Steve Hackett was born on February 12, 1950, in London, England. Though best know for his ghostly guitar sounds in Genesis' `golden age' period (1972-1977, he has carved out an admirable solo career.
Hackett's entrance into success began after short stays with small bands such as: Canterbury Glass, Sarabande and Quiet World, he placed an advertisement in Melody Maker,- "Guitarist/Writer seeks receptive musicians determined to strive beyond existing stagnant music forms." Peter Gabriel responded after Anthony Phillips departed Genesis( mainly due to stage fright)
After watching Genesis in concert (with a `substitute guitarist), Hackett saw promise in what he experienced and joined the group.
Though Hackett had little experience playing live on stage, he began to showcase his haunting and even `unguitar-like' sounds that fused with Tony Banks keyboards, became Genesis' trademark. He also invented the famous `tapping on the fretboard' technique that many guitarist use.
Unlike most guitarists (with the exception of Robert Fripp), Steve armed with thick glasses and heavy facial hair, sat in a chair, in studied concentration as Gabriel became the centerpiece of the band with his costumes and theatrics.
`Selling England By the Pound,' was the first Genesis album that really began spotlighting his guitar-work and even his writing skills (`I know what I like'). But the double concept album `The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway,' was mostly an exclusively Gabriel effort. He had thoughts of leaving the band.
As Genesis was looking for a new lead singer, Hackett with ample material, utilized Rutherford and Collins to help him on his first solo album- `Voyage of the Acolyte,' was released and went silver and the cover art, by his future wife-Kim Poor garnished album cover of the year.
When Phil Collins took over the singing for Genesis, Hackett stayed for two more albums and an EP. `Trick of the Tail,' and `Wind and Wuthering,' were hugely successful and during the latter tour, Steve, ("the Vincent Price of the group" to quote Phil Collins), even got to introduce a song (`Firth of Fifth').
But Steve wasn't happy- "...I was getting tired of bringing ideas into the group which I felt they weren't going to do. If the ideas were more radical, they weren't necessarily going to do them. I felt that the band was heading towards an area that was becoming very safe." Hackett knew `his instrumental- `Please Don't Touch' was stronger than Collins'- `Wot Gorilla?' Bordering on superstardom, Steve walked away from the band, the breakup was rather bizarre, very little communication. Hackett was gone and along with Gabriel, so was Genesis' creativity. Genesis' `Seconds Out' live double album was Steve's goodbye to Genesis fans, recorded between 1976-77.
In contrast to `Voyage of the Acolyte,' Steve assembled talented session musicians and employed members from Kansas and several African-American performers (including the legendary Richie Havens), and produced a very tight soulful album. Desiring to tour, he hired Pete Hicks (vocals), John Shearer (drums), as well as brother John Hackett on (flute and keyboards) and performed. Other talented musicians such as John Acock, Dik Cadbury, Ian Mosley, and keyboard wizard Nick Magnus , etc, joined Hackett's band creating IMHO his two finest albums- `Spectral Mornings' and `Defector,' both had Kim Poor's beautiful artwork and Hackett's powerful guitar instrumental dominated tracks. Defector climbed to the top ten on the British charts. During the recording of the albun,- the songs: 'The Steppes' 'Sentimental Institution' (and B-side)- 'Hercules Unchained' were recorded all in one day!
Tired, Hackett regrouped; and started working on his singing and became guitar/vocalist for a more pop-oriented album `Cured,' complete with electronic drums and less sentimental material; he then toured Europe and America, garnishing rave reviews and solid attendance from Hackett/Genesis fans alike.
In 1982, at the Womad festival that united the `classic Genesis line-up (with Chester Thompson (drms) & Darryl Stuermer on guitar), Steve came back to perform the last two songs,' their masterpiece- `Supper's Ready' and `I Know what You Like,' in Milton Keynes. The show, boggled by bad weather and sound still delighted diehard Genesis fans hoping to catch a glimpse of the old magic.
1983 gave Hackett a successful European single in song "Cell 151" (#66 in the charts), off of the Highly Strung LP (which was a vast improvement from `Cured' album). The album was a hit.
After many years of electronic music, Steve dropped the technology to concentrate on acoustic guitar solo work. `Bay of Kings' and the marvelous `Momentum' were recorded to critical acclaim.
