Steve Hackett of Genesis names his five favourite albums

Posted On
Posted By admin

Born in 1950, Steve Hackett is a bonafide baby boomer. Throughout his childhood, he experienced the grey mediocrity of postwar London before the sun rose and shone a light on the 1960s. Though they weren’t alone in their divine operations, The Beatles were the most pivotal protagonists in the so-called British Invasion era, which saw the UK join the stage of global pop music and inspire a countercultural revolution in the West. 

At first, the Liverpudlian band gained traction with typical rhythm and blues structures and lyrics mostly pertaining to romantic pursuits. The cheeky foursome was a big hit with youngsters on both sides of the Atlantic, a mid-teens Hackett among them. However, the true appeal to Hackett and his future Genesis bandmates arrived a few years into The Beatles’ reign.

After shaking up charts around the world, The Beatles began to pay attention to developments at the vanguard of popular music. In the US, Bob Dylan encouraged sociopolitical criticism with his early folk music and soon began to turn his attention to the electric guitar and the more abstract word forms of Beat Generation literature. This struck a particularly resonant chord with John Lennon, who began to diversify his lyrical concepts in 1965’s Rubber Soul.

As The Beatles began to push the lyrical boat out, they also welcomed experimental and unconventional means of composition and production. In Revolver, Lennon and producer George Martin gave a taste of things to come in the psychedelic era with the bizarre closer, ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’. The Beatles followed the album up with their psychedelic masterpiece of 1967, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which many musicologists deem to be the first prog rock record.

Pink Floyd’s trajectory, from its early phase helmed by Syd Barrett to the next led by Roger Waters, clearly demonstrated that prog-rock was the first child of psychedelic rock. When Hackett posted an advertisement in Melody Maker in December 1970 in search of like-minded bandmates, a passion for experimental rock immediately alerted him to the Genesis bandleader Peter Gabriel, who sought an intrepid guitarist to flavour his band’s unconventional and complex music. At the time, Genesis had just hired drummer Phil Collins, another ardent Beatlemaniac.

Speaking to DRW Entertainment several years ago, Steve Hackett discussed some of his most important musical influences while naming his five favourite albums. It will surprise very few readers to see that he picked out Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band first. Anyone familiar with Genesis’s early 1970s material will be able to draw parallels to otherworldly classics like ‘Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!’ and ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’.

In praise of his first selection, Hackett noted The Beatles’ “use of orchestra and all the ethnic” influences in the album. Famously, Martin used orchestral overdubs to great effect in the dramatic closer, ‘A Day in the Life’, and George Harrison brought the sounds of Indian classical music to ‘Within You Without You’.

Ethnic appeal also guided Hackett’s fourth choice, It’s My Way, the 1964 debut album of Buffy Sainte-Marie. The album contains several covered folk standards, but, as Hackett noted, Sainte-Marie’s “beautiful” voice “highlights the plight of the Native American.”

Elsewhere in his choices, the Genesis guitarist honoured songwriters Joni Mitchell and Jimmy Webb, the latter for the songs of his that Art Garfunkel covered for his 1977 album Watermark. Hackett concluded his list with a nod to Genesis’ fellow prog-rockers Yes. Picking out their 1983 album, 90125, he commended the “production value” above all else, claiming that the music “still holds up.”

Steve Hackett’s five favourite albums:

[embedded content]

Related Topics

Related Post