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Don't Give Up (Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush song)

"Don't Give Up" is a song written by English musician Peter Gabriel and recorded as a duet with Kate Bush for Gabriel's fifth solo studio album So (1986). The single version was released as the second single from the album in the UK in 1986 and as the fifth single in the United States in 1987. It spent eleven weeks in the UK Top 75 chart in 1986, peaking at #9.

"Don't Give Up"
Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush - Don't Give Up.png
Single by Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush
from the album So
  • "In Your Eyes (Special Mix)" and "This Is the Picture" (UK)
  • "Curtains" (USA)
ReleasedOctober 1986
Format7" single, 12" single
Length6:32 (album version)
6:07 (12" single edit)
Songwriter(s)Peter Gabriel
Producer(s)Daniel Lanois, Peter Gabriel
Peter Gabriel singles chronology
"Don't Give Up"
"In Your Eyes"
Kate Bush singles chronology
"The Big Sky"
"Don't Give Up"
"Experiment IV"
Audio sample
Don't Give Up
Music video
Don't Give Up on YouTube



Gabriel drew inspiration from Dorothea Lange's images such as this, her most famous: "Migrant Mother".

The song was inspired by the Depression-era photographs of Dorothea Lange, showing poverty-stricken Americans in Dust Bowl conditions. Gabriel saw Lange's images in a 1973 book titled In This Proud Land. He felt that a song based on this was wholly appropriate to difficult economic conditions in England under Margaret Thatcher.[1] He composed lyrics within a situation about a man whose unemployment causes stress in his domestic relationship. The verses, sung by Gabriel, describe the man's feelings of isolation, loneliness and despair; the choruses, sung by Bush, offer words of hope and encouragement.

Gabriel originally wrote the song from a reference point of American roots music and he approached country singer Dolly Parton to sing it with him. However, Parton turned it down, so his friend Kate Bush took her place.[2]

Track listingEdit

Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush version All songs written by Peter Gabriel.

12" (UK)
1."Don't Give Up" 
2."In Your Eyes" (Special Mix) 
3."This Is the picture" 
12" (US)
1."Don't Give Up" (LP version) 
2."Don't Give Up" (edit) 
Limited edition 7" poster sleeve
1."Don't Give Up" 
2."In Your Eyes" (Special Mix) 



Two videos were created for the song. The first, by Godley & Creme, consisted of a single take of the singers, as they sing, in an embrace, while the sun behind them enters total eclipse and re-emerges. (Of the shoot, Gabriel remarked, "There are worse ways of earning a living."[3]) The second video, by Jim Blashfield, featured Gabriel and Bush's faces superimposed over film of a town and its people in disrepair.

Chart positionsEdit

Chart Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[4] 5
Belgian Top 30[5] 7
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[6] 9
Canadian Singles Chart 40
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[7] 5
France (SNEP)[8] 69
German Singles Chart 27
Irish Singles Chart 4
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[9] 16
Spain (Productores de Música de España)[10] 13
UK Singles Chart 9
US Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart 72

Other versionsEdit

Peter Gabriel and Paula Cole versionEdit

The song was included in Peter Gabriel's Secret World Live tour featuring singer Paula Cole. The DVD release of a performance in Italy in 1993 (released in 1994) included the duet.

Peter Gabriel and Ane Brun versionEdit

An all-orchestral recording featuring Ane Brun was released on Gabriel's New Blood album on 11 October 2011.

