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on October 27, 1999
People-
This album was a pretty good compilation of the songs written by Peter Gabriel. There are a few things that bug me about it. There are also a few things I like about it.
I own all of Peter Gabriel's albums, so I know every song of his. When you listen to this album after hearing his songs on the actual album, you will hate it. For the reason is, they butchered almost every song on there. Five songs (Sledgehammer, Mercy Street, Don't Give Up, Games Without Frontiers, Shock The Monkey) had parts in them cut out. It was too evident. The new Genesis album, "Turn It On Again: The Hits," also a greatest hits album, has a few cut-outs, but not to insanity.
Also, where the hell is the song "In Your Eyes." That song is one of his biggest hits, and yet, it is not on his greatest hits album. What the hell is the matter with the Geffen company.
Not everything about this album is bad, however. I love how the new versions of "Shaking The Tree," "Here Comes The Flood," and one of the remixes for "I Have The Touch."
If they had made this album a double CD album, it would be a lot better. First, they wouldn't have to cut everything out. Second, they could fit more songs and remixes. And, third, double albums attract more customers. What us Peter Gabriel fans look for is a double album. We hope for his new album, "Up", to be a double album.
If you do not have any Peter Gabriel albums and are looking for an album filled with hits and hits only, this is the album for you. Otherwise, if you are a huge Peter Gabriel fan and have most or all of his albums, I strongly suggest to stay away from this. Buying this album causes paragraph-long complaints like this one!
- Adam
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on November 5, 2003
With the release of the double-CD, 'Hit' (2003), the 16 golden greats has been superceded as THE BEST collection for the passing or casual fan for two reasons:
(1) 'Hit' has 12 tracks that came out in the 1990s and beyond (after 'Shaking the Tree' (1990)), and even the passing fan would be remiss by passing up tunes like "Digging in the Dirt" and "I Grieve".
(2) As for earlier material from the 1970s and 1980s, one of PG's biggest hits - "In Your Eyes" - is included on 'Hit' (U.S. version), but is conspicuosly absent from 'Shaking the Tree'. ('Shaking the Tree' does have four other lesser-known tracks not included on 'Hit', the title track, "Mercy Street" from 'So' (1986), "I Have the Touch" from 'Security' (1982), and "Zaar" from the 'Passion' soundtrack (1989). )
At this point in time (2003), 'Shaking the Tree' is a collectible for die-hard PG fans only because: (1) the studio version of the title track featured only on this compilation; and (2) the remix of "I Have the Touch" that differs from the version on 'Security' (1982).
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on February 28, 2001
An effective collection. It's missing a track or two, as compilations inevitably are (especially from such an accomplished artist as Gabriel), but this is, on the whole, a satisfying collection. The big hits and well-known songs are here - Sledgehammer, Shock The Monkey, Big Time, Red Rain, Games Without Frontiers, etc. Also gratefully included are some personal favorites of mine - Mercy Street, Don't Give Up, San Jacinto, and a stunning new version of Here Comes The Flood. All of these are great, sprawling songs of the emotionally impactive variety Gabriel does so well. Also included, of course, is his first single, Solsbury Hill, which addresses his leaving Genesis, and, despite the years, is still my all-time favorite track of his. It's one of those songs that, no matter how many times I hear it, I still love it. Zaar, from his beautiful album Passion, is here as well. Shaking The Tree is a very nice starting place for the casual fan.
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It has been 35 years since Peter Gabriel began to make his mark on his own. After being the original lead for Genesis, before Phil Collins took the microphone, he had brought in a deep and haunting vibe into the songs. But for a brief time, he helped make the mark well with hits like Watcher Of The Skies, The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, and I Know What I Like In Your Wardrobe. But after 1975, Peter offically said goodbye to Genesis, and began his long and well-driven solo efforts. He made his mark more through art into his melodic and dark songs. While he hasn't had the commerciality Phil Collins did, his songs still remain as deep and vivid through the soul, and this collection of songs shows it.

