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Under The Influence: Steve Hackett

The records that changed my life

Love and loss. That’s what the teenage harmonica-hugger turned Genesis fret-fiddler learned about the blues when Howlin’ Wolf seduced his girl.

I started out as a harmonica player, and my first exposure to it was Larry Adler, whose style added pretty melodies to many songs. In the hands of a bluesman, though, the harmonica became another instrument entirely.

I sought out harmonica-led acts and would go to watch bands at Eel Pie Island, the home of British blues. It was the closest England was gonna get to the Delta, with the added bonus that you had to cross the river to get to it – very atmospheric on a misty night. Once I’d arrived there I’d see all those musicians doing all those things that I wanted to do.

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