Steve Hackett - Early Days and Guest Appearances 1968 - 2013 (Part One) by Paul Gibbon. Memorabilia: TWR Archive. Photographs: Courtesy S Hackett, Alan Hewitt, P Gibbon.

Paul Gibbon is one of those people who manage to make my knowledge of Mr Hackett’s career seem small and, as this massive feature which we shall be running over the next couple of issues proves, his knowledge of his subject is astonishing. Over to you, Paul…

When I started this little exercise for Alan Hewitt/TWR I imagined it would take me a few evenings to get this little project completed. How wrong I was! Anyway, it has been an enjoyable experience researching some of the artists and finding out some lesser known facts along the way. If anything, it is a starting point for anyone who wishes to know more about Steve’s appearances on other artists’ work.

I think only Phil Collins has contributed more to other artists’ work, so Steve must take the runner’s up position for this category in the Genesis family. I intend to look at each album and some rare live events that have occurred over the last forty or so years.


Steve’s first recorded work can be found in 1968.…

Canterbury Glass - Sacred Scenes & Characters - Ork Records (Released 24th September 2007, recordings date back to 1968).

According to most sources, Canterbury Glass and Sarabande were the first bands that Steve played in. It came as a real surprise when this was released, making it the earliest recorded work from Steve this is currently in the public domain.

The album was engineered by Chris Kimsey who would later go on to produce the likes of Yes (ABWH), The Rolling Stones and Marillion. Dave Dowle (drums) would later grace the world arena with Whitesnake. The music is certainly an acquired taste, but very progressive and is an enjoyable listen with Steve’s main contribution to be heard on the guitar part to Prologue.

Quiet World - The Road - Dawn ESMCD776 (Released 1970) (Released on CD by Castle Music in 1999).

Steve features on electric guitar, acoustic guitar and harmonica.

1. The Great Birth. 2. First Light. 3. Star. 4. Hang on. 5. Loneliness & Grief. 6. Christ. 7. Body To The Mind. 8. Traveller. 9. Let Everybody Sing.. 10. Children Of The World. 11. Chant (Change Of Ages). 12. Love Is Walking

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The Quiet World Of Lea & John.

13. Miss Whittington. 14. The Reisa Mountain.

Quiet World were formed by the Heather brothers in 1969 to record their concept album; The Road. The group included Gil Gilbert on vocals, Lea Heather vocals and percussion, Neil Heather composer, John Heather vocals and acoustic guitar; Sean O’Malley on drums, Eddie Hines on flute and saxophone, Dick Driver on string and electric bass, Phil Henderson conductor/arranger, piano , trumpet and organ, recorder and backing vocals. As well as Steve on guitar and occasional flute parts by Steve’s younger brother John.

A 7” single Miss Whittington/There Is A Mountain was released on the Dawn label in 1969 (as The Quiet World of Lea & John) and Quiet World released their debut album; The Road in 1970 with a subsequent couple of singles released from the album as late as 1971 by which time Steve was in Genesis.

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The Heather brothers went on to international success with their musicals; A Slice Of Saturday Night, Lust, and the thriller; Blood Money. Their shows have enjoyed hundreds of productions worldwide and have been translated into nine languages. They also wrote, directed and produced two films; Seriously Twisted and The Big Finish. They are currently preparing their latest musical: Camp Horror for its West End premier.

Several of the musicians on this album would feature later in Steve’s career. A young John Hackett contributed acoustic guitar and flute and would feature on many of Steve’s subsequent solo recordings and live outings. Phil Henderson (arranger) would crop up on Steve’s Feedback ’86 album and Dick Driver (bass) has played on a handful of Steve’s more recent albums too.

The track Star is a stand out for me, as this featured some early sustained guitar work from Steve. By Christmas 1970 he would become a fixture in Genesis and this would be a position he would commit to for the next seven years.

Peter Banks - Two Sides Of Peter Banks - One Way Records S21 -18009 (Released 1973) (Re-released on CD in 1994 by Castle Music).

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Steve would go on to work with many members of Yes;

Steve Howe/Geoff Downes - GTR.

Bill Bruford - Genesis’ A Trick Of The Tail tour 1976, and Genesis Revisited album 1996.

Chris Squire- Various projects from 2007 to date including: Chris Squire’s Swiss Choir and the recently released Sqackett album.

Peter Banks was the original guitarist in Yes and this solo album was a heavily guested solo project that included Phil Collins, John Wetton and Jan Akkerman. At the time, Peter Banks was part of Zox And The Radar Boys which was later to morph into Phil Collins’ side project: Brand X. The album also featured Ronnie Caryl on guitar who is a good friend of Collins’ and who also auditioned for the vacant guitar role in Genesis at the same time that Phil joined. Steve’s contribution to the album can be heard on the reprise of Knights.


