Big Blue Ball is an album by multiple artists which "grew from 3 recording weeks" at Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios in the summers of 1991, 1992, and 1995. It is Peter Gabriel's fourteenth album project overall.
In production for more than 18 years, "Big Blue Ball" is a project featuring several artists from all around the world working together. According to Gabriel, the initial recording was finished in three years during the early '90s, but "the tapes were left in a mess and it's taken this long to sort out." Producer Stephen Hague was finally called in to sort out the project.
Guests on the album include Sinéad O'Connor, Karl Wallinger (of World Party), Natacha Atlas, and Papa Wemba. Gabriel takes the lead vocals on several tracks on the album. A mix of western, African, and Asian musicians are also included.
Big Blue Ball was launched in America in June, 24th, 2008. "After all these years, it's a fine wine ready to be drunk," says Peter Gabriel, "It was the most fun music making I've ever had." It was released thanks to a venture-capital trust initiative. Bosses at London-based firm Ingenious raised more than $4 million (£2 million) to help promote the release in the US. The venture capitalists, Gabriel, and his Real World Limited partners, created a new joint venture company, High Level Recordings Limited, to oversee the release of the album. The new album deal covers the North America territory, where Gabriel is currently out of contract. The worldwide distribution of the album will be dealt by Proper Music Distribution.
The first track released from the project was Whole Thing, included on the soundtrack album for the TV series Long Way Down. A version of Burn You Up, Burn You Down was also included on Gabriel's 2003 compilation album Hit with a radio edit released as a single.
There are two CD editions of the album with different covers; the music is the same on both.
A limited edition of 1000 copies of the album was released on blue vinyl, from Ryko Distribution.
The digital download versions of the album contain different bonus content depending on the country. UK download stores include the track "Whole Thing (Adrian Sherwood & Jazzwad Remix)". US download stores include the track "Habibe (Stefan Goodchild Remix)" and a digital booklet. Both versions include the "Story of the Big Blue Ball, Pt. 1" video.