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Music / Steve Hackett

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"IMAGINATIVE GUITARIST/writer seeks involvement with receptive musicians, determined to strive beyond stagnant music forms."
Hackett's ad in Melody Maker that led to his joining Genesis

Stephen Richard "Steve" Hackett (born 12 February 1950) is one of Progressive Rock's most influential guitarists, and is best known as the lead guitarist in the classic Genesis line-up of the early 1970s. He was hired on to replace guitarist Anthony Philips when Peter Gabriel saw the ad Hackett placed in Melody Maker, making his album debut with 1971's Nursery Cryme. He left Genesis after 1977's Wind & Wuthering due to Creative Differences with his bandmates, embarking on an impressively prolific solo career that allowed him to explore pop, blues, world music, and classical music, as well as prog rock. While he has not had the sort of commercial success that fellow Genesis alumni Gabriel or Phil Collins have had, he has a solid following around the world, and continues to write and perform new material as well as play the classic Genesis catalog on tour; of all of Genesis' members, Hackett's solo career is arguably the most active in terms of releases.

He would work briefly with Yes alum Steve Howe in the short lived supergroup GTR in 1986, and later teamed up with Chris Squire, also of Yes, in 2012, recording an album under the name Squackett note . He has also appeared as a guest performer for a wide range of fellow artists, such as John Wetton, Neal Morse, Steven Wilson, and Ayreon. His discography on That Other Wiki has the full list.

Despite his longtime association with Progressive Rock, Hackett was a major influence on the development of both Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. He was a pioneer of the two-handed tapping and sweep picking techniques later used by Eddie Van Halen, his guitar parts on songs like "The Musical Box" are cited as the first instances of the "galloping" riffs that would be commonplace among metal bands like Iron Maiden, and he also influenced Brian May, Alex Lifeson, and Steve Rothery, among others.

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as a member of Genesis, in 2010.

Studio Discography

  • Voyage of the Acolyte (1975) note 
  • Please Don't Touch (1978)
  • Spectral Mornings (1979)
  • Defector (1980)
  • Cured (1981)
  • Highly Strung (1983)
  • Bay of Kings (1983) note 
  • Till We Have Faces (1984)
  • Momentum (1988) note 
  • Guitar Noir (1993)
  • Blues With A Feeling (1994) note 
  • Watcher of the Skies: Genesis Revisited (1996) note 
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream (1997) note 
  • Darktown (1999)
  • Feedback 86 (2000) note 
  • To Watch The Storms (2003)
  • Metamorpheus (2005) note 
  • Wild Orchids (2006)
  • Tribute (2008) note 
  • Out of the Tunnel's Mouth (2009)
  • Beyond the Shrouded Horizon (2011)
  • Genesis Revisited II (2012) note 
  • Wolflight (2015)
  • The Night Siren (2017)
  • At the Edge of Light (2019)
  • Under a Mediterranean Sky (2021)note 
  • Surrender of Silence (2021)

Live albums

  • Time Lapse (1992)
  • There Are Many Sides To The Night (1995)
  • The Tokyo Tapes (1998)
  • Live Archives 70's, 80's, 90's (2001)
  • Live Archives 70's Newcastle (2001)
  • Somewhere in South America... (2002)
  • Hungarian Horizons (2003)
  • Live Archive NEARfest (2003)
  • Live Archive 03 (2004)
  • Live Archive 04 (2004)
  • Live Archive 05 (2005)
  • Live Archive 83 (2006)
  • Live Rails (2011)
  • Genesis Revisited: Live at Hammersmith (2013)
  • Genesis Revisited: Live at the Royal Albert Hall (2014)
  • The Total Experience Live in Liverpool (2016)
  • Wuthering Nights: Live in Birmingham (2018)
  • Genesis Revisited Band & Orchestra: Live at the Royal Festival Hall (2019)
  • Selling England By the Pound & Spectral Mornings: Live at Hammersmith (2020)

There Are Many Tropes To The Night...

  • Cover Version :
    • Hackett has always performed '70s era Genesis songs in concert, and the Genesis Revisited albums take this up to eleven with re-orchestrated versions of many of those songs, including a version of "Supper's Ready".
    • The Tokyo Tapes, with guest artists from other famous progressive groups, also covered songs from King Crimson, Asia, and John Wetton (one of the guests).
  • Darker and Edgier: Darktown, and to a certain extent Out of The Tunnel's Mouth.
  • Divorce Assets Conflict: Hackett's album output and touring shot into overdrive after his high-profile split from artist Kim Poor in 2007; the split reportedly cost him an eight-figure sum and nearly resulted in him having to auction off his treasured '57 Les Paul.
  • The '80s: Hackett's only U.S. top 10 hit came as a member of GTR in 1986; "When The Heart Rules The Mind" hit #3, and in one week that year, it was joined by songs by Genesis, Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, and Mike + The Mechanics (Mike Rutherford's outside project), the first and only time that many songs from a band and its current or former members were hits at the same time.
  • Epic Rocking: A master of the craft. Once you hit the Hackett guitar solo, strap in for the ride.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin :
    • The Genesis Revisited albums, which revisited his work with Genesis (though both albums also include some Hackett originals).
    • Blues With A Feeling, his sole blues album.
  • Heavy Mithril: Voyage of the Acolyte, Please Don't Touch!. Some of his other albums delve into this occasionally, as well.
  • Instrumentals: Frequently. His acoustic guitar work is almost all instrumental, and there's always one or two on his other albums. The title track to Please Don't Touch was almost included on Genesis's Wind & Wuthering, before being replaced by a different instrumental, "Wot Gorilla?", written by Collins and Banks.
  • Long-Runners: Hackett has been active, with Genesis or as a solo act, since 1971. note 
  • New Sound Album: For many fans, Cured was a move away from prog rock to something more pop; his acoustic work was also a jarring change for those only familiar with his Epic Rocking prog work. Blues With A Feeling could fit here as well.
  • Older Than They Look: Hackett doesn't seem to have aged a day since he left Genesis.
  • Progressive Rock: One of the genre's grand masters. Unlike his former band's members (Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, and Mike Rutherford), who shifted towards more a pop-based sound, Hackett stuck to the prog genre, only occasionally delving into pop.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Hackett's early solo albums featured guest vocalists note , but he eventually started handling lead vocals himself as he became more confident of his singing; he uses a very John Wetton-esque baritone. He still uses mainly guest vocalists for the Genesis Revisited albums and tours, however.
    • On the "Genesis Revisited II" tour Nad Sylvan was the main vocalist, but drummer Gary O'Toole sang "Fly on the Windshield"/"Broadway Melod of 1974" and "Blood on the Rooftops," as he did on the album (and had been for several years before Sylvan joined the touring band).