"Joni, I think, I've been in love with not just because of the writing, but also [because] she was an experimenter," he said. "She was pushing the musical boundaries both in the way she wrote harmonies and then exploring arrangements. Great artist."
Gabriel is drawn to great melodies and great songwriting, and cited Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits and Paul Simon on the top of the list of his favorite songwriters.
"Paul Simon, he's written so many great songs. 'Boy in the Bubble' was one [of them]," he said. "Like many people, I loved the 'Graceland' record. And you get carried away with the infectious grooves and you don't always listen that much to the words. And that's one of the most extraordinary lyrics written on a rock song, I think. It's stunning."
"Randy Newman is another person I think is a master songwriter and does beautiful arrangements," Gabriel said. "And I think some of the things he does for films seem deceptively simple, but they are really the work of a master.
"I think ["I Think It's Gonna Rain Today"] is one of his best songs. It's not necessarily a very positive message, but it's beautifully constructed, elegant songwriting with a lot of heart."
This year, Gabriel and his former bandmates from Genesis will be inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.