Steve Hackett may not be a household name. Among the progressive rock faithful he is known worldwide. Hackett initially gained fame for his unique guitar work with Genesis in the 1970’s. Since leaving the band in 1977 Hackett has established himself as a prolific solo artist.
Throughout the course of Hackett’s long solo career he has created many stand out songs. Although he never produced a hit single, as a solo artist, he has many well known songs among his fan base. There are songs such as Everyday, Ace Of Wands, The Steppes, Walking Away From Rainbows, Camino Royale, Shadow Of The Hierophant, Spectral Morning, In Memoriam, Serpentine Song and Jacuzzi. These songs have been staples in his live set lists over the years.
In Steve Hackett’s rich discography there are deep tracks that only die hard fans know and appreciate. These songs, for whatever reason, have not gotten much time in the spotlight. If one digs a little deeper into Hackett’s discography they will discover many hidden musical gems that are just waiting to be unearthed. Here are a few gems, among many, that I have chosen to highlight.
Looking For Fantasy – (Beyond The Shrouded Horizon – 2011) A vocally driven track that features many multi tracked vocals from Hackett. There is still plenty of room for some beautiful guitar playing from Hackett. I absolutely love the song’s lyrics. This gem is of my favorite songs from Hackett’s recent albums.
Catwalk – (Beyond The Shrouded Horizon – 2011) A guitariffic gem with Hackett in full blues rock mode. Amanda Lehmann ably assists on vocals. Lehmann’s voice complements Hackett’s quite well. She has been an invaluable addition to his band in recent years. Hackett has delved into the blues several times throughout his career. I love his unique take on the genre.
Taking The Easy Way Out – (Till We Have Faces – 1984) Hackett must have been in a melancholy mood when he wrote this gem. Moody keyboards mix with electric and acoustic guitars. The song features Hackett laying down an extremely emotional guitar solo. Some fans view the Till We Have Faces album in a negative light. I count it among my favorite Hackett albums. This song points to the direction that Hackett was working towards for his next album, 1993’s Guitar Noir.
Little America – (Guitar Noir – 1993) A laid back song from my favorite Steve Hackett album. There is not a trace of progressive rock to found in this song, and that’s OK. Little America is a straightforward rock song, but I love the mood and atmosphere of this gem. I love everything about this song, from Hackett’s vocals to his lyrics to the subtle instrumentation. The guitar solo is one of my favorites from Hackett’s solo albums.
Man In The Long Black Coat – (Wild Orchids – 2006) Steve Hackett covering a Bob Dylan song? That does not sound like an obvious choice. On the surface it may not be, but Hackett’s version is stellar. Hackett makes the song his own. He delivers one of the coolest, most confident vocal performances of his career. This gem gives Hackett plenty of opportunities to play a variety of bluesy lead guitar licks.
Black Thunder – (Wolflight – 2015) Hackett is currently in the midst of a creative spurt. Wolflight is the best of his recent albums. Black Thunder features a wonderful guitar hook, fantastic vocals and a powerful lyric. The song is a great example of Hackett’s musical approach over the last decade. Hackett mixes in different genres, music motifs and moods to create a unique musical journey. Amanda Lehmann provides subtle background vocals that substantially elevate this gem.
Concert For Munich – (Momentum – 1988) Any opportunity to hear John Hackett play the flute is an absolute joy. To hear his flute alongside Steve Hackett’s exquisite acoustic guitar playing is musical perfection. This gem evokes memories of the wonderful acoustic instrumentals from Steve Hackett’s first few solo albums. The entire Momentum album is a hidden gem. It is arguably Steve Hackett’s most overlooked album.
If these songs and albums are unfamiliar to you I would highly recommend giving them a listen. Many progressive rock fans extol the progressive rock of the 1970’s, of which Steve Hackett was a big part. The featured songs illustrate that Hackett’s music has progressed and matured well beyond the sounds of the 1970’s. Steve Hackett has proven to be a progressively minded artist with a discography full of wonderfully diverse music. These are just a few of the hidden gems found on his albums. If you dig deeper I am sure that you will discover many more.