Harry Styles – “Sledgehammer” (Peter Gabriel Cover)

Yesterday, Harry Styles was a guest on Howard Stern’s SiriusXM’s radio show. That’s usually the place where celebrities go to fuck up and tell too much about their personal relationships. Styles showed off his top-shelf media training, staying vague and evasive about his own romantic situations and only getting personal when it made sense to do so — as when he told the story about being robbed at knifepoint in London last month. Styles also continued to endear himself to classic-rock heads by covering one of their songs: “Sledgehammer,” the 1986 banger from the former Genesis singer Peter Gabriel.

“Sledgehammer” was Gabriel’s big pop moment: A sex-themed #1 single with a bugged-out video that was all over MTV in the network’s early days. Styles recorded his new album Fine Line at Gabriel’s Real World studios, and on Stern, he said that “Sledgehammer” was one of the “best mixed” songs of all time. His version of the song, recorded live in the Stern studios, is fully faithful to the original, right down to that flute-noise opening. But it somehow sounds a whole lot more vulnerable coming from him.

Below, check out Styles’ version of “Sledgehammer” as well as the video for the original, and read Styles’ perspective on getting mugged.

Here, via E! News, is what Styles had to say about getting robbed:

It was on Valentine’s Day. That’s what you get for being single these days, I guess. I should have had other plans. I was home, I’m about five minutes from home. I’m walking up and I see this group of guys and they’ve all got like hoods up and their faces covered…I turn my music off… I’m walking up the street, and I keep kind of turning around and the guys crossed the road. And I’m like, “That’s weird.” I hear shuffling of feet trying to catch up to me, so I crossed the street and then they crossed the street, and I’m like, “Oh fuck sake.” Then I crossed the street again and they crossed the street again and then they crossed the street again. And I’m like, “Oh for fuck sake, I think I’m about to get robbed.”

So they guy’s like, “Hey, can we talk to you for a minute?” And there’s nobody around, so I’m like, “Sure.” And he’s like, “Do you smoke weed?” And I said, “No.” And he goes, “Do you want some weed?” And I thought, “No.” And then he was like, “What have you got on you?”

Styles says that he gave the guys his cash, but then they noticed his headphone jack and demanded his phone. He continues, via Buzzfeed:

I pull out my phone and I’m thinking, “OK, this is really annoying, but I’ll wipe it and get a new phone.” And then the guy’s like, “Unlock your phone,” and the other one pulls his shirt up and he’s got a knife sticking in his pants… I just said, “I’m sorry mate, I can’t. I can’t unlock my phone.” And the guy’s like, “You got 10 seconds,” and he starts counting them down and I’m like, “Fuck, am I going to unlock my phone?”…

Two cars were coming and I felt an opportunity to sprint and run. I ran into the road and I tried to stop a car. They don’t let me in. Tried another, they don’t let me in. I just turned and ran back toward the village area where I live. I guess because they had some cash and stuff they ended up just turning around.