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"Sledgehammer" is a 1986 British soul single by rock singer Peter Gabriel which is the lead single of his 1986 studio album So. it is known for its award-winning music video by Aardman Animations, which is one of the most award-winning music videos of all time.

Music video[]

a music video for the song was animated by Aardman Animations using a combination of multiple forms of stop-motion including claymation and pixelation. the video shows Gabriel performing the song in the middle of a claymated background, as objects like trains, planes, sledgehammers and fruit all magically float and blend around him to the lyrics of the song whilst he is moving in a pixilated motion. he eventually becomes claymated himself and blends around with the background in a surreal way. a sledgehammer then appears and bangs onto a stage, sprouting a small chicken egg which chicken-dances to the shakuhachi-styled solo of the song. the egg then hatches and clones itself, revealing two headless featherless chickens who dance to the solo. this scene was animated by Nick Park (who had just started working for Aardman while working on A Grand Day Out and Creature Comforts at the time) it then cuts back to Peter Gabriel who is now live-action again and appears to be dancing it a room with multiple backup choir-singers and many moving objects around the room (including walking chairs and a singing television) before Gabriel falls asleep and nods off into the the song's fading outro. at the end, a lit-up figure in a dark background (presumably Gabriel at nighttime) gets up and continues dancing.


Hey, hey, you there

Tell me how have you been?

You could have a steam train

If you'd just lay down your tracks

You could have an aeroplane flying

If you bring your blue sky back

All you do is call me

I'll be anything you need

You could have a big dipper

Going up and down, all around the bends

You could have a bumper car, bumping

This amusement never ends

I wanna be your sledgehammer

Why don't you call my name?

Ah oh, let me be your sledgehammer

This will be my testimony

Yeah (yeah)

Show me 'round your fruit cage

'Cause I will be your honey bee

Open up your fruit cage

Where the fruit can be sweet as can be

I wanna be your sledgehammer

Why don't you call my name?

Ah, you'd better call the sledgehammer

Put your mind at rest

I'm gonna be the sledgehammer

This can be my testimony

Ah, I'm your sledgehammer

Let there be no doubt about it

I get it right, I kicked the habit (kicked the habit, kicked the habit)

Shed my skin (shed my skin)

This is the new stuff (this is the new stuff)

I go dancing in (we go dancing in)

Oh, won't you show for me? (Show for me)

I will show for you (show for you)

Please, show for me (show for me)

Huh, I will show for you

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, I do mean you (show for me)

Only you, you've been coming through (show for you)

I'm gonna build that power, build, build up that power, hey (show for me)

I've been feeding the rhythm, huh

I've been feeding the rhythm (show for you)

Gonna feel that power hey, build in you (show for me)

Ah, come on, come on, help me do

Come on, come on, help me do (show for you)

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, you (show for me)

I've been feeding the rhythm

I've been feeding the rhythm (show for you)

It's what we're doing, doing

All day and night (show for me)

Come on, come on, help me do

Come on, come on, help me do (show for you)

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, you (show for me)


  • MTV Music Video Award For Best Video of the Year
  • Brit Award for British Video of the Year
  • MTV Video Music Award For Best Direction
  • MTV Awards For Best Male Video
  • MTV Video Music Awards For Best Editing


  • The original version of "Sledgehammer" faded out into silence, but this version in the music video fades into a whooshing electric beat which was not heard in the actual song (although extended mixes of the song on Gabriel 2019 album "Flotsam & Jetsam" did include the outro of the video).
  • During the animating of the pixilation scenes, Peter Gabriel lay for 16 hours under a sheet of glass. he said: "I was thinking at the time, 'If anyone wants to try and copy this video, good luck to them.'"
  • The claymated solo scene which shows two headless chickens dancing onstage to the shakuhachi-styled solo was animated by Nick Park (the creator of Wallace & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep, etc) who at the time was working at Aardman so they in return could help him finish A Grand Day Out (1989).