In 1986, Hackett hooked up with Yes guitarist Steve Howe to form GTR, a quasi-supergroup band (ala Asia) that thrived with the MTV and the rock press. The Arista labeled album went platinum and and generated a hit single- `When the Heart Rules the Mind.' As GTR was breaking up, Steve met and worked with Brian May (`Feedback `86' was recorded but not release until over a decade later).
After GTR, Hackett went back to work and released a live retrospective live album that spanned many years of music. With the harmonica sneaking into his stage performances, Hackett produced a pure blues album- `Blues With a Feeling,' in 1994. This album reflected some of Steve's boyhood days of playing blues.
1997 gave us-`A Midsummer Night's Dream,' based on Shakespeare's literature was another first for Hackett, working with a full Symphony Orchestra. The album was assembled over a seven-year period and spent several weeks on the UK classical charts and became one of the biggest hits of 1997 for EMI Classics.
1999's Darktown showcased a darker moodier Hackett feel, with solid foreboding instrumentals married with some very romanticallty historic pieces and though not a concept album in the classic sense, it seems Steve's most autobiographical.
Turning back to his progressive rock roots, Steve enlisted ex-King Crimson alumni Ian McDonald and John Wetton, Genesis' tour-drummer Chester Thompson and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra by performing Genesis' pieces, `Hackettized' of course. The band did a few quick gigs in Japan and a live album entitled `Genesis Revisited' that included old and new Hackett tunes, Genesis classical and songs King Crimson songs such as: `In the Court of the Crimson King. A video was shot and released. Though the concert is wonderful the import DVD's quality borders on amateurish. The NTSC domestic version is MUCH better with bonus rehersal footage.
The following year, Steve joined with his brother to record interpretations of Erik Satie's work, rightfully named `Sketches of Satie.' The album is simply flute and guitar and is a beautiful addition to the Hackett discography. He then composed the soundtrack to the Showtime film- `Outwitting Hitler.'
Whether working with Brian May, Steve Howe, Gandolf or doing things on his own, Steve has never been idle. Creating Camino Records, he now has a stable platform to rele
ase work and even sell Genesis and fellow musicians' albums especially throughout Europe, Japan and South America. After the release of `Darktown, and `Sketches of Satie,' Hackett toured South American tour, even dealing with having his equipment confiscated by a Brazilan police-scam.
In November, 2001, Steve released a 4-disc boxed set of live material. Discs one and two come from a June 30, 1979 performance at the Hammersmith Odeon. Performances are very high in quality. The third CD is from a September 13, 1981 show in Rome, Italy. The last CD conatins more recent material and is from London's Grand Theatre (June, 8, 1993), and has the best sound quality of all the shows.
The highlight of 2002 for Americans was Steve's mini-tour of the east coast, climaxing at Trenton's Nearfest 2002. Steve played a brilliant set of old and new tunes. Steve also showcased his arranging talents and willingness to invent new and creative medleys. See the review of the show in the review section of this site.
Steve has an electrical album and 2 DVD concerts pending- one an electronic gig from Buenos Aires (should be out this fall), and the other an acoustic show with his brother John.
Following the success of the rock-based `To Watch the Storms' and the classical `Metamorpheus,' Steve Hackett has decided to marry these two albums in order create a powerful synthesis. Wild Orchids is no where near as cohesive and homogeneous as its two successors, but makes up for his over-eclectism, and diversity.
After a difficult personal issue, Steve Hackett has produced another masterpiece classical album. `Tribute’ is a continuing expression of Steve’s fascination with the classical guitar and a homage to Andrés Segovia and other influences. The album represents his purest engagement with classical music to date.
In 2008 Steve has been touring Italy and Europe with his electric band to rave reviews.
2010's `Out of the Tunnel's Mouth' was released to critical reviews. Some called it Steve's best since his classic 70's albums. The release was delayed, due to Steve's ex-wife's lawsuit (in which he won). The album's highlight track- Fire on the Moon, is an instrumental masterpiece. Steve went on an extensive tour of Europe and America, supported by guitarist singer- Amanda Lehmann, and bassist Nick Beggs, and even a small contribution to ex-Genesis guitaritst- Anthony Phillips.
Steve married author Jo Lehmann on June 4, 2011
Ever the workaholic, released his follow-up to `Out of the Tunnel's Mouth,' entitled `Beyond the Shrouded Horizon,' which received excellent reviews and was in the diverse style to it's predecessor. Wife Jo helped Steve with the writing.
Squackett was released with Chris Squire in 2012. The album, though not true prog, is a collection of melodic shorter songs with a songwriters sensibility.
