Intruder

Album: Peter Gabriel (third, melt) (1980)
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Songfacts®:

  • This song is about a burglar who breaks into a woman's house and is never caught. Gabriel wanted the listener to feel a "sense of urgency," so he made the song intentionally creepy. He says it was one he always enjoyed performing live.
  • The repeating drum pattern on this song gave it a very distinctive sound and a sinister feel. The drums were played by Phil Collins, who would later use variations of this sound on the equally eerie songs "Mama" and "In The Air Tonight."

    Putting the drums through a gate compression unit and adding reverb created this effect. Gabriel and Collins give different accounts as to where the idea came from. Collins has said that he built the drum track for a song he was working on called "Marguerita," which was never released. Gabriel credits the album's engineer Hugh Padgham and producer Steve Lillywhite for coming up with the processing to create the unusual sound.

    At the time, Collins was taking a break from Genesis after having problems with his first marriage. Gabriel, who played with Collins in Genesis, got him to help out with drums on his third album.
  • Gabriel has cited the work of the filmmakers Bernard Herrmann and Alfred Hitchcock as influences on this song.
  • Before Phil Collins played the drums on this track, Gabriel had the cymbals and hi-hats removed from the kit. This accomplished the goal of getting Collins to come up with an unusual arrangement, but it got him a little too far out of his comfort zone, as he kept trying to hit cymbals and hi-hats that weren't there. They had to put tom-tom drums where these were so he could keep a rhythm.

Comments: 1

  • Jim from Dayton, OhThis song was released on an EP of covers by Primus. The album is entitled "Miscellaneous Debris".
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