In Your Eyes has to be one of the most iconic hits to come out of the 80s. If your mind doesn’t flash to that scene in that movie, we’ll be surprised – and suggest you watch it soon.
But who are the lyrics about?
We dug in to discover more about one of Peter Gabriel’s greatest tunes.
Let’s take a look!
Who Originally Wrote In Your Eyes?
Peter Brian Gabriel was born in February 1950 in Surrey, England. He was raised in a middle-class family in a Victorian manor just outside the town of Chobham. His mother taught him to play the piano, and at ten years old, he became interested in drums.
After writing his first song at 12, Peter’s aunt gave him money for singing lessons. But instead, he used it to buy the first Beatles album.
Gabriel played drums and sang in two bands before forming Garden Wall. Developing his style during this time, this group also included future bandmates Tony Banks and Chris Stewart.
When Garden Wall disbanded in 1967, the trio got together with fellow students Anthony Phillips and Mike Rutherford to make a demo tape.
The band got a recording deal on the strength of Gabriel’s vocals, and the record company suggested Gabriel’s Angels. The rest of the group rejected it, ultimately settling on the name Genesis. Their first album, titled From Genesis to Revelation, flopped, and the band broke up.
In 1969, Gabriel, Banks, Rutherford, and Phillips decided to make Genesis a full-time working band but didn’t gain traction until the 1973 album Selling England by the Pound. Peter left Genesis after their next album, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, in 1974.
His solo career has spanned over 50 years and includes nine albums, 43 singles, and 30 music videos. Peter is also active in humanitarian and political causes. In addition, he has a long-standing relationship with Amnesty International and is a proponent of a two-state solution in Israel/Palestine and the Armenian Genocide Recognition project.
So, Who Is Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” About?
We dug as deep as possible to uncover this mystery.
In doing so, we learned quite a bit about what was happening while Peter wrote and recorded In Your Eyes. However, it’s not clear who the person in the song is. It might not have been about a person at all.
There are rumors that the song is about Roseanna Arquette since they lived together when the album was released. But at the time, he hadn’t yet separated from his wife, Jill Moore. Their divorce would not become final until 1987.
While he did give a little background about where he got the idea for the song, Peter never confirmed who the muse was. His relationships around that time might lend some clues. But, the other songs on the album don’t shed any additional light.
Who Is Rosanna Arquette?
Born in New York City on August 10, 1959, Rosanna Arquette is an award-winning actress and has appeared in over 100 movies and television shows.
She’s from a family of actors. Her most famous roles were Desperately Seeking Susan, Pulp Fiction, and The Whole Nine Yards. She was in a relationship with Peter Gabriel from 1986 – 1992.
What Was Peter Gabriel’s Creative Process for In Your Eyes?
Peter’s interest in worldbeat music lends itself to the creation of in Your Eyes. The vocal melody and chord changes are from a scrapped song about a cathedral in Spain named Sagrada. It was intended for the album but was scrapped early on.
In Your Eyes’ lyrics came from an African tradition about the line between romantic love and love for God. Gabriel combined acoustic and electronic instruments to create the song, including the Fairlight CMI synthesizer and the Linn drum machine. He also played piano.
The love song is considered Worldbeat and features Youssou N’Dour singing in his native language Wolof.
Recorded in 1985 for Geffen Records and released in 1986, it’s found on the hit album So, which also includes the hits Sledgehammer and Big Time. Although Gabriel never released it as a single in the U.K., radio and MTV airplay was massive in the United States. In Your Eyes made it to #1 on the U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks.
What Movie Was The Song In Your Eyes In?
Roseanna Arquette encouraged Gabriel to let director Cameron Crowe use In Your Eyes in the movie Say Anything.
The film, set in 1989, is a romantic comedy-drama. It’s about the relationship between John Cusack’s character, Lloyd Dobler, an average student, and Diane Court, the class valedictorian played by Ione Skye, immediately after they graduate from high school.
The movie received critical praise, with Roger Ebert calling it “one of the best films of the year—a film that’s really about something, that cares deeply about the issues it contains—and yet it also works wonderfully as a funny, warmhearted romantic comedy.”
Entertainment Weekly considers it the greatest modern romance movie and #11 on the list of 50 best high school movies.
In Your Eyes has appeared in three other films, including Deadpool 2. It’s also been played in at least ten TV series episodes, such as It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Family Guy, and American Dad. In fact, you can hear many of Peter’s songs in movies and on TV.
What Is Peter Gabriel’s Most Famous Song?
This question depends on who you ask and what the criteria are. What country? Famous from a movie? Video? TV show?
According to some reader polls and critics, Solsbury Hill is most famous for a few reasons. Written in an odd time signature, along with the flute hook, the steady thump of the drums creates the heartbeat for the song. On top of that, the autobiographical nature of the piece speaks to his feelings about being a rock star.
But if you go by record sales and music videos, there are two standouts—both from them from the So album. Based on MTV exposure, Sledgehammer was a massive #1 funk-rock hit in the U.S.
Big Time, also from So, has to be up there too. But Shock the Monkey and Digging in the Dirt are contenders, too, having reached #1 on the U.S. Billboard Charts.
What is Peter Gabriel Doing Now?
Peter Gabriel currently lives in Wilshire County in southwest England with his wife of 20 years and two sons, ages 21 and 14.
Peter has spent many years running Real World Studios in Wiltshire. Gabriel’s vision of unity was to create a space where there is no separation between musicians, engineers, or producers.
He also wanted to inspire creativity by including light, air, and water elements. The new complex provided both recording facilities and residential accommodations.
W.O.M.A.D. World of Art, Music, and Dance is an international festival founded in 1980 by Gabriel and others in concert production, design, and documentarian roles.
After nearly going bankrupt after the first year, Peter and his former bandmates in Genesis got together for a single reunion show to raise money for the festival to continue.
Since 1982, W.O.M.A.D. Festivals have traveled all over the world and have entertained over one million people.
Peter Gabriel’s One of the Greatest In Our Eyes
Ultimately we don’t know who Gabriel had in mind when he wrote the song, In Your Eyes. However, while attempting to reveal the identity, we learned much about Peter Gabriel’s long career and varied interests.
Regardless, his music is certainly worth listening to, and attending a W.O.M.A.D. festival should be on every music lover’s bucket list.
Are you a Peter Gabriel fan? Let us know which of his songs are your favorite!