Share this 80's hit

“Don’t Give Up” is a song by British musicians Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush, released as the fifth single from Gabriel’s fifth solo studio album, “So,” in October 1986. The song is renowned for its poignant lyrics, emotive vocals, and its powerful message of perseverance and hope.

Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush - Don't Give Up

Peter Gabriel wrote “Don’t Give Up” during a time of high unemployment and economic hardship in the UK, particularly inspired by the images and stories of despair from the period. He initially considered Dolly Parton for the duet but eventually chose Kate Bush, whose ethereal voice added a unique depth to the track.

The song’s lyrics explore themes of struggle, despair, and resilience. It tells the story of a man who feels defeated by life’s challenges and contemplates giving up, but is comforted and encouraged by a loved one to persevere. Gabriel’s verses express the man’s feelings of hopelessness and failure, while Bush’s chorus and verses provide reassurance and support, urging him not to give up. “Don’t Give Up” is characterized by its soft, melancholic melody and the interplay between Gabriel’s and Bush’s vocals. The arrangement is relatively minimal, featuring gentle synthesizers, a steady drumbeat, and understated bass and piano lines. The production creates an intimate and introspective atmosphere, allowing the emotional weight of the lyrics to take center stage.

The song achieved moderate commercial success, particularly in the UK, where it reached number 9 on the Singles Chart. It also reached the top ten in several other countries, including number 5 in Australia. While not a major hit in the United States, it has remained one of Gabriel’s and Bush’s most enduring and beloved collaborations.

Two music videos were created for the song. The first and more well-known music video was directed by the British duo Godley & Creme. This version features Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush in a continuous, tight embrace against a backdrop that transitions from day to night. The second music video, directed by Jim Blashfield, features the singers’ faces superimposed over film of a town and its people in disrepair.

Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush – Don’t Give Up – Lyrics