Steve Howe (musician)

Stephen James Howe ( born April 8, 1947 in Holloway, North London ) is a British guitarist.

  • 3.1 With Yes
  • 3.2 With Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe
  • 3.3 Solo albums
  • 3.4 With Paul Sutin
  • 3.5 With Billy Currie
  • 3.6 solo activities
  • 3.7 As a guest musician


Psychedelic beginnings

Steve Howe received his first guitar at the age of twelve, and began to practice and eventually play at smaller appearances in clubs under the influence of Bill Haley, Jimmy Bryant, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Chet Atkins, Barney Kessel and Les Paul. His first band was the Syndicates, which he joined in 1963. They played rhythm and blues cover versions. In March 1964, she published the first of three singles, a cover version of Maybellene. Also in 1964 Howe bought a Gibson ES- 175D, an electric guitar model, which should be in the following years, his trademark. The following year, he joined his second band, The In Crowd, around the singer Keith West, with whom he released two more singles.

In July 1967 Steve Howe worked as a studio musician on West's first real hit - a solo project - with, Excerpts from a Teenage Opera, which is also known under the title Grocer Jack. After The In Crowd changed the occupation and their names. Tomorrow was one of the leading English psychedelic rock band. Even their first single, My White Bicycle in May 1967 was a great chart success and is now considered classics of the genre. A second single called Revolution was released in September, and in 1968 an album was released.

However, Howe left the band and founded Bodast, a band that also recorded an album. This was not published until 1980 because the record company were at Bodast under contract went bankrupt. While he - as it turned out be in vain - waiting for the publication, Howe declined offers from The Nice and Jethro Tull.

If Yes, (1970-1980)

In the spring of 1970 he joined the progressive rock band Yes, where he replaced founding member Peter Banks; the first of many line-up changes at Yes. The first appearance of the new formation ( Jon Anderson, Bill Bruford, Steve Howe, Tony Kaye, Chris Squire ) was held at London's Lyceum on July 7, 1970. In 1971, the first album with his involvement, The Yes Album. It is the third album of the group and to this day - not least because of the guitar work Howes - as the first album of their " classical phase " ( up to and including Going for the One, 1977). In this and the following album Fragile to find the first Howe - pieces for solo guitar, the classic Clap and Mood for a day, until today his best-known solo pieces. Howe brought in the sequence always stronger in the compositional process of the band and made ​​- especially - with the singer Jon Anderson is a songwriter team for songs like " Roundabout " ( Fragile ) or entire albums ( Tales from Topographic Oceans ) responsible distinguished. Howe enriched the band with a sonic diversity, pointing to studio albums and concerts in many different stringed instruments played ( pedal steel guitar, Vachalia, Coral Sitar Guitar and numerous various acoustic and electric guitars). He contributed to her success but also with its stylistic diversity, including with country, jazz and folk elements. Howe initially remained until 1980 Yes, the experienced numerous line-up changes during this time.

During this first time at Yes Howe released two solo albums (1975 and 1979, see below).

With Asia (1981-1985)

After the dissolution of Yes at the end of their drama tour Howe met the singer and bassist John Wetton, a former member of, among others, King Crimson and UK. Both musicians began to write songs, to, under the aegis of manager Brian Lane a new band named Asia came together. Its members were ultimately to Geoff Downes, formerly with Yes (previously at The Buggles ) and Carl Palmer, formerly the drummer of Emerson, Lake & Palmer. With this lineup, the band recorded two albums, Asia (1982) and Alpha ( 1983).

The debut album Asia, which represented a radical departure from the progressive rock of the seventies with his Bombast-/Stadionrock could be placed to the surprise of everyone involved in the top chart regions. The Single Heat of the Moment became a hit and it turned out that the band had booked on their first tour too small halls.

Efforts were made, therefore, to repeat the great success and this time get it right. Alpha offered simpler, catchier songs than its predecessor. He lacked the virtuosity of "Asia" and the commercial success was limited.

John Wetton then left due to personal differences with Steve Howe of the band. As a replacement to Greg Lake committed, once singer and bassist of Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Lake wanted to draw the musical style in a more sophisticated direction, but this was rejected by the other musicians. Therefore, John Wetton was brought back, but what the resignation of Steve Howe -related. Howe was replaced for Astra, the third album by the ex - guitarist Mandy Meyer Crocus.

With GTR (1985-1987)

In 1985 he founded at the suggestion of former Yes manager Brian Lane, together with Steve Hackett, formerly of Genesis, the band GTR. Other band members were Max Bacon ( vocals), Phil Spalding (bass) and Jonathan Mover, who had previously been briefly the drummer of Marillion, a. This band released the highly successful album " GTR " (with the single "When The Heart Rules The Mind " ), which contained instead of classic progressive rock influenced American AOR rock. The album contains the Howe - solo piece "Sketches In The Sun".

An equally successful tour followed. But already in 1987, separated in 1986 because of disputes with Hackett Howe from the band. Attempts Howes continue without GTR Steve Hackett failed. A second album, which had already been taken, has never officially been released. Over the years, but the songs of the second album have surfaced again and again - on bootlegs, but also on regular albums by Steve Howe ( " Running the human race " to " Turbulence " ) and Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe ( " Birthright " ) and on albums by Steve Hackett, Max Bacon, Robert Berry and Asia.