Steve would not appear on any other artists’ albums until 1983 with Genesis keeping him fully occupied until his departure in the autumn of 1977 and his subsequent launch of his solo career proper with Please Don’t Touch in 1978 following on the success of 1975’s Voyage Of The Acolyte while he was still a member of Genesis.

1983 is significant as it marked the end of his recording contract with Charisma Records. Prior to this, he performed live with Genesis at the now legendary reunion concert with his former Genesis band mates at the “Six Of The Best” concert at Milton Keynes on Saturday 2nd October 1982 where he was the special guest for the encores of I Know What I Like and The Knife.

Steve also recorded a few tracks for the short-lived Channel 4 TV programme: Gas Tank presented by Rick Wakeman. Recorded on 10th November 1982 and featuring Steve playing with Rick and a separate set with Suzi Quatro. Steve’s set included the as yet unreleased Camino Royale from what would be his next studio album; Highly Strung and an instrumental jam under the title of Hackett’s Boogie. He then switched to harmonica to play with Suzi, and he played My Babe and CC Rider with the house band that also featured Chas Cronk on bass.

January 28th 1983 saw Steve reunited with Mike Rutherford and Peter Gabriel again at Guildford Civic Hall for a charity show organised by Steve in aid of the Tadworth Children’s Hospital, one of many similar charitable events Steve was either to organise or take part in throughout the 1980’s and beyond. Steve performed his own solo set being joined by Gabriel for a solo rendition of Here Comes The Flood followed by Solsbury Hill, Reach Out (I’ll Be There) and finally I Know What I Like where they were joined by Mike Rutherford.


Steve spent an increasing amount of time in Brazil after his marriage to Brazilian born artist; Kim Poor in 1981 and during this period not only did he release his first acoustic album: Bay Of Kings (November 1983) and his first and so far only attempt at “World Music”; Till We Have Faces (September 1984) but also a number of recordings were released by an Anglo/Brazilian called Ritchie that feature Steve. It was also during this period that Steve’s now ex-wife recorded a single for RCA in Brazil.

Kimmy - Paint It Black (Jagger_Richards)/Just For You (Poor) 7” single Brazil only RCA 1010968 (Released 1983).

I don’t really know why this was released at all. It is pretty harmless and an OK version of The Rolling Stones song.

Ritchie - Voo De Coracao (Flying Heart) Epic Records 2-492321 (June 1983).

Ritchie (Richard Court) was born in Kent in 1952 and ended up chasing a girl to Brazil in the early 1970’s. He stayed there and played flute in some bands and became friends with Jim Capaldi from Traffic. Capaldi’s wife was Brazilian and hence he spent much time in Rio. During 1980 Ritchie assisted with some recordings and this gave him the confidence to do his own record. Steve would hang out with Ritchie, Dominic Miller and Mick Jagger whilst in Brazil. Richie and Steve recorded several tracks in an after-hours office building and some were layer used on Ritchie’s albums in the 1980’s.

Menina Veneno (Poison Girl) was the first hit single in Brazil in February 1983 and it sold over half a million copies. The album Flying Heart was released in June 1983 and produced a number of singles. Depending on what source you read, it has sold anywhere between 700,000 and a million copies.
Steve’s guitar can be found on Flying Heart. This lead guitar theme would be used again on Steve’s song Jane Austen’s Door from 1999’s Darktown album.

Ritchie - E a Vida Continua (And Life Goes On) 1984.

This was the next album which sold 100,000 copies and was released in 1984. Steve is credited as a writer on the opening song called A Muhler Invisivel) The Invisible Woman.

Ritchie - Loucura E Magica (Madness & Magic) June 1987.

“Circular” was the follow-up album released during 1985. June 1987 saw Ritchie release Madness & Magic. It is reported to have sold only 25,000 copies and marked a decline in his ability to sell records, however the live shows with all the old hits still packed out concert halls. Steve’s contribution this time is as special guest on the track, Meantime.

Exactly how much time Steve contributed to both his ex-wife’s single and Ritchie’s various efforts is pretty much unknown. He was not out of the public eye for very long. Cell 151 hit the UK charts at the number 66 position on 2nd April 1983. The song was subsequently to be covered by Nightwing and future GTR singer, Max Bacon.