Alicia Keys and Bono versionEdit

"Don't Give Up (Africa)"
Single by Alicia Keys and Bono
Released6 December 2005 (2005-12-06)
FormatDigital download
Songwriter(s)Peter Gabriel
Alicia Keys singles chronology
"Don't Give Up (Africa)"
"Every Little Bit Hurts"

"Don't Give Up" was recorded by American recording artist Alicia Keys and Irish musician Bono.[11] Retitled "Don't Give Up (Africa)", the song was produced by Keys and Steve Lillywhite.[12][13] On 6 December 2005, the song was released as a single exclusively on iTunes and a ringtone version was released by Cingular Wireless.[12][14][15] The proceeds of the release went to the charity Keep a Child Alive, for which Keys is a spokesperson.[14] Keys commented that "I love this song. And I love Bono. I really respect what he has done for Africa and how he has used his fame to do good in the world. I hope I can do half as much in my life".[16] Keys and Bono performed the song live at Keys' charity event the Black Ball, which raises money for the organization Keep A Child Alive.[17] They performed the song also on The Oprah Winfrey Show in October 2006.[18]

The recording of the song took place at the Oven Studios on Long Island.[19] Keys spoke of the recording session at the studio with Bono and Steve Lillywhite:

"We were playing them the backing tracks and I don’t know if I started singing, or he did, but something started happening and we tracked it right here on the spot, that’s it, we’re done. There was a crowd in here, everybody came in from the other room because they could tell there was something going on in here”.[19]

Track listingEdit

Digital download[20]
1."Don't Give Up (Africa)"4:27


Chart (2005) Peak
US Billboard Pop 100[21] 79

Jann Klose and Annie Haslam versionEdit

Jann Klose and Renaissance vocalist and painter Annie Haslam released their version, produced by Rave Tesar in June 2017. The recording features Jann Klose on acoustic guitar and lead vocals, Annie Haslam on lead vocals, John Arbo on upright bass, Rob Mitzner on cajon and Rave Tesar on keys. Proceeds from the sale of the recording benefit Desmond Tutu's TutuDesk foundation.

Máire Brennan and Michael McDonald versionEdit

Máire Brennan included a version of this song as a bonus track on her 1999 album Whisper to the Wild Water. In this version Michael McDonald tells Máire not to give up.

Shannon Noll and Natalie Bassingthwaighte versionEdit

"Don't Give Up"
Single by Shannon Noll & Natalie Bassingthwaighte
from the album Home: Songs of Hope & Journey
Released9 December 2006
FormatCD single, download
LabelSony BMG
Songwriter(s)Peter Gabriel
Shannon Noll singles chronology
"Don't Give Up"
Natalie Bassingthwaighte singles chronology
"Don't Give Up"

A cover version was recorded by Australian artist Shannon Noll and former Rogue Traders frontwoman Natalie Bassingthwaighte. It was produced by Michael "fingaz" Mugisha who also produced hits for Jessica Mauboy, Big Brovaz and recorded for the compilation Home: Songs of Hope & Journey. It was released as a charity single for the depression organisation beyondblue. It was the most added song to Australian radio in its first week.[22] It made its debut at number seven on the Australian Singles Chart, and, in its second week, climbed to number two with a Platinum certification. The song was also performed live on the fifth season of Dancing with the Stars. The music video features Noll and Bassingthwaighte in the studio recording the single.

Noll and Bassingthwaighte
Chart (2006) Peak
Australian ARIA Singles Chart[23] 2
ARIA Australasian Singles Chart 1
Australian Airplay Chart 1

Willie Nelson and Sinéad O'Connor versionEdit

The song was included on Willie Nelson's Across the Borderline album, produced by Don Was, Paul Simon, and Roy Halee. Kate Bush's parts are sung by Sinéad O'Connor.

It was reported that funds raised by sales of the single were in excess of $300,000.

