After leaving the band Genesis in 1975, Peter Gabriel launched a successful solo career. His 1986 album, So, went triple platinum in the UK and five times platinum in the U.S. The album’s most successful single, “Sledgehammer,” is not only a great song and an international hit (#1 on Billboard Hot 100) but it was accompanied by an equally amazing video.
Various techniques were used to produce the “Sledgehammer” video, including claymation, pixilation, and stop motion animation provided by Aardman Animations (Wallace and Gromit, Chicken Run, Flushed Away) and the Brothers Quay. The result was something we hadn’t seen before on MTV (like the swimming sperm cells), and we couldn’t get enough of it. According to a report in 2011, it was MTV’s most played music video of all time.
The video went on to win a record nine MTV Video Music Awards in 1987, including Video of the Year. It won a tenth award when named British Video of the Year at the 1987 Brit Awards. It’s easy to see why.
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