Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Steve Howe

@ Wiki
Stephen James "Steve" Howe (born April 8, 1947 in Holloway, North London, England) is a guitarist best known for his work with the progressive rock group Yes. He has also been a member of The Syndicats, Bodast, Tomorrow, Asia and GTR, as well as releasing 13 solo albums as of June 2005.

Early influences
Howe was the youngest of four children who grew up in a musical household, listening to brass band music on 78 rpm records. He cites several influences from his parent's record collection including Les Paul and the group Tennessee Ernie Ford who had Speedy West and Jimmy Bryant playing guitar. In addition, Howe listened to Classical Guitar and Jazz citing Barney Kessel as a primary influence, "his playing was a remarkable mixture of 'single line' and 'chords', ya know, which inspired me to believe that any guitarist who doesn't understand chords won't be able to play much in the single line because they relate so much". Howe also credited Chet Atkins, who he first heard in 1959, as a major inspiration. Howe said he took from Atkins, "the idea that one guitarist could play any kind of guitar style."

He received his first guitar, an f-hole acoustic, as a Christmas present from his parents at age 12 and eventually began playing in local halls. He bought his first electric guitar, a jazz-style Gibson, in 1964: "No one was playing archtop, hollowbody guitars in a rock band. People laughed at me and thought I was really snooty. To me, it was an object of art, it wasn't just a guitar," Howe said about his ES-175. He made his first recording, Chuck Berry's Maybellene, in 1964 with The Syndicats, who were produced by Joe Meek. In 1968, he recorded albums with both Tomorrow (initially called The In Crowd) and Bodast.

Howe declined offers from both The Nice and Jethro Tull while waiting for a record deal to materialize for Bodast, but the group's prospective label went bankrupt. He was then approached by the members of Yes as a possible replacement for Peter Banks, who had appeared on the group's first two albums.

Changing Yes lineup
In the spring of 1970, Howe joined Yes and played his first show with the group at Queen Elizabeth Hall on March 21, 1970. Howe was pictured with the group on the non-Europe jacket of their second album, Time and a Word, which was released in August, although it was Banks who had actually played on the recording.

Beginning with The Yes Album, Howe's electric and acoustic guitars, combined with Jon Anderson's vocals, Chris Squire's bass, and Tony Kaye's keyboards were seen as an essential part of the band's early sound. The addition of Rick Wakeman after the departure of Tony Kaye for the following album, Fragile, created the classic Yes sound of Anderson-Howe-Squire-Bruford-Wakeman associated with the peak of the band's early achievements. To his already-formidable assortment of electric and acoustic guitar sounds, Howe added a unique prog-rock approach to pedal steel guitar in the next album, Close to the Edge. His classical and jazz influences, along with his penchant for ongoing experimentation, helped produce a playing style unique among rock musicians, while the group as a whole took a position as a leading progressive rock band.

Although the band underwent some personnel changes in the 1970s, Howe, Anderson, and Squire were the constant elements for the entire decade. In early 1980, however, Anderson and Wakeman left the group and were replaced a few weeks later by Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes. This second departure of Rick Wakeman was particularly difficult for Howe, who believed the two produced their best work while they were together. Howe continued with the band until Yes officially split up on April 18, 1981. Over the next few years, Howe contributed to several albums produced by Horn for other artists (including Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Propaganda).

In 1989, Jon Anderson asked Howe, Wakeman, and Bill Bruford if they could record some tracks together. They released an album and completed a tour under the name Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, leading to minor legal battles over ownership of the name "Yes".[8] Eventually, they all joined forces with the members of Yes (which still included Anderson, plus Tony Kaye, Trevor Rabin, Chris Squire and Alan White) as a "mega-Yes" lineup to record the album, Union, which was released in 1991. Shortly therafter, Howe worked on guitar parts for a "Symphonic Yes" album of re-recordings, and then left the band after the Victory Music label left him out of an invitation to participate in the studio sessions that would lead to their next album. In 1991, he contributed a flamenco inspired guitar solo to the epic Queen song Innuendo, which would be featured on the album Innuendo.

Howe rejoined Yes for good in 1996. Since Keys to Ascension, Howe has again appeared on all the albums recorded by Yes.

Solo work
In October, 1975, Howe released Beginnings, his first solo album. It featured Yes band members Alan White, Bill Bruford and Patrick Moraz and reached number 63 in the US and number 22 in the UK charts.

