"Don't Give Up" is a song written by English rock musician Peter Gabriel and recorded as a duet with Kate Bush for Gabriel's sixth 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.
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. 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.
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.") The second video, by Jim Blashfield, featured Gabriel and Bush's faces superimposed over film of a town and its people in disrepair.
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" was recorded by American recording artist Alicia Keys and Irish musician Bono. Retitled "Don't Give Up (Africa)", the song was produced by Keys and Steve Lillywhite. On 6 December 2005 the song was released as a single exclusively on iTunes and a ringtone version was released by Cingular Wireless. The proceeds of the release went to the charity Keep a Child Alive, for which Keys is a spokesperson.
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". Keys and Bono performed the song live at Keys' charity event the Black Ball, which raises money for the organization Keep A Child Alive. The pair performed the song also on The Oprah Winfrey Show in October 2006.
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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
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. 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
|Australian ARIA Singles Chart
|ARIA Australasian Singles Chart
|Australian Airplay Chart
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.
- "Don't Give Up"
- "Don't Give Up" (Instrumental)
Other artists who have covered this songEdit
- 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.
- Senegalese singer/guitarist Jimi Mbaye covered the song on his 2005 album "Yaye Digalma"
- Tara MacLean covered the song on the Songs For Sunset album in 2006.
- The songwriter/guitarist Shark from Wild Colonials and Dead Rock West singer Cindy Wasserman released the song in 2008. The proceeds of the record going 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.
- The Feeling released a version of the song on the 2nd disc of the Deluxe version of their album Join With Us in 2008.
- In November 2008, Tina Arena and former Tea Party frontman Jeff Martin performed a live cover of "Don't Give Up" during an episode of Australian quiz show RocKwiz.
- 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." 
- P!nk and John Legend cover the song for Herbie Hancock’s The Imagine Project.
- Dutch singer Chielie(.nl) (uncredited) sang the Gabriel part on a cover of the song (Bush part sung by also uncredited unknown female singer - Chielie and she never met for the recording but did their work separately) produced at Flowerhouse Studios of Haarlem, Holland, on a CD called 'Duet for lovers' (90.807-2 UK), released 1994 by PMF Records.
- Tarja Turunen covered the song, alongside Liv Kristine (Leaves' Eyes) on the European leg of her, What Lies Beneath Tour.
- A version featuring Nicolai Dunger and Norwegian vocalist Silje Nergaard was included on "Reconnection", an album by Swedish guitarist/bassist Georg Wadenius, which was released in 2010.
- David Archuleta covered the song (with Libbie Linton) on his 2012 album Begin.
- Dr. Ring-Ding released a Rocksteady version of the song on his 2012 album Dr. Ring Ding Ska-Vaganza - Piping Hot, duetting with Skatalites singer Doreen Shaffer.
- Ann Wilson of Heart performs both parts of Don't Give Up live on 2017 Ann Wilson of Heart tour