Both GTR albums were produced by the Asia keyboardist Geoffrey Downes.

Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe and Yes (1989-1992)

1989 brought Jon Anderson, who had recently left Yes for the second time (see Big Generator), four former Yes musician, Anderson, Howe, keyboardist Rick Wakeman, and drummer Bill Bruford, together to record an album in the classic style of the seventies. Since the musicians was banned by a court decision, is 'Yes' to call, they released their first ( and only ) album under the name ' Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe ' out. The main part of the music written Howe and Anderson. A successful tour followed the work on a second album called Dialogue, which was never completed, as tensions in the band and a lack of first-class materials and an idea Andersons for a band major project eventually led that ABWH and Yes eight-member to a band fused, seemed to promise what great commercial success. However, when this failed to materialize after a piecemeal from very heterogeneous material of the two bands album ( Union, 1991) and another world tour, we reduced Yes pressure from the record company on the 80 cast Anderson, Kaye, Rabin, Squire, White.

Howe then returned briefly as a guest musician to Asia back in the meantime with John Payne played instead of John Wetton, and then turned back to his solo career.

During his time with Yes was Howe's third solo album Turbulence published (1991). It was followed by The Grand Scheme of Things ( 1993) and the live album Not Necessarily Acoustic (1994).

Back at Yes (since 1995)

1995 Howe returned back to Yes and still is a permanent member. He took with the band since then a number of studio and live albums.

During this time, Howe worked with many other artists, including the Renaissance singer Annie Haslam and Billy Currie (then keyboardist of the successful band Ultravox ), for its instrumental work " Transportation" (1988 ) he recorded the guitar parts, as well as guest musicians for Asia.

In 1996 the first homebrew album, demo versions and excerpts from sessions contained, among other things, by Yes. Howe continued this series continued in the following years. In addition, he has released seven more studio and live albums since his return to Yes.

Asia- Reunion ( since 2006)

Yes, since a break since 2004, Howe, in 2006 to join a reunion of the classic Asian cast. The four founding members of the group currently organizing the occasion of the 35-year anniversary band a successful world tour, which on the album Fantasia: Live in Tokyo is documented. In winter, a new studio album will be released.

Solo albums

During his first time at Yes appeared in 1975 Howes first solo album, Beginnings. In 1979, The Steve Howe Album. Both albums contain a wide range of (Guitar ) styles, from classical to country and jazz to pop and rock. Howe, who sees himself as a guitarist and composer in the first place, but had always been interested to sing it at Yes, for example, he often adds to the harmony vocals, as a third voice to Anderson and Squire.

Since the early nineties Howe pursued his solo career with greater concentration. Studio and live albums of great stylistic bandwidth, multi- guitar albums appear at irregular intervals as the comeback album ' Turbulence ', which was positively received by critics from all areas of the music scene, with the exception of hard rock / heavy metal scene and & on the a Bill Bruford and Billy Currie play, or the album ' Quantum Guitar ". Quiet, sometimes meditative moods, as the album 'Skyline' or together with Paul Sutin Album ' Seraphim ' or albums with more band character as ' The Grand Scheme Of Things ' or ' element '. Met with surprising interest is his now four-part homebrew series, in which he published old demos, session recordings for solo pieces, but also for songs of Yes, Asia, GTR or ABWH.

A 2002 released DVD documenting Howes career.


Steve Howe is substantially influenced by jazz, country music and classical music, combining these directions with rock music ( and sometimes South American rhythms ).

Its very eclectic style can be best described in his first two solo pieces, Clap, of The Yes Album and Fragile Mood for a Day. Clap is a syncopated guitar Rondo, which has its roots in ragtime and country blues. Mood for a Day, however, has precursors in flamenco and classical guitar music.

Howes sound is dominated by his preferred Gibson ES 175. In 2002, Steve Howe Signature him an ES-175 was brought to market in honor.

Discography (selection)

With Yes

See Yes

With Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe

See Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe

Solo albums

  • Beginnings ( 1975)
  • The Steve Howe Album ( 1979)
  • Turbulence (1991 )
  • The Grand Scheme of Things ( 1993)
  • Not Necessarily Acoustic (1994 )
  • Homebrew (1996 )
  • Quantum Guitar (1998)
  • Pulling Strings (1999)
  • Portraits of Bob Dylan (1999)
  • Homebrew 2 (2000)
  • Natural Timbre (2001)
  • Skyline (2002)
  • Steve Howe (DVD, 2002)
  • Elements (2003)
  • Homebrew 3 (2005)
  • Homebrew 4 (2009)
  • Time ( 2011)

With Paul Sutin

  • Seraphim (1989 )
  • Voyagers (1995 )

With Billy Currie

  • Transportation ( 1988)

Solo activities

  • Various Artists - Guitar Speak ( 1988) Sharp on Attack
  • CD Skeches in the Sun
  • Worm
  • All Along the Watchtower
  • Clap - Medley
  • Worm
  • All Along the Watchtower
  • Sharp on Attack
  • Clap - Medley
  • All Along the Watchtower

As a guest musician

  • Queen - Innuendo (1991 ): Track Innuendo
  • Various Artists - Polar Shift ( with Constance Demby and Paul Sutin, 1991)
  • Various Artists - The Outpatients ( with Fish, 1993): Track Time and a Word
  • Fish - Songs From the Mirror (Edition 1998): Track Time and a Word