His second solo work, The Steve Howe Album, was released in November, 1979. Howe played alone on half of the tracks, while others again feature White, Bruford and Moraz, along with vocalist Claire Hamill. Since 1991, Howe has released a solo recording almost every year, ranging from acoustic to progressive to a Bob Dylan tribute. His son Dylan, now a respected jazz musician, played the drums on his 1998 all-instrumental solo release, Quantum Guitar, while Elements, released in 2003, featured both Dylan and Howe's younger son Virgil (keyboards and vocals), as part of a project called Remedy.

Howe's personal web site, Guitar Rondo, was launched in May, 1996. The guitarist takes an active role in the site by conducting auctions for gold albums and selected guitars, and answering questions from fans.

On May 24, 1996, Howe received an honorary Ph.D. in Music from Five Towns College in Dix Hills, New York. =>>>>>>>>>>>

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Gary Hill @ All Music
Steve Howe was born in London on April 8, 1947. When he began playing guitar he had quite a few influences, chief among them was Chet Atkins. When you consider that two of the others were Django Reinhardt and the duo of Les Paul & Mary Ford, it is really hard to believe that he would become one of the most influential guitarists in progressive rock. In fact, his first band was a Chuck Berry-infused band called the Syndicats. He began playing with that group in 1964. They released several singles before Howe left the group. His next band was the In Crowd, which eventually became Tomorrow. Under the newer name they released two singles in 1967 and an self-titled album the following year. When the group broke up in 1968, Howe went on to a band called Bodast. Bodast built up quite a following and recorded an album. However, when their label went bankrupt, the still unreleased album was scrapped and the band eventually became a casualty breaking up fairly shortly thereafter. The album would not see release until 1981. After Bodast, Howe began trying to find his next band. Auditions with such groups as the Nice and Jethro Tull were unfruitful. As fate would have it, his next band would come looking for him.

By 1970, Howe had caught the ear of several members of Yes. By this time, they had released two albums, but were not happy with their present guitarist, Peter Banks. So, Howe became the new guitarist in Yes. The first album he recorded with them was 1970's The Yes Album. It would garner them respectable commercial and critical attention, but when the follow-up Fragile came out in 1972 with the hit single "Roundabout," the group and Howe were fully propelled into the limelight. Howe stayed with the band all the way to their break up in 1980. He also released two solo albums during that time, 1976's Beginnings and The Steve Howe Album in 1979. After Yes went their separate ways, Howe, along with Yes-mate Geoff Downes, formed Asia. The group, also containing John Wetton (King Crimson, UK) and Carl Palmer (Atomic Rooster, Emerson, Lake & Palmer) was something of a progressive rock supergroup. Howe remained with the band through their first two albums, Asia and Alpha, released in 1982 and 1983, respectively. At that time, he left the group, although he has worked with them as a guest from time to time since. His next band was GTR, formed in 1986. This group also was sort of a supergroup, featuring both Howe and Steve Hackett (formerly of Genesis). That group did not stay together long, only releasing one studio album. In a way, it seemed fate as the forces were beginning to come together to bring Howe back into the Yes camp.

By this time, several changes had happened with Yes. The group had reunited without Howe and done two very commercial-leaning albums, one of them (90125) being the group's biggest seller. Also by then, Jon Anderson had once again left the group, citing a desire to do less commercial material. So, with Yes veterans Bill Bruford and Rick Wakeman, they formed a new band. Originally they wanted to call the band Yes, but bassist Chris Squire owned the rights to that name, so they went with the simplicity of their four last names and Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe was formed. Under that moniker, they released one self-titled album in 1989. Then, in a rather unusual turn of events, while they were working on their follow-up album, the group was melded into the other lineup of Yes, creating an eight-piece version of the band. The group released the Union album in 1991 and went out on a full-scale world tour to rave reviews. The lineup would not last, though, and Howe was once again a "former Yes member" shortly after the tour. He pursued a solo career for the next several years, releasing six albums before rejoining Yes in 1995. He is still with the group. Seemingly not wanting to take time off, even during all the years of tenures in various bands, he has found time to release a large number solo albums and worked on projects by artists as diverse as Lou Reed, Queen, Billy Currie, Dixie Dregs, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Fish, and Explorer's Club. =>>>>>>>>>>>

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