Steve Hackett

Steve Hackett

Infobox musical artist
Name = Steve Hackett

Img_capt =
Img_size = 250
Landscape = Yes
Background = non_vocal_instrumentalist
Born = Birth date and age|1950|2|12|df=y
Pimlico, England
Died =
Alias =
Genre = Progressive rock, classical music, pop rock, hard rock
Occupation = Musician, Songwriter, Producer
Instrument = Guitar, Harmonica
Associated_acts = Quiet World, Genesis, GTR
Label = Charisma, Camino
Years_active = 1970 – present
URL = []
Notable_instruments = Gibson Les Paul
Fernandes Sustainer

Stephen Richard Hackett (born 12 February 1950) is a British songwriter and guitarist. He gained prominence as a member of the British progressive rock group Genesis, which he joined in 1970. Hackett remained with the band for eight albums before leaving in 1977 to pursue a solo career.

In 1986, Hackett co-founded the supergroup GTR with another progressive guitarist, Steve Howe of Yes and Asia. The group released a self-titled album that year, which peaked at #11 on the Billboard 200 in the United States and spawned the Top 20 single "When the Heart Rules the Mind". When Hackett left GTR in 1987, the group disbanded.

After leaving GTR, Hackett resumed his solo career and has released albums and toured on a regular basis since. His body of work has encompassed many styles, such as progressive rock, world music, and classical. His playing has influenced guitarists such as Alex Lifesoncite web |url= |title= 1984 Alex Lifeson interview |accessdate=2006-11-20 |year=1984 |format= |work= |publisher="Guitar Magazine"] and Brian May.cite web |url= |title=Interview with Steve Hackett |accessdate=2006-11-20 |year=2001 |month=January |format= |work= |]


Hackett was born in Pimlico, London and attended the Sloane Grammar School, Chelsea.

He grew up having access to various musical instruments, such as the recorder and mouth organ, but did not develop an interest in the guitar until the age of twelve, when he started playing single notes. By fourteen, he was learning chords and experimenting with chord progressions, although he never received any formal instruction. Hackett's earliest musical influences were classical (Johann Sebastian Bach) and opera (Mario Lanza). He has stated that his compositions are still influenced by them.cite web |url= |title="Steve Hackett, ex Genesis & international rock star and legendary guitarist talks exclusively to tMP." |accessdate=2006-11-20] Hackett also has cited numerous British blues artists as influences, namely Danny Kirwan, Peter Green, and various guitarists in John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers.cite web |url= |title="Interview with the legendary Steve Hackett" |accessdate=2006-11-20 |last=Hash |first=Tommy |year=2005 |publisher=Alt.Culture.Guide]

Early career

Steve Hackett's earliest professional playing experience came with two bands — Canterbury Glass and Sarabande — both of whom performed rock with progressive elements. His first recording work came in 1970, as a member of Quiet World, a band that included younger brother John Hackett on flute. The group released one album, "The Road", but Hackett departed the group soon after.

Hackett, seeking a new band, placed an ad in "Melody Maker". The ad, in which Hackett stated he was seeking musicians "determined to strive beyond existing stagnant music forms," was spotted by Genesis vocalist Peter Gabriel, who contacted Hackett. The band had recently lost founding member Anthony Phillips, and was performing with a temporary guitarist, Mick Barnard. After seeing Genesis perform, Hackett auditioned for the group and joined in December 1970.


Hackett, who had very little on-stage playing experience when he joined Genesis, had some initial difficulty performing with the group. According to Phil Collins, at Hackett's first gig with the group, Collins had decided to see how many bottles of Newcastle Brown Ale he could drink and still play the drums. ["Genesis - A History" documentary (1990)] But he soon settled into his role, and his unique stage image (wearing glasses and seated in a hunched position over his guitar) served as a counter to the costumed theatrics of Gabriel. (Robert Fripp also likes to sit on stage and has been seen wearing glasses, but he favors a high back-less stool.)

Hackett's first recording with Genesis was "Nursery Cryme", released in November 1971. Hackett made an immediate impact on the group's sound, as evidenced by his work on such songs as "The Musical Box" and "The Return of the Giant Hogweed", becoming one of the first guitarists to experiment with the tapping technique normally attributed to Eddie Van Halen. (The continuo part in the song sounds like a synthesizer due to distortion and due to his legato tapping technique as well as Tony Banks's simultaneous Hohner Pianet continuo).Although "Nursery Cryme" was not a commercial success, 1972's album "Foxtrot" was. (However, it only charted in the UK, reaching number 12) Included on "Foxtrot" was the brief classical acoustic solo "Horizons," which quickly became one of his signature pieces.

"Foxtrot" began a trend of increasing commercial popularity for Genesis. The group's 1973 effort, "Selling England by the Pound", was particularly successful, reaching number 70 in the US the year after its release, and reaching number 3 in the UK (marking the bands' peak with Peter Gabriel there). Hackett showed continued and perfected use of the tapping technique as well as sweep picking popularised in the 1980s by Yngwie Malmsteen. Both these techniques can be heard on the solo to the opening track "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight". The third track on the album, "Firth of Fifth" contains one of Hackett's most celebrated, as well as one of progressive rock's most iconic, tearing guitar solos. The track has been a favourite at Genesis' live shows, even after Hackett's departure.

In 1975, Hackett became the first member of Genesis to release a solo album when he issued "Voyage of the Acolyte". Assisting with the recording were Hackett's Genesis bandmates, Phil Collins and Mike Rutherford. Hackett enjoyed the freedom he had when writing and recording the album, and soon became disenchanted with the democratic approach to songwriting Genesis employed.