2013 & 2014 has been busy times for the always working Hackett. With a huge amount of rock musicians, including Ray Wilson, Neal Morse, John Wetton, Simon Collins, and others, he released an ambitious, Genesis Revisited II which included the Genesis classic Supper's Ready. The album topped to #24 in the UK, and #32 in Germany and did well worldwide. Live shows have been critically acclaimed. Steve brought in Nad Sylvan, Roger King, Lee Pomeroy, Gary O'Toole, and Rob Townsend to tour his first year, until Nick Beggs came in to replace Pomeroy on bass.
Hackett toured his Genesis revisited works extensively in2013, filming two shows at the Hammersmith Odeon, and Royal Albert Hall, in which two live albums and DVDs were produced. In his free time, Steve has giests on many albums, including ex- classic Hackett band mate Nick Magnus' latest solo album- N'Monix. Steve continues to tour in the fall of the 2014, while finishing up a solo album.
In March 2015 Hackett released Wolflight (no. 31 in the UK album chart), his first album in four years with newly-written solo material. In September 2015 the independent music company Wienerworld released the Hackett documentary The Man, The Music. The film hit no. 5 on the UK DVD chart, and in October Universal/Virgin released Premonitions: The Charisma Years 1975–1983, an 14 disc boxed set including his first six solo albums, extra material, plus live recordings as well as new remixes by Steven Wilson.
Hackett's solo album The Night Siren (no. 28 UK album chart) was released in March 2017 and entered top 40 in six international album charts. The album continues the exploration of world music/progressive rock, and also contains influences from the Beatles' psychedelia period and classic science fiction, although to me it seems a bit over-procuced, and similar to Wolflight.
Armed with a variety of classic Genesis material, Hackett has toured extensively through into 2017, including his first tour in Australia. .
Discography: Albums and Singles:
Voyage of the Acolyte (1975)
Please Don't Touch (1978)
Spectral Mornings (1979)
Highly Strung (1983)
Bay of Kings (1983)
Till We Have Faces (1984)
Guitar Noir (1993)
Blues with a Feeling (1994)
Watcher of the Skies: Genesis Revisited (1996)
A Midsummer Night's Dream (1997)
Feedback 86 (2000)
To Watch the Storms (2003)
Wild Orchids (2006)
Out of the Tunnel's Mouth (2009)
Beyond the Shrouded Horizon (2011)
Genesis Revisited II (2012)
Genesis Revisited II: Selection (2013)
Wolflight (March 2015)
Night Sirent (March 2016)
Time Lapse (1991)
There Are Many Sides to the Night (1995)
The Tokyo Tapes (1998)
Live Archive 70, 80, 90's (2001)
Live Archive 70s Newcastle (2001)
Somewhere in South America... (2002, #17 Swedish DVD chart)
Hungarian Horizons (2002)
Live Archive NEARfest (2003)
Live Archive 03 (2004)
Live Archive 04 (2004)
Live Archive 05 (2005)
Live Archive 83 (2006)
Live Rails (2010)
Fire & Ice (2011)
Genesis Revisited: Live at Hammersmith (2013, #58 UK, #17 Ger, #53 Ned, #78 Bel, #97 Ch, US Billboard Heatseeker Album Chart #22).
Genesis Revisited: Live at the Royal Albert Hall (2014, #80 UK, #23 Ger, #109 Bel, #157 Fra, US Billboard Heatseeker Album Chart #20).
1969: The Road (Steve Hackett and his brother John recorded an album with this band Quiet World in 1969. The bass player Dick Driver would rejoin Steve during his solo career)
1971: Nursery Cryme
1973: Genesis Live
1973: Selling England by the Pound
1974: The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
1976: A Trick of the Tail
1976: Wind & Wuthering
1977: Seconds Out (Live 2LP)
1977: Spot the Pigeon (EP)
1982: Three Sides Live
1998: Genesis Archive 1967–75 (4CD Box Set)
2000: Genesis Archive 2: 1976–1992 (3CD Box Set)
1986: GTR (with Steve Howe)
1997: King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents GTR (with Steve Howe)
1995: The Higher You Climb (with Geoff Downes, Steve Howe, Matt Clifford, Nigel Glockner, Scott Gorham, Jonathan Mover & Phil Spalding)
John & Steve Hackett
2000: Sketches of Satie (with John Hackett)
2012: A Life Within a Day (with Chris Squire)
2013: The Theory of Everything (with Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman, John Wetton, Jordan Rudess, etc.)