Making his solo debut with an eponymous 1977 album, Peter Gabriel notched his first solo hit with the lilting "Solsbury Hill," a metaphorical ode to the freedom and excitement he felt upon leaving the acclaimed art rock band Genesis. Gabriel had arrived at the decision after witnessing a Bruce Springsteen concert, and in the song's first verse describes the Boss as an "eagle [who] flew out of the night," "standing, stretching every nerve" when he performed. According to the song, the experience left Gabriel feeling that his life was in a rut, that he was just "part of the scenery"; before the feeling of epiphany evaporated, before the "open doors would soon be shut," he had to decide "which connection I should cut," which path to take from the crossroads he felt his life to be at. The solo route is likened to someone having come to take him home, a curious comparison for a decision made to bring him new challenges and jolt him out of the familiar. Musically, "Solsbury Hill" approximates that home-like feeling of warm comfort. It isn't as melodically or harmonically experimental as much of Gabriel's early work, instead based around bright, major-key figures played on folky acoustic guitars. The simple guitar riff that backs the verses simply descends the major scale, and it's doubled on flute and synthesizer, which provides the basic arrangement for most of the song. There's a subtle worldbeat influence as well, with quietly burbling percussion that draws from the pitch-shifting capabilities of West African talking drums. It isn't wildly complex, but it's all beautifully and elegantly interwoven, right up to the electric guitar power chords suddenly introduced on the final chorus. "Solsbury Hill" is one of the most personal items in Gabriel's catalog, and it's also a moving statement of purpose about having the courage to risk starting a new life.