Song written by Peter Gabriel. Originally released on his fifth studio album 'So' in 1986. Also released as a single from the album in October 1986. Gabriel originally wrote the song from a reference point of American roots music and he approached entertainer Dolly Parton to sing the song with him. However, Parton turned him down, so his friend Kate Bush took her place. She recorded her vocals in February 1986 at Peter Gabriel's home studio in Ashcombe House. Peter had already recorded his vocals, so she followed his lead. After this recording, she felt she had "messed it up" and so she returned later to sing it again.
'Don't Give Up' was released as a 7" single with 'In Your Eyes (special mix)' on the B-side. The 12" single featured the full length version of 'Don't Give Up' plus 'In Your Eyes (special mix)' and 'This is the picture'. In the USA, the B-side consisted of the edit of 'Don't Give Up' and 'Curtains'.
There are two versions of the Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush duet 'Don't Give Up': an edit for the single and the full length album version. However, Peter Gabriel released a live version of the track, sung with Paula Cole in 1993, then an all-orchestral version with Ane Brun on his 2011 album 'New Blood'.
Two videos were created for the song. The first, directed by Godley & Creme, consisted of a single take of the singers in an embrace, as the sun enters total eclipse and re-emerges; the second, by Jim Blashfield, featured Gabriel and Bush's faces superimposed over film of a town and its people in disrepair.
Peter Gabriel has performed 'Don't Give Up' live various times, amongst others during his Secret World live tour in 1993. Kate Bush performed the song with him just once, when she was a surprise guest on Peter Gabriel's concert on 28 June 1987 at Earl's Court, London.
'Don't Give Up' was covered by David Archuleta & Libbie Linton, Tina Arena & Jeff Martin, Máire Brennan & Michael McDonald, Chielie, Dr. Ringding, Nicolai Dunger & Silje Nergaard, The Feeling, Alicia Keys & Bono, Tara MacLean, Jimi Mbaye, Xavier Naidoo, Willie Nelson & Sinéad O'Connor, Shannon Noll & Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Pink & John Legend, Show of Hands, Tarja Turunen, Take 6, Jody Watley and The Shadows.
Drums, percussion: Manu Katche
Bass: Tony Levin
Guitars: David Rhodes
Piano: Richard Tee
Vocals, CMI, Prophet, Linn, piano: Peter Gabriel
Chorus CS-80: Simon Clark
Vocals: Kate Bush
- Don't Give Up (Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush song). Wikipedia, retrieved 6 November 2014.
- Peter Gabriel: 'Kate Bush replaced Dolly Parton on 'Don't Give Up''. NME.com, retrieved 6 November 2014.
- Graeme Thomson, Under The Ivy: The Life & Music Of Kate Bush, cop. 2012. ISBN 9781780381466.