Inspired by a discussion elsewhere, I thought I'd devote a thread to that unsung instrument of Genesis, the guitar. While Genesis never seemed to showcase the guitar as much as, say, King Crimson, Yes or Pink Floyd, they still had their moments and it would be nice to discuss them, positively, here.
Ant Phillips was the first axe man in the band and his delicate twelve string playing is all over the first two albums like beans on toast. Phil has favourably compared the sound of early Genesis (specifically the sound the band had on Trespass) to one of his favourite bands, The Byrds. I've never heard anyone make that comparison before but listening back to some of the softer numbers, I can see what he means.
Striving beyond existing stagnant music forms, Steve Hackett single-handedly created sweep picking and two-handed tapping (something that would become prevalent in the rock bands of the eighties) as well as introducing an element of aggression to the band's music. On The Musical Box, The Return Of The Giant Hogweed and The Fountain of Salmacis he puts his stamp on the music of Genesis, giving the band a distinctive guitar sound. And he crowns Supper's Ready with a beautiful and restrained solo.
He continued to make significant contributions to the music of Genesis in his own inimitable style, crafting a Beatlesesque riff for I Know What I Like and reinterpreting Tony's lines on Firth Of Fifth into a sobbing solo. And while The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway didn't exactly find favour with him at the time, Steve's solo on The Lamia and his quirky playing on Counting Out Time remain stand-out moments.
Perhaps buoyed by the success of his first solo venture, Steve upped his game on A Trick Of The Tail and his playing is much more prominent on the record. Although he claims in the documentary Sum Of The Parts that he was finding less and less for the guitar to do in the music, it's hard to imagine Wind And Wuthering without his playing, whether it be in mimicking Tony's keyboard sound on The Eleventh Earl Of Mar or in the weird sounds he conjures up during In That Quiet Earth. He even throws in some shimmering lines during Wot Gorilla and who could ever overlook the acoustic guitar introduction to Blood On The Rooftops (for me, Hackett's finest hour with Genesis)?
Obviously, that's only part of the story but I despise lengthy posts!