So by Peter Gabriel, released on Virgin Records, 1986, value £45

SOMETIMES, a day will come like no other, and afterwards, nothing will ever be the same again. After seven years of being the frontman and lead singer of the prog rock band Genesis, in 1975 Gabriel became tired of the extensive touring, including the band format, citing the usual reason of musical differences and embarked on the beginning of a solo career, writes MICHAEL BROOKS. His first chart entry Solsbury Hill was a metaphorical account of the split from Genesis; it made the top 20. He began touring the UK and USA but adopted a low profile expressing uncertainty with a touch of nervousness of facing live audiences. He often preferred small ventures and theatres and often performed wearing a plain boiler suit. The first four albums were all called Peter Gabriel using the same typeface, however, Atlantic Records refused to release the third album claiming the musical content was so maudlin it would mean commercial suicide. Despite the single Games Without Frontiers making the top ten, the follow up songs over the next five years made little impact. After being signed by Virgin, So, his fifth solo album, was the first to have a proper title and became a major change of musical direction that resulted in a collection of anthemic, emotional songs of commitment that no one expected, but it elevated Gabriel to unparalleled heights as a star of truly international acclaim that could now fill arenas. With a pioneering award-winning album that eventually won nine MTV music citations, the song Sledgehammer number one in the USA, followed by Red Rain, Big Time and the haunting duet with Kate Bush Don't Give Up, one has to mention the track Mercy Street, never released as a single but a major favourite of the fans that made this the best selling album of 1986. Ironically, Don't Give Up knocked the Genesis song Invisible Touch from the top of the charts in the USA. It made number one over there probably inspired by photographs of American's struggling through the Oklahoma Dust bowl era; a sweet voiced Kate Bush offers encouragement to Gabriel who voices the travails of a downtrodden worker losing hope.

This was an album of the MTV generation, the videos of all these songs were key factors in the album's success. Sledgehammer is still the most played music video of all time. I imagine that Peter Gabriel will find it difficult to make a better album than this one.