funny! btw, song's a great love song, and will be one of those ones that's always played.
  • Conor Bendle from Canberra, AustraliaThere is also an awesome live version of this song on Gabriel's live album 'Secret World Live'. It features Paula Cole on backing vocals, and instead of Yossou N'Dour, it features Congolese singer Papa Wemba (who was signed to PG's RealWorld music label).
  • Pat from Montreal, CanadaFunny story about convincing Gabriel to let this song into Say Anything: Once the director knew this was the song he wanted, he tried to get Gabriel to let him use it, to no success. Eventually, Gabriel asked to see a copy of the movie, and was sent one. He replied to it by allowing the song to be used, while also commenting that he was wary about the part where the lead overdoses at the end. The director had accidentally sent Wired, not Say Anything. The rest, as they say, is cinematic history.
  • Anthony from Clearwater, FlThe live version (with Youssou N'Dour ) which I saw on VH-1 Classic, is one of the best videos I've ever seen. Peter Gabriel is a musical genius!
  • Tom from Adelaide, AustraliaWhat a supremely crafted and beautifully balanced song, absolute quality. Its one of those rare songs that get better with age. Turn it up and sing it loud. You can really get lost in this one.
  • Ron from Vancouver, CroatiaGreatest love song of the century
  • Eric from Lake Forest, CaAfter Biko, this became the climax of his live performances.
  • Breeze from Washington, DcIt was a question on Who Wants to be a Millionaire.
  • Linda from College Station, TxPeter Gabriel wrote this song about Rosanna Arquette (they used to live together). Toto's hit "Rosanna" is also about Arquette.
  • T.j from Buford, GaAaron Lewis, from Staind, covered this song with his old band before he joined Staind. He did an awsome job covering this song!
  • Audrey from Boston, MaFor anyone who hasn't checked out the Jeffrey Gaines live version (on his album Always Be) it's amazing and will bring a whole new apprecaition to a beautiful song.
  • Miraj from Eden Prairie, MnHis name was Jefferey Gaines and I think it was last summer.
  • Krie from Ft. Drum, NyHey, can anyone remember the name of the guy who covered this a few years ago? I believe it was a live track...
  • Beckylove from Richland, WaPeter Gabriel wrote this song about Roxanne Arquette.
  • Paige from Broomfield, CoThis is the most beautiful love song ever written and recorded. ;-)
  • Nicky from Middlesbrough, EnglandI love this song. This reminds me of a man who is haveing some troubles in life who only finds comfort when he's with the one he loves...'I look to the time with you, to keep me awake and alive'
    wonderful love song.
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