Guitarist, writer, and producer Steve Howe, is one of the greatest and most influential guitarists in progressive rock. Let’s get to know him better.
(Photo: Rock and Roll Photo Gallery)
1. He was born in Holloway, north London, on April 8, 1947, to Stephen James Howe.
2. Howe was the youngest of four children and as a child absorbed a lot of music that was played at home.
3. Among the artists who influenced him as a child are Les Paul, Barney Kessel, Wes Montgomery, and Chet Atkins whom he first discovered in 1959.
4. Howe noted that he was very influenced by Chat Atkins and drew from him the idea that a guitarist could play in several styles.
5. He noted that he was also influenced by ם and said he thinks Dylan took the rebellious side out of him.
6. Steve wanted to learn guitar at the age of 10 but his parents only bought one for him at the age of 12 as a Christmas present. It was an acoustic guitar.
7. Howe began teaching himself to play the guitar, audibly and without knowing how to read notes.
8. He formed his first band at the age of 14.
9. In 1961 he purchased his first electric guitar and by 1964 he had already purchased the Gibson ES-175D quarter-volume guitar that he is so identified with.
10. Before Howe became a professional musician he worked in a piano-making factory and later in a music store.
11. In 1964 at the age of 17, Howe formed his first professional band - "The Syndicats", with which he managed to release several singles.
12. In 1965 Howe left the band and joined "The In-Crowd" which later changed its name to "Tomorrow" and its style to psychedelic rock. Howe also recorded several singles with this band.
13. At the same time he received an offer to play in several recordings as a studio player.
14. "Tomorrow" disbanded in 1967 and Howe continued to accompany various artists in playing, until he joined the band "Bodast" in 1968.
15. After the dissolution of "Bodast" Howe auditioned for the progressive rock band "The Nice", but decided the next day it was not for him and left the band.
16. Steve also auditioned for the band "Jethro Tull", but realizing he was not expected to write any material for the band, decided not to continue with them.
17. He was even considered for the band "Atomic Rooster" back in the time when Carl Palmer was their drummer, but in the end, decided against it.
18. In 1970 he received an offer to replace "Yes" guitarist Peter Banks who played on the band's first two albums.
19. In June 1970 he was officially admitted to the band. That was after the band finished recording their second album "Time and a Word". Howe was on the album cover even though he did not play it.
20. His first real album with Yes was "The Yes Album" (1971) by then he was revealed as a key player who contributed a lot to the sound and style of the band.
21. Howe's musical diversity is more pronounced on the band's next album - the masterpiece "Fragile" (1971). It ranges from the complex and advanced "Roundabout" to the classic "Mood for a Day".
22. In 1971 Howe and his bandmate Rick Wakeman played in Lou Reed's debut album "Lou Reed" which was released in 1972.
23. That same year, Howe joined "Stone the Crows" in a performance at the Great Western Festival.
24. On Yes next album - "Close to the Edge" (1972), Howe expanded his range of instruments and included a pedal steel guitar.
25. In 1973, Howe played guitar in the song "Catherine of Aragon" from Rick Wakeman's solo album "The Six Wives of Henry VIII".
26. Steve Howe's contribution to "Yes" great success in the 1970s is unquestionable. The influences he brought with him from both classical and jazz music, as well as his love of exploring and experimenting with musical styles and other instruments, helped "Yes" become one of the leading bands in progressive rock.
27. Howe continued to release masterful albums with the band until 1980, when Wakeman and Anderson left the band.
28. Steve did not "abandon ship" and in 1980 released with Yes the controversial album "Drama". The album included a lineup change with the addition of Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes from "the Buggles", as well as a change in style that included a combination of New Wave elements Horn and Downes brought with them from their previous band.
30. Howe will release with the supergroup two albums and during the recordings of the third album, he will leave the band following disagreements with Downes.
31. Howe will return to collaborate with "Asia" in 1992 and will take part in the band's subsequent albums, alternately, until 2012 with the excellent album "XXX". Howe will play a total of 7 of the band's albums.
32. In 1984, Howe was featured on the album "Welcome to the Pleasuredome" by "Frankie Goes to Hollywood".
33. In 1985, Howe formed the "GTR" supergroup with guitarist Steve Hackett of Genesis. The band's name derives from the word "Guitar" since it was a collaboration between two great progressive rock guitarists. They recorded one album, from which one hit was released - "When the Heart Rules the Mind", but the band disbanded immediately afterward, in the face of disagreements between Hackett and Howe.
34. In 1988 Howe joined his past bandmates for a kind of Yes reunion, under the name "Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe". The four released An album of the same name.
35. In 1991, Howe was part of Yes's reunion album called "Union" and included the band's two major lineups.
36. That same year, Howe was featured on the Queen's song "Innuendo" from the album of the same name. He performed the Spanish section in the middle of the song, since Freddie Mercury thought he will do it better than Brian May.
37. Howe returned to "Yes" again in 1995 and since the album "Keys to Ascension" he was part of all the band's later albums released so far.
38. Steve Howe also has a glorious solo career that he started in 1975 with the excellent album "Beginnings". As part of his solo career, Howe has released 13 studio albums.
39. In addition, Howe released under the name "Homebrew" 6 more albums, and under the jazz ensemble "The Steve Howe Trio" three more studio albums.
(Photo: Michael Putland)
40. And if that's not enough, Howe will release two more albums with Paul Sutin, one album with Oliver Wakeman, and one album with his drummer son Virgil Howe.
41. Howe was named Guitar Player Magazine's Best Guitarist for 5 consecutive years (1977-1981).
42. In 1981, Howe was the first guitarist to enter the Guitarists Hall of Fame.
43. In 2003, Howe was ranked 69th on "Rolling Stone" magazine's 100 greatest guitarists of all time.
44. In 2017, Howe entered the "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame" with "Yes".
45. In 2018, Howe received the title of "Prog God" as part of the Prog Music Awards ceremony.