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More Than Words: Don’t Give Up, Peter Gabriel 1986

When I first heard about the More Than Words feature I immediately thought of Peter Gabriels ‘Don’t Give Up’.  Originally written about economic hardship, the lyrics work on many levels. It’s a song that is both sombre and uplifting in equal measure and, since losing one of my closest friends to suicide, I struggle to listen to this song without shedding a tear. 

I recently read an interview with Peter Gabriel where he explained that one of his friends, who was also battling with depression and contemplating suicide, listened to this song and the lyrics pulled him through and helped him turn his life around. 

Peter duets with Kate Bush on this track and it works wonders. Two of the finest voices in contemporary music coming together to deliver a masterpiece of a song. 

Just reading some of the YouTube comments for the video gives a small indication of the impact this song has had on so many people.

Peter Gabriel ft. Kate Bush – Don’t Give Up

In this proud land we grew up strong
We were wanted all along
I was taught to fight, taught to win
I never thought I could fail

No fight left or so it seems
I am a man whose dreams have all deserted
I’ve changed my face, I’ve changed my name
But no-one wants you when you lose

Don’t give up
‘cos you have friends
Don’t give up
You’re not beaten yet
Don’t give up
I know you can make it good

Though I saw it all around
Never thought that I could be affected
Thought that we’d be last to go
It is so strange the way things turn

Drove the night toward my home
The place that I was born, on the lakeside
As daylight broke, I saw the earth
The trees had burned down to the ground

Don’t give up
You still have us
Don’t give up
We don’t need much of anything
Don’t give up
’cause somewhere there’s a place
Where we belong
Rest your head
You worry too much
It’s going to be alright
When times get rough
You can fall back on us
Don’t give up
Please don’t give up

Got to walk out of here
I can’t take any more
Going to stand on that bridge
Keep my eyes down below
Whatever may come
And whatever may go
That river’s flowing
That river’s flowing

Moved on to another town
Tried hard to settle down
For every job, so many men
So many men no-one needs

Don’t give up
’cause you have friends
Don’t give up
You’re not the only one
Don’t give up
No reason to be ashamed
Don’t give up
You still have us
Don’t give up now
We’re proud of who you are
Don’t give up
You know its never been easy
Don’t give up
’cause I believe there’s a place
There’s a place where we belong.

Don’t Give Up featured on Peter Gabriels 5th studio album ‘So’, released in 1986. 

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