“Here Comes the Flood” by Peter Gabriel
It’s very easy to get the impression that the lyrics of “Here Comes the Flood” are based on what is commonly known as the Great Deluge, i.e. of Biblical lore. That is to say that Peter Gabriel appears to be imagining what such an instance would like look if it were to transpire in the here and now. Well, the above observation may ring true as far as certain parts of the song, especially the second verse and chorus, go. But other lines are more challenging in terms of trying to ascertain what Gabriel is getting at without doing more in-depth research.
As the story goes, the inspiration behind this piece sprang from a dream the singer/songwriting had which was centered on a phenomenon like mass telepathy. And accordingly, Peter has clarified that the title is actually a reference “to a mental flood”, as in “a release [or] wash over the mind”. And such an explanation is abstract, to say the least.
So with all of that in mind, what we’re basically dealing with here is a song inspired by an idealized mass-telepathic event, which somehow has led to vocalist seemingly alluding to the Great Deluge in the process.
But with his explanations in mind, yes, the lyrics do read a bit differently. In other words, even though the vocalist does speak to ‘waves of steel hurled… at the sky’, ‘saying goodbye to flesh and blood’, people losing their homes, etc., if taken literally he is obviously implying some type of major disaster.
But the thing is that these are all obviously symbolic musings. What they are actually meant to point to, more simply put, is a notion like transcending the physical plane. And once people are caught up in this “flood”, as Peter puts it, then it’s like we’ll all be able to relate on a mental level, as imagined.
Facts about “Here Comes the Flood”
“Here Comes the Flood” is a song that was originally dropped, courtesy of Charisma Records, on 25 February 1977.
Peter released it as part of the playlist of his debut album, which is a self-titled joint.
There have been a couple of notable covers since. Gabriel came out with a remix of this tune in 1990, amply titled “Here Comes the Flood (1990 Version)”.
Prior to that Peter, being dissatisfied with the original rendition of this piece, participated in another rendering that can be found on Robert Fripp’s 1979 LP “Exposure”. (To note, it is Fripp who played guitar on the original.)
There is also reportedly a “Quiet Version” of “Here Comes the Flood” to be found on the 2006 reissue of “Exposure”. But it would appear, as popular as this song may be, that none of the above were actually released as singles.
Peter Gabriel wrote this song, with the producer of the original being Bob Ezrin.