The Family And The Fishing Net

Songfacts®:

  • This song is about the absurdities of traditional weddings. The territorial battles, rings, and vows seem ridiculous from an outsiders point of view.
  • The lyrics were inspired by the early poetry of Dylan Thomas.
  • Gabriel's marriage to his first wife Jill hit a crisis when she had an affair with David Lord, the co-producer of the Security album, and in this song he foreshadowed the marital tension. He told Mojo April 2010: "We think we're islands, but we're all connected in a landmass. What you see above the water is two people getting married. But beneath the water are the tentacles of two larger, dominant organisms which are the families making connection through those two particular tentacles. But we never observe and recognize that."
  • Running 7:04, "The Family And The Fishing Net" got its sounds from Ethiopian pipes, a Linn LM-1 drum machine, various synthesizers, and traditional instruments like guitars and saxophones. Throughout his career, Gabriel was eager to use the latest technology to create new sounds while also bringing in musical forms from Asia and Africa.
  • David Sancious, who played keyboards on Gabriel's So (1986) and Back to Front (2012) tours, says this is the most musically complex song he ever had to recreate live. "It's a fantastic song," he told Songfacts. "It's one of my favorites to play with him because it's like a movie with the lyrics and the mood and everything - it's a totally cinematic song. And there's a lot of things that have to happen exactly on cue and a bunch of different sonic sound shifts. It was pretty interesting to put it together in rehearsal and I remember it took Peter and I together a minute to be clear on where we were coming in and where we're not playing, but we got it together. I loved playing that song, but it was a very specific little piece of music."

Comments: 1

  • Montgomery from Florence, KyPrimus covered this song on their 1998 E.P. Rhinoplasty
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Dwight Twilley

Dwight TwilleySongwriter Interviews

Since his debut single "I'm On Fire" in 1975, Dwight has been providing Spinal-Tap moments and misadventure.

Jules Shear - "All Through The Night"

Jules Shear - "All Through The Night"They're Playing My Song

Shears does very little promotion, which has kept him secluded from the spotlight. What changed when Cyndi Lauper had a hit with his song? Not much, really.

Songs in Famous Movie Scenes: '80s Edition

Songs in Famous Movie Scenes: '80s EditionMusic Quiz

You know the scenes - Tom Cruise in his own pants-off dance off, Molly Ringwald celebrating her birthday - but do you remember what song is playing?

Graham Parker

Graham ParkerSongwriter Interviews

When Judd Apatow needed under-appreciated rockers for his Knocked Up sequel, he immediately thought of Parker, who just happened to be getting his band The Rumour back together.

Psychedelic Lyrics

Psychedelic LyricsMusic Quiz

Whoa man! Do you know which band came up with these cosmic lyrics?

Yacht Rock!

Yacht Rock!Song Writing

A scholarly analysis of yacht rock favorites ("Steal Away," "Baker Street"...) with a member of the leading YR cover band.