Two years later, the gold-selling Security pushed Gabriel even further along the road, partly fueled by the single "Shock the Monkey" and its shocking video. Around the same time, Gabriel used a Genesis reunion to raise money to kick off his annual WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) Festival along with its double live album.
In 1984, Gabriel scored Alan Parker's Birdy in 1984 and won high praise for his efforts. The next year, he set up his Real World, Inc. and finished up work on So, which saw daylight in '86 and made it up to the second seat on the Billboard 200.
And then came the hits. The number one "Sledgehammer," the Top 10 "Big Time," and the Top 30 “In Your Eyes.” Tack on the first-ever Amnesty International Tour alongside Sting and U2, and Gabriel had quite a year in 1986.
Venturing back into his film score work, Gabriel offered the Grammy-winning Passion: Music for The Last Temptation of Christ in 1988 and embarked upon another Amnesty International Tour. That set was followed in 1990 by the Shaking the Tree compilation which gave him some breathing room to work on more original songs.
With his personal life in full discombobulation, Gabriel cranked out Us in 1992. The darker tone and delay between releases both contributed to the lackluster success enjoyed by Us. Sure, it sold over a million copies and yielded the Top 40 “Steam,” but that was about it. Not even a 1993 WOMAD tour with Crowded House and Sinéad O'Connor could kick it into overdrive.
Another double live package, Secret World Live, resulted in 1994 with the multimedia CD-ROM Xplora following on. Gabriel devoted the rest of the 90s to various Real World projects while also working toward another album of his own.
That effort finally came in 2002 with Up. Even more dense that Us, the set failed to find an audience in the U.S., so Gabriel went back to the collaborative drawing board by issuing Big Blue Ball culled from various Real World sessions recorded during the 1990s.
It wouldn't be until 2010 that Scratch My Back would drop. On it, Gabriel covered pop songs by the likes of David Bowie, Arcade Fire, and others, and drenched them in orchestral arrangements. He followed it up in short order with 2011's New Blood which took the same formula and applied it to songs of his own.