Shaking The Tree - 16 Golden Greats, is a simple and straight-forward hits collection reflecting Peter Gabriel's solo efforts suring the 70's and 80's. The collection of songs remain simple, and include most of his biggest hits. The MP3 album has been remastered well, and sounds mostly strong. The collection include Gabriel favorites like the #1 smash Sledgehammer, Big Time, Shock The Monkey, and Games Without Frontiers. Each song is a great trip back in time from what made Peter so striking. Sadly, there were a few of his biggest hits that honestly shouldn't have been omitted from the collection like In Your Eyes to name one his more dominant ones. Still, it shows how Peter was able to make his own red rain in his songs at the peak of his career a one of a kind.

All in all, Shaking The Tree - 16 Golden Greats remains a great buy for anyone whom has never heard the shocked monkey of Peter Gabriel's music. While the solid strength of the collection isn't definitive as it could've been, just as the case is also with 2003's Hit, it still is simple from the sledgehammer himself. I honestly still recommend this as a great buy, and a reason to celebrate the reason solsbury hill is a part of pop music history.

Songs: B 1/2-

Price: B 1/2-

Remastering: B

Overall: B
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on November 28, 1999
Absolutely outstanding! One of my personal top 5 CD's of all time. If you are not a die-hard Peter Garbiel fan, you really should buy this one. A few songs I didn't like on their original mix were greatly improved like, "I Have The Touch". Although the purist might be offended by the alterations, someone who is not a Gabriel fan will become one after hearing so many excelent tracks all on one CD.
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on August 22, 2003
These songs sound great on SACD. Though I think the live version of Solsbury Hill on the Secret World Live cd is better than the original album track on this disc, the sacd version just hits harder. That said, my chief complaint is the way the tracks are numbered. Of course it's a collection, but the tracks in the middle of the cd don't really flow. Also wish it had "In Your Eyes."
I also wish this had a 5.1 layer. It would seem like a natural step since the music is very spatial with very distinctive instrumentation.
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on June 27, 2002
Sure..."In Your Eyes" is not on this collection. But "Red Rain", "Mercy Street", and "Don't Give Up" are. Point is - these songs are from the same studio album as "In Your Eyes" (_So_) and are just as good. But most people who casually know the work of Peter Gabriel might have never even heard them. And therefore, this is a successful "Best Of" album because it contains material that casual listeners have heard on the radio ("Sledgehammer", "Big Time", "Solsbury Hill") and other material that they are probably less familar with ("San Jacinto", "Here Comes the Flood", "Family Snapshot", and "I Don't Remember"). This was the first Gabriel album that I picked up and it made me go back and pick up his studio albums. The choices for the 'sixteen greats' are excellent. "Shaking The Tree" makes its first appearance here, as does a piano/vocal-only version of "Here Comes the Flood." If you're thinking of picking up this album because you've liked what you heard of Gabriel on the radio, you really can't go wrong with this collection.
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on December 3, 2009
Peter Gabriel is one of those few artists that literally hasn't made a single bad album, or even a single bad song. If it's got Peter Gabriel's name on it, you can be 98.99% sure that it's going to be good. He is truly one of the finest performers of the 20th century, and has always been one of my favorite artists.

But the thing about Peter Gabriel is he has never had a truly great comprehensive collection. Sure, 'Hit' is a pretty good two-disc collection that covers the basics and several others, but it's many miles away from being definitive. My favorite Peter Gabriel compilation (personally) is 'Revisited,' because it spans his first two albums, released between 1977-1978. But I don't recommend that album for the casual PG fan.

Now then, enough with the small talk. Let's get to the review.

'Shaking the Tree: Sixteen Golden Greats' is a solid compilation spanning 1977 to 1990, his career as a solo artist (he left Genesis in 1975 after the classic 'The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway' was released). And while 13 years is quite a long time, 16 tracks is just simply too short.

Read on for the positives and negatives of Peter Gabriel's first compilation album.

