Steve Hackett has been busy entertaining fans during lockdown with a variety of videos, some featuring him playing acoustic guitar, some with him talking fans through a selection of Genesis and his own solo material. Now he’s released a video of him playing the guitar solo from the influential Genesis song ‘Firth Of Fifth.’
Originally a staple of Genesis’ landmark 1973 album Selling England By The Pound, the guitar solo from ‘Firth Of Fifth’ has long been hailed as “the crowning glory of Hackett’s time with the band” by Genesis biographers Dave Bowler and Bryan Dray, while Hackett himself has said “it’ll always be twinned with me, and I still enjoy playing it. It’s a great melody for guitar”.
The new version of the solo has been recorded at Hackett’s home during lockdown. “Here’s my latest video, playing electric guitar to a Hackett band live version of the ‘Firth Of Fifth’ solo… Stay safe and enjoy!” Hackett said. You can watch the video below.
Selling England By The Pound was first released in October 1973 and was very well received. The NME’s critique read: “Genesis stand head and shoulders above all those so-called progressive groups.”
Frontman Peter Gabriel’s escapist vision, married with the increasingly impressive musicianship of the group was providing a suitable antidote to the increasingly grim economic landscape in the UK of the day. By the end of 1973, Selling England By The Pound was a Top 10 hit in an album chart populated by Slade, David Cassidy, Status Quo and Peters and Lee.
The ‘Selling England By The Pound UK’ tour saw the band comfortably filling 2,000-seater venues. Another reason for the enduring allure of the album is its accompanying promotional film, live at Shepperton Studios. At the time, the group’s foothold in North America was getting stronger, too.
From December 17, 1973, Genesis played six shows across three nights at the Roxy Club on Los Angeles’ Sunset Boulevard. It went well: “It was one of the best welcomes we have ever had,” the band’s original vocalist Peter Gabriel told Classic Rock. “It was our first time on the West Coast and we found we had a sort of underground mystique.”