Today in 1987, Peter Gabriel cleaned up at this year’s MTV Awards, winning best video, best male video, best concept video, best special effects and five other awards for the track ‘Sledgehammer’.
Gabriel lay under a sheet of glass for 16 hours while filming the video one frame at a time. Notably, two oven-ready chickens, headless and featherless, were animated using stop-motion and shown dancing along to the synthesized flute solo in the middle of the song. This section was animated by Nick Park, of Aardman Animations, who was refining his work in plasticine animation at the time. The style was later used again in the video for another successful single from the album So, “Big Time.”
The video ranked at number four on MTV’s 100 Greatest Music Videos Ever Made.
“Sledgehammer” is Peter Gabriel’s only number-one hit in the United States. It replaced “Invisible Touch” by his former band Genesis, which had been that group’s only US number-one hit the previous week.
The video above is the official ‘Sledgehammer’ video in newly-restored high definition for the first time from Peter Gabriel ‘So’ 25th Anniversary Edition.