Biko (7:33)

Cover of Shaking the Tree

From Shaking the Tree and 66 other releases

“Biko” is a protest song by British rock musician Peter Gabriel. The song was included on Gabriel’s third album, Peter Gabriel (1980). It is about Steve Biko, a noted black South African anti-apartheid activist. Biko had been arrested by the South African police in late August 1977. After being held in custody for several days, he was interrogated in room 619 of the Walmer Street prison in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape. Following the interrogation, during which he sustained serious head injuries, Biko was transferred to a prison in Pretoria, where he died shortly afterwards, on 12 September 1977. The album version of the song is bookended by a recording of the South African song “Senzeni Na?” as sung at Biko’s funeral.

“Biko” was first released as a single in 1980, when it reached #38 on the British charts. A live version, recorded in July 1987 at the Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, was released later that year, reaching #49 in the UK. A newly recorded version of the song (again by Gabriel) was used to promote the Richard Attenborough Biko biopic “Cry Freedom”.

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  • theironictea

    Same experience... [2] Saw Peter Gabriel live about 17 years ago...when he played this song, the entire audience sang along, waiving their lighters...and continued to do so for 3-4 minutes after Peter and his entire band had left the stage, one by one. A moment I will always remember.

    12 May 12:10pm Reply
  • Musik-Heart

    Biko. Peter, you are the best ❤

    6 Apr 9:37am Reply
  • lukasz_pulawski

    One of his finest!

    9 Aug 2014 Reply
  • fool2010

    i. l. t. s.!!!

    22 Jul 2014 Reply
  • CidaDuarteF

    ✶*❤ ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸✿¸¸.•*¨*•♫ღ✿ღ ♫•*¨*•.¸¸ ღ✿ღ¸¸♫•*¨*•¸❤`✶* `✶*❤ ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸✿¸¸.•*¨*•♫ღ✿ღ ♫•*¨*•.¸¸ ღ✿ღ¸¸♫•*¨*•¸❤`✶* `✶*❤ ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸✿¸¸.•*¨*•♫ღ✿ღ❤`✶* ✶*❤ ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸✿

    14 Jun 2014 Reply
  • honkynut

    @katrand : and today they'd be waving their smart phones and taking bloody stupid videos that noonever watches instead XD

    1 Mar 2014 Reply
  • wb7777

    Nelson Mandela said of Biko: "They had to kill him to prolong the life of apartheid."

    16 Jan 2014 Reply
  • kiteo

    No matter what the establishment tries to tell you now anti-apartheid was a very unpopular cause at the time as it disrupted their money-making and racism.

    3 Jan 2014 Reply
  • katrand

    Saw Peter Gabriel live about 17 years ago...when he played this song, the entire audience sang along, waiving their lighters...and continued to do so for 3-4 minutes after Peter and his entire band had left the stage, one by one. A moment I will always remember.

    30 Sep 2013 Reply
  • FRAMERMCB

    LOVE IT!

    2 May 2013 Reply
  • whitebicycle

    "what happens now is up to you."

    15 Apr 2013 Reply
  • roadhse

    Saw Peter Gabriel Perform this song in front of an awed crowd in Boston Garden last Fall. Yep he still has IT

    28 Dec 2012 Reply
  • lululusanji

    So awesome! This song is mind blowing!

    7 Dec 2012 Reply
  • adam_wrong

    v congratulations on doing it wrong

    26 Oct 2012 Reply
  • BerrutoU

    Awesome.

    13 May 2011 Reply
  • Ulubione88

    mistrzostwo świata ;)

    12 Mar 2011 Reply
  • toto47

    @kiki Wahre Worte!

    17 Feb 2011 Reply
  • kikikirsche

    You can blow out a candle but you can never blow out a fire

    12 Feb 2011 Reply
  • tbone214

    very moving song.

    8 Feb 2011 Reply
  • NightRangerRyan

    Shock the Monkey yummmy,Best Gabriel out there, Okey whom em I kiddin Its All greeeeaaattt Peter.

    7 Dec 2010 Reply
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