Track listing

  1. "Don't Give Up"
  2. "Don't Give Up" (Instrumental)

Other artists who have covered this songEdit

"Don't Give Up"
Single by Shark and Co. & Cindy Wasserman
Released4 November 2008
FormatCD single, download
GenreCountry, folk
LabelMagnetic Memories Recording Co.
Songwriter(s)Peter Gabriel
Producer(s)John Would and Shark
Shark and Co. singles chronology
"Don't Give Up"
"Don't Give Up EP"
  • The Shadows did an instrumental of the song on the album "Simply Shadows" in 1987.
  • Gregorian and Sarah Brightman covered this song, and it is found in Brightman's "The Harem Tour" Limited Edition and Gregorian's "Masters of Chant" albums.
  • Jody Watley recorded the song for her Midnight Lounge album in 2001.
  • Saga frontman Michael Sadler duetted on the song with Alannah Myles. It was released as a B-side to Saga's 2001 single "Money Talks".
  • Show of Hands included a cover of this song on their album Covers.
  • Xavier Naidoo covered the song on the Zwischenspiel – Alles für den Herrn album in 2002.
  • Take 6 recorded an A cappella version of the song on their album of covers Beautiful World in 2002.
  • The songwriter/guitarist Shark from Wild Colonials and Dead Rock West singer Cindy Wasserman released the song in 2008. The proceeds of the record went to the charities Farm Aid and the Red Cross, to help the farmers affected by the floods of 2008. The sleeve design is an homage to the original Peter Gabriel / Kate Bush sleeve with similar typography.
  • In May 2009, a version by The Midway State featuring Lady Gaga appeared online. According to Lady Gaga the cover was done so "that young people would hear and learn something about Kate Bush." [24]
  • Pink and John Legend cover the song for Herbie Hancock's The Imagine Project.
  • David Archuleta covered the song (with Libbie Linton) on his 2012 album Begin.
  • Ann Wilson of Heart performed both parts of "Don't Give Up" live on the 2017 Ann Wilson of Heart tour.

Usage in film and televisionEdit


  1. ^ White, Timothy (September 1986). "Gabriel". Spin. 2 (6): 63. ISSN 0886-3032.
  2. ^ "Kate Bush replaced Dolly Parton on 'Don't Give Up', Peter Gabriel says". Digital Spy. 19 September 2011. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  3. ^ Blake, Mark (December 2011). "Cash for questions: Peter Gabriel". Q. p. 43.
  4. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 50. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  5. ^ "De Radio 2 Top 30". Radio 2.
  6. ^ " – Peter Gabriel / Kate Bush – Don't Give Up" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  7. ^ " – Peter Gabriel / Kate Bush – Don't Give Up" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  8. ^ " – Peter Gabriel / Kate Bush – Don't Give Up" (in French). Les classement single.
  9. ^ " – Peter Gabriel / Kate Bush – Don't Give Up". Top 40 Singles.
  10. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  11. ^ "Bono, Keys Will Duet for Charity". Los Angeles Times. 2 December 2005. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
  12. ^ a b
  13. ^ West, Dave (4 December 2005). "Bono and Keys Record Song for Africa Charity". Digital Spy. Hearst Communications. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
  14. ^ a b "Keys, Bono Team For Charity Song". Billboard. Eldridge Industries. 30 November 2005. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
  15. ^ "Multimedia News Release -- This Holiday Season, Get a Cingular Ringtone, Give Life". PR Newswire. 1 December 2005. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
  16. ^ "Alicia Keys, Bono to Raise Funds with AIDS Song". Today. 2 December 2005. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
  17. ^ "Bono and Keys Duet on Africa Song". BBC News. 4 December 2005. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
  18. ^ Serjeant, Jill (14 October 2006). "Bono Launches US Red Campaign for Aids in Africa". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  19. ^ a b Keith, John Dylan (30 April 2006). "The Studio Diary of Alicia Keys". Electronic Musician. Future. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
  20. ^ "Don't Give Up (Africa) (Single Song)". U2 Retrieved 16 December 2014.
  21. ^ "Alicia Keys - Awards - AllMusic". AllMusic.
  22. ^ SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT -- Australia -- CD Releases Archived 30 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ "Australian chart position". australian-charts. Retrieved 12 December 2006.
  24. ^ Inc., Slacker,. "Slacker Radio Featured". Slacker Radio. Archived from the original on 22 February 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2009.

External linksEdit