Song of the Day #1,022: ‘Don’t Give Up’ – Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush

With all of the great songs on Peter Gabriel’s So (‘Sledgehammer,’ ‘Red Rain,’ ‘In Your Eyes,’ ‘Mercy Street’… wow!), it’s easy to forget this inspirational track.

Teaming up with Kate Bush, better known for her avant garde songwriting than this sort of lush balladry, Gabriel recorded a grand ode to perseverance, a precursor to ‘Everybody Hurts.’

Though ‘Don’t Give Up’ isn’t a love song in the traditional sense, I find it achingly romantic. That’s due in large part to the interplay of Gabriel’s and Bush’s vocals, not to mention the video of them hugging throughout the performance (must have been an interesting shoot).

This song achieves greatness in its bridge, when Bush delivers these touching words: “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.”

And Gabriel’s voice soars as he responds: “Got to walk out of here, I can’t take anymore. Going to stand on that bridge, keep my eyes down below. Whatever may come and whatever may go, that river’s flowing.”

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 I could be affected
Thought that we’d be the 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 anymore
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
‘Cos 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 it’s never been easy
Don’t give up
‘Cos I believe there’s the a place
There’s a place where we belong

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,022: ‘Don’t Give Up’ – Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush

  1. Dana says:

    Wow, what a great way to end this theme week!. Such a great, powerful and moving song. Indeed, I must confess that I teared up just listening to the song again today (and watching the video), even though I have known and loved this song for 25 years This is certainly not a typical love song, but it’s hard to find a stronger statement of love and support in a relationship where one of the couple is struggling.

  2. Amy says:

    I went in search of what film or tv show may have featured this song – and cemented the notion that it’s a love song – but had no luck. I did learn, however, that there are apparently versions of this song out there sung by Willie Nelson and Sinead O’Connor (That I have got to hear!) and Bono and Alicia Keys.

    Difficult to imagine any other duet coming close to this one – one of the most powerful songs I’ve ever heard. Great way to conclude the week!

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