Hackett's frustration increased as Genesis prepared to release 1977's "Wind & Wuthering"." [ Steve Hackett Interview] "] Hackett was insistent that more of his material be included on the album, but was rebuffed." [ Wind & Wuthering 1977 - Genesis Remember] "] "Blood on the Rooftops," which Hackett wrote with Collins, made the album but was never played live, and his composition "Please Don't Touch" was rejected completely. Another song, "Inside and Out," was relegated to the "Spot the Pigeon" EP. Hackett remained with Genesis through the conclusion of the "Wind & Wuthering" tour, but announced his departure on 8 October 1977, one week before the release of the group's second live album, "Seconds Out".


Since Hackett's departure, the early '70s lineup of Genesis has reunited on a handful of occasions. On 2 October 1982, the group gathered for a one-off performance entitled "Six of the Best". The show was held to raise money for Peter Gabriel's WOMAD festival. This was the first and last time this lineup had performed since 1975.

In 1998, the group gathered for a photo session and dinner to celebrate the release of the box set, "Genesis Archive 1967-75". Hackett also participated in the re-recording of 1974's "The Carpet Crawlers" for inclusion on the 1999 Genesis greatest hits album, "". The rest of the group recorded new parts as well, although they were not recorded together in the same studio.

In an April 2006 radio interview, Phil Collins discussed a band meeting that took place in November 2005. During that meeting, the group discussed the possibility of reuniting the classic mid-'70s roster for a limited run of shows, including a complete performance of the group's 1974 double album, "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway". [ "Phil Collins Sheds Light on Possible Genesis Reunion and 2005 Band Meeting"] . 2006. 18 April 2006] However, on 18 October 2006 it was announced that the post-Hackett lineup of Rutherford, Banks, and Collins were instead reforming.cite web |url= |title="Rockers Genesis plan reunion tour" |accessdate=2006-11-20 |date=18 October 2006 |publisher=BBC News]

olo career

Hackett's first post-Genesis album was "Please Don't Touch", released in 1978. As with "Voyage of the Acolyte", much of the material on the album was in the style of progressive rock. It did contain, however, much more vocal work. Hackett, who had never sung lead on a Genesis song, turned over most of the vocals to a number of singers, including folk singer Richie Havens, R&B singer Randy Crawford, and Steve Walsh of Kansas. He did provide lead vocals for "Carry on Up the Vicarage," but they were processed using a "laughing gnome" vocal effect. [ "Please Don't Touch" album review] . Retrieved 1 October 2006.] The album peaked at #38 on the UK charts and #103 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart in the United States.

A pair of progressive rock albums followed—1979's "Spectral Mornings" and 1980's "Defector". They were both Top 40 albums in the UK, while they charted #138 and #144 in the United States, respectively. Hackett toured Europe for the first time as a solo act in 1979, and in August performed at the Reading Festival. The "Defector" tour brought him to the United States for the first time since his last tour with Genesis.

Hackett's first major shift in musical style came with 1981's "Cured". Although the album contained some of the progressive and classical pieces for which Hackett was known, it also showcased a much more pop approach. The album was recorded without most of the musicians who had been on Hackett's solo albums since "Spectral Mornings" (Hackett handled all lead vocal duties). Only longtime collaborators Nick Magnus and John Hackett remained. While "Cured" did not chart highly in the U.S., it peaked at #15 in the UK, Hackett's highest charting yet.

In the 1980s, Hackett released his first classical guitar albums "Bay of Kings" and "Momentum", which further enhanced his reputation. The tour for "Momentum" drew large crowds in Europe, considered unusual for a classical guitarist.

On the rock production side, Hackett's work in the 1980s involve the LPs "Cured" (1981), "Highly Strung" (1982) and "Till We Have Faces "(1984). In "Highly Strung", more than a nuance of electronic sound appears, making the album unique and unrepeated in Hackett's production, and surely one of the most difficult to approach. "Till We Have Faces" merges Hackett style sounds with Brazilian percussion.

In 1986, Hackett formed the supergroup GTR with then-former Yes and Asia guitarist Steve Howe, and produced by Yes/Asia keyboardist Geoff Downes. The group released a gold-selling album. Hackett later left over financial and management squabbles. As well as Howe and Downes, Hackett has also worked with Yes drummer Bill Bruford in Genesis, Yes bassist Chris Squire ("Chris Squire's Swiss Choir", 2007) and briefly Yes vocalist Trevor Horn (who produced the 1999 reunion version of "The Carpet Crawlers"). Hackett's long-time keyboadist, Julian Colbeck, played live with Yes spin-off Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe.

Hackett's solo career continued, releasing a plethora of both electric and acoustic based albums throughout the 90s to the present day. One of his most memorable recordings was the neo-classical influenced "A Midsummer Night's Dream", which showcases his guitar skills, accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Steve's younger brother John was involved as flute player and second guitarist in his 1970s bands, and has often appeared as musician and collaborator on his more recent work, particularly on "Sketches of Satie" (2000), arranged for flute and guitar.

Hackett is married to Brazilian painter and jewellery artist Kim Poor, who paints most of his album covers. Her artwork for "Voyage of the Acolyte" won [ Album Cover of the Year 1976] .




* Eder, Bruce. [ "Steve Hackett Biography"] . All Music Guide. 2006.
* Hewitt, Alan. [ "A Brief History"] . Date unknown.

External links

* [ Steve Hackett Official Home]
* [ Camino Records]
*amg|id=11:t690s34ba3mg|label=Steve Hackett
*imdb|id=1047925|name=Steve Hackett

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