POSITIVES
-Most of his big radio hits of the 1980s are here. 'Sledgehammer,' a massive hit and a #1 hit in America for Gabriel, appears here, as does 'Shock the Monkey,' 'Red Rain,' 'I Have the Touch' (in a 1985 remix that is different than the album version that appeared on 1982's 'Security'), and 'Shaking the Tree' all appear here.
-The sound quality is just superb. You couldn't ask for a better-sounding disc then this one.

NEGATIVES
-Way, way, WAY too many missing songs. 'I Go Swimming' was a minor success for Gabriel in the U.S. in 1982, and it's also a classic. Plus, where is perhaps (besides 'Sledgehammer,' of course) his biggest hit, 'In Your Eyes'? HOW CAN YOU HAVE A GREATEST HITS COLLECTION AND OMIT THAT ONE? Stupidity at it's finest.
-Many of the tracks are edited. 'Zaar,' 'Sledgehammer,' 'Shock the Monkey,' and 'Biko,' among others, all appear on this collection in edits. That's a shame and it further proves my point of why Peter Gabriel needs a box set -- ASAP.
-NOTHING from 'Peter Gabriel 2 (Scratch)'?!? One of his all-time best albums (and quite possibly my favorite) and yet we get absolutely ZILCH from this album. That means (for all you die-hard Gabriel fans out there) no 'Exposure' or 'On the Air.' How disappointing. Strangely enough, the U.S. version of the two-disc set 'Hit' suffers from this same problem.
-Although I like it, I personally feel the original 1977 version of 'Here Comes the Flood' should have been included as opposed to the 1990 remake featured on 'Shaking the Tree.' While it's still good, I don't think it's as good as the original.

Overall, there are far too many negatives to highly recommend this disc. This disc is a fine example of why Peter Gabriel is highly deserving of a box set, including some of his recordings with Genesis and his solo stuff. If you are a new fan of PG and you want a nice entry point to his legendary music, this disc could possibly be recommended. But otherwise, just buy his solo albums, which are all masterpieces in their own right.
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on March 14, 2005
After reading so many comments about the omission of "In Your Eyes" on "Shaking the Tree," I felt I had to comment. When you think about it, "In Your Eyes" was only a minor hit when first released in 1986. It didn't become the acknowledged classic until its use in "Say Anything" in 1989. Since "Shaking the Tree" came out originally in 1990, the song had not been a "classic" for that long. The bigger reason that "In Your Eyes" is not on this greatest hits collection is that including EVERY hit from "So" would greatly hurt sales of the "So" CD release. With "In Your Eyes" on "Shaking the Tree," fans could now get "Sledgehammer," "Big Time," "Don't Give Up," "Mercy Street," "Red Rain," and "In Your Eyes on a greatest hits CD. For most people, that would preclude them from buying "So." If you notice, on his "Hit" CD, "In Your Eyes" is there, but the brilliant "Mercy Street" is missing. If you notice other greatest hits CD's from other artists, the majority of them follow this practice. As the old saying goes, "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?"
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on February 16, 2001
It's pretty obvious that "In Your Eyes" perhaps one of Peter's biggest hits was omitted off this album, this compilation of hits is pretty thorough though. I was stunned that "In Your Eyes" was not included but I'll have to buy "So" to have it in my cd collection.
Asides from "In Your Eyes" not being on the cd, I thought "Shaking the Tree:Sixteen Golden Greats" is excellent, especially for casual Peter Gabriel listeners such as myself. His songs on this cd are great and timeless. Songs like "Mercy Street" and "Don't Give Up" give me the chills. They possess a haunting quality about them that makes my hair stand up. "Biko" is another favorite track of mine and tells the listener the story of Steven Biko.
Peter Gabriel's vocal stylings is rather unique as his ability to tell stories through songs like "Biko". Frankly there isn't a artist today that can come close to Peter Gabriel in my book. The beauty of his music is that he can have fun in songs like "Sledgehammer" and "Big Time" and be serious in "Biko" and "Red Rain".
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