The Book Of Love

Album: Scratch My Back (2010)

Songfacts®:

  • This perceptive dissection of love's simplicities is the first single from English musician Peter Gabriel's eighth studio and fourteenth album overall, Scratch My Back. The record consists of Gabriel covering twelve songs by various artists, using orchestra and voice rather than normal rock instruments. Gabriel's plan was for another album, I'll Scratch Yours, to be released at a later date, on which the twelve artists that the former Genesis frontman covered in turn perform one of his tracks.
  • This song is Gabriel's cover of a Magnetic Fields song from their 1999 three-volume concept album, 69 Love Songs. The Magnetic Fields is the principal creative outlet of singer-songwriter Stephin Merritt and "The Book of Love" is backed by Merritt's cover of Gabriel's "Not One Of Us." The single was released digitally on January 30, 2010, the day of January 2010's full moon.
  • Gabriel originally recorded this song for the soundtrack of the 2004 movie Shall We Dance.
  • Gabriel told "The Quietus about this string-laden cover: "I was introduced through a friend to the Magnetic Fields, and really fell in love with the song writing and the quirky way the band interpreted their material. This wonderful lyric is deeply romantic and a little cynical at the same time, which opens it to an audience that wouldn't buy slush. This was the track that stood out to me on 69 Love Songs and we were working on the strings for my track 'Signal to Noise' at the time. I thought it would be great to hear this performed on strings and just managed to get it arranged in time and recorded during the 'Signal to Noise' session. Claudia from the Magnetic Fields tells me that they're getting a lot of requests now for this particular version for wedding ceremonies, and it was used on the last episode of the Scrubs TV series, and seems to have generated its own cult following as a result."
  • The song also features the vocals of Gabriel's daughter Melanie. It was she who persuaded her father to cover the Bon Iver track "Flume" on Scratch My Back.

Comments: 5

  • Stan from Illinois The first time I heard it on Shall.we Dance it gripped me so that I was brought to tears. Even now as the opening melody goes through my head my eyes start to water. Such a beautiful song that was played in my wedding.
  • Ellie from London, United KingdomI first hear this song when I was 11 or 12 from the film "Shall We Dance?" and I've been in love with this song ever since, especially Peter Gabriel's version. This song just sends me into my inner thoughts where I think about love and the people in my life and when I reach my happy thoughts while listening to this song I tear up every time
  • Maicod from NetherlandsI didn't know this was not an original song of Gavin James but by Peter Gabriel. I came here because I was curious if the song title and lyrics could also be read as describing the Bible.
  • John from Aberdeen, United KingdomFeatured on last episode of fab US TV series Scrubs
  • Adam from Lehman, Pabest love song ever, love peter gabriel on this song
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Sarah BrightmanSongwriter Interviews

One of the most popular classical vocalists in the land is lining up a trip to space, which is the inspiration for many of her songs.

Janis IanSongwriter Interviews

One of the first successful female singer-songwriters, Janis had her first hit in 1967 at age 15.

Harry ShearerSongwriter Interviews

Harry is Derek Smalls in Spinal Tap, Mark Shubb in The Folksmen, and Mr. Burns on The Simpsons.

Little RichardFact or Fiction

Was Long Tall Sally a cross-dresser? Did he really set his piano on fire? See if you know the real stories about one of rock's greatest innovators.

Brenda RussellSongwriter Interviews

Brenda talks about the inspiration that drove her to write hit songs like "Get Here" and "Piano in the Dark," and why a lack of formal music training can be a songwriter's best asset.

Phil Hurtt ("I'll Be Around")Songwriter Interviews

Phil was a songwriter, producer and voice behind many Philadelphia soul classics. When disco hit, he got an interesting project: The Village People.