Night Wing - My Kingdom Come (1984)

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This was recorded during July/August of 1983 so I assume that this was after Hackett’s Highly Strung tour. The band had a strong following in Sweden and Yugoslavia and played to crowds of in excess of 25,000. Max Bacon had joined them on their third album called Stand Up & Be Counted in 1983. This was the follow up to that.

Steve co-produced Night Of Mystery with Gordon Rowley and played additional guitar on some of the album. Alive! Featured live versions from their recent tour and does not feature Max Bacon on vocals as he had left before A Night Of Mystery was mixed. He lefty to join Bronz for their debut album, Taken By Storm (1984) and later joined forces with Hackett again in GTR (1986).

Around this time (1985) Steve began working with Steve Howe and Jonathan Mover on the GTR project. This story has been told elsewhere in TWR. Ian Mosley who had been Hackett’s drummer from 1981 -83 joined Marillion for the Fugazi album in 1984. Jonathan Mover had been pushed out of Marillion and that is how he hooked up with Hackett for GTR.

In 2006 a two disc compilation of material from the several Night Wing albums was released under the title: Night Wing ’79 to ’86 which featured all of the above tracks and other material from the Night Wing back catalogue.

Night Wing ’79 to ’86. Timeline Records TLCD004.

Eddie Hardin & Zak Starkey’s Musical Version of The Wind In The Willows (Released on vinyl in 1985 and subsequently on CD in 2002 by Purple Records with bonus tracks).

This was another star-studded cast put together by Eddie Hardin and Zak Starkey, featuring Val McKenna, Tony Ashton, Chris Thompson, Joe Fagin and Donovan. This was an idea that Hardin had had to do a musical back in 1967 but which was frequently rejected. Hardin bought a mansion in Sunningdale in Berkshire and because running costs were so high, he installed a recording studio called “Herne’s Place Studios” in 1979. Over a period of time the project was put together with Zak Starkey and was finally released in 1985. It was never really promoted and went unheard by most rock fans.

Steve’s contribution was to the opening track: The Wind In The Willows and it is pretty good and would have fitted quite well on one of his solo albums. Also on the project was Chris Thompson who would later join Steve for his Feedback project after the demise of GTR.

Box Of Frogs (The Yardbirds Reunion Part II) - Strange Land (1986) Epic Records EPC475976-2.

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Box Of Frogs was formed by former members of The Yardbirds in 1983. The core of the group comprised Chris Deja , Paul Samwell-Smith and Jim McCarty. Many musicians guested on the two albums they recorded between 1983 and 1986. Former Yardbirds guitarists Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck guested with Rory Gallagher and of course, Steve. Steve’s contribution can be found on two tracks: Average and Trouble.

Steve also found time to contribute his presence to another charitable effort. Pete Townsend’s “Double O” drug rehabilitation charity held a benefit gig at Hammersmith Odeon on 6th February 1986 and Steve joined Marillion on stage to play I Know What I Like. Mike Oldfield and Roger Chapman also performed Shadow On The Wall. Later in 1986, GTR was to take flight and the single When The Heart Rules The Mind charted at the number 82 position in the UK charts on 14th June 1986. It would reach number 14 on the US Billboard chart. The album itself pierced the top twenty of the UK charts on 19th July 1986. During the subsequent GTR tour, Steve played Spectral Mornings and again revisited (!) Genesis with I Know What I Like and In That Quiet Earth.

Next up a Genesis orchestral project…..

We Know What We Like - The Music Of Genesis - The London Symphony Orchestra Conducted by David Palmer (Released 1987) RCA 74321 12445 2.

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GTR played their last gigs in September 1986 and it would appear that Steve performed on this Genesis project while still under contract to Arista. The album featured a foreword from George Martin dated January 1987 and was the second orchestral project that Palmer had put together, the first being: A Classic Case which featured the music of Palmer’s former bandmates: Jethro Tull.

It is an OK album with some highlights. Horizons with strings is great and I really like Los Jigos. Hackett’s guitar on the opening Turn It On Again is really quite surreal. If only he had played that chord sequence and not Rutherford, as it is a class apart.

Orchestral Manoeuvres - The Music Of Pink Floyd conducted by David Palmer and the London Philharmonic Orchestra (Released 1989). RCA 07863 57960-2.

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This was recorded between January and April 1989 and was Palmer’s third orchestral project. Well recorded and it sounds great but I am not sure why Hackett is covering Gilmour’s fretwork. Perhaps this was one to pay a few legal bills after the GTR fallout!
In 2001 David Palmer changed his name to Dee Palmer and had sex reassignment surgery in 2004.

And on that curious note we leave this fascinating feature by Paul. Part Two will carry on the fascinating story of Steve’s collaborative work.