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Watcher of the Skies: Genesis Revisited

Steve HackettAudio CD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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Steve Hackett abandoned his plans for a career as a harmonica player when he joined Genesis in late 1971. With Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks, he enjoyed phenomenal success, with 1973’s Selling England By The Pound and 1974’s concept album The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway gaining “Classic Album” status. Phil Collins moved from behind the drum ... Read more in Amazon's Steve Hackett Store

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 21, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Capitol
  • ASIN: B000002SII
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,661 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Watcher Of The Skies
2. Dance On A Volcano
3. Valley Of The Kings
4. Deja Vu
5. Firth Of Fifth
6. For Absent Friends
7. Your Own Special Way
8. Fountain Of Salmacis
9. Waiting Room Only
10. I Know What I Like
11. Los Endos

Editorial Reviews

As Genesis' guitarist, Hackett displayed an extraordinarily broad range, from classical delicacy to rock-ist aggression. His extensive solo catalog abounds with imagination, eccentricity, and a graceful melodicism, and that's the case with this 1996 effort. On it, Hackett revisits 11 vintage Genesis numbers, including such favorites as the title track, "I Know What I Like," "Firth of Fifth," and "Your Own Special Way," with help from esteemed colleagues like King Crimson/Asia vet John Wetton, Yes drummer Bill Bruford, Genesis drummer Chester Thompson, King Crimson/Foreigner co-founder Ian McDonald, Squeeze/Mike and the Mechanics vocalist Paul Carrack, and Zombies singer Colin Blunstone. --Scott Schinder

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars W O W ! A worthy addition to the Genesis Canon October 22, 2002
Format:Audio CD
I did not want to like this album.
I thought to myself: "Who does Steve Hackett think he is cashing in on the old Genesis stuff? What, the solo career isn't working? Need to put the kid through college?"
Forget about it. Genesis Revisited is the real thing. Not covers of the old tunes, exactly... reworking? reimagining?
Well, whatever you want to call it, this is incredible. Like a Genesis' Greatest Hits from a parallel universe where the 60s prog rock pioneers had access to sophisticated 90s production qualities, a full orchestra, Bill Bruford, Paul Carrack, Chester Thompson, Ian MacDonald and John Wetton.
Breakout tracks:
"Watcher of the Skies" is incredible. Right up there with the original. Mellotron plus orchestra plus incredible vocals.
"Your Own Special Way." was never one of my favorite tracks. It always seemed a little treacly to me. This version is better. Paul Carrack's vocals sound both more authentic and restrained.
"Fifth of Firth" is a great song. This version is different, not better than the original.
"Dance on a Volcano" is vastly improved by the HUGE sound of the full orchestra and techno percussion. Then it's diminised by electronic vocals. (It seems SOMEONE couldn't leave those vocoders alone, or didn't give the result enough of a listen.)
The rest of the album is, at worst, interesting. There's a new/old tune that Genesis wrote and never recorded, and a new composition in the spirit of the atonal organic experiment of "The Waiting Room" from Lamb Lies Down.
The only clunker is "I Know What I Like", which strives for kitch or camp and doesn't quite make it.
The album is much more of a tribute to pre-pop Genesis than an attempt to cash in. Forgive me, Steve, I take back everything bad I thought about you.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lost Gabriel Track Worth Price Of Admission. November 3, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Obviously a risky proposition, Steve Hackett's Genesis Revisited project is full of hits and misses alike. However, there are two cuts that make it well worth having - Valley Of The Kings and Deja Vu. Valley Of The Kings is a new Hackett instrumental in his classic style, lush and majestic with those hallmark chill-inducing guitar melody lines. Deja Vu is the real treat here. Originally composed by Peter Gabriel and actually rehearsed by Genesis during the Selling England By The Pound sessions, the song was ultimately shelved until Hackett dusted it off some 26 years later (with Gabriel's permission) to be "revisited" on this CD. It's an absolutely beautiful gem. Had it been included on Selling England, it would now be considered a Genesis classic. Plunk down your hard-earned money and get this CD for these two cuts alone. You won't be disappointed.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The spirit of the "old" Genesis lives on May 29, 2000
Format:Audio CD
Steve Hackett and an entourage of other terrifically talented musicians (including Tony Levin, Bill Bruford, and Chester Thompson) cover the sturdy old wheels of 1970s Genesis tunes with some sticky new tread. Now, Hackett has done his turn in the supergroup arena, and to a limited extent (perhaps because of John Wetton's presence) this album sounds a tiny bit like "Asia Does Genesis." But just a tiny bit.
Mostly it sounds great. The reworked "Watcher of the Skies" has more punch and pow than the original, still retaining its Morse code beat (no doubt still fit to punch a message through the hydrogen band to some waiting intelligence elsewhere in the universe, if played loudly enough). "Dance on a Volcano" is gloriously overblown, albeit with very peculiar vocals. Another standout is "Fountain of Salmacis," which gets off to a soaring, cinematically broad start that makes you wonder if you might have been transported into the titles of a movie filmed somewhere south of the equator.
Watcher of the Skies remains true to the original spirit of its songs. And even the sound. Mellotron and fat synthesizer bass abounds. The production is first rate. The overall sound is thick and wet but almost always on the proper side of muddy. The percussion is invariably crisp. If you've grown jaded with Genesis's own increasingly perfunctory and smoothed-out medleys of its earlier works, you MUST get hold of this album.
It might have been nice to see other members of the band participate, but I think you'll agree that Hackett and company have gotten along nicely without them. Overall it comes across as a project where all of the participants, Hackett included, have sacrificed a bit of ego and habit in the interests of rendering the best possible versions, at least one more time, of some of art rock's most idiosyncratic songs.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT!!! November 5, 2003
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
When someone who belongs to a classic group like SH has, you really wonder what would have happened if they had total control of a song. As it was, SH wrote with the other folks in Genesis... so, with this release, you get a chance to see how SH would have shaped the songs, and what he did with them.
Song by Song look:
Watcher of the Skies opens up the CD and I really must tell you that this song is just fantastic. The use of the Philharmonic of choice here is very good, since throughtout the cd SH does not let the orchestra be anything other than texture. Much like YES did in their Magnification release.
Dance On a Volcano. I love this song. It is just the best remake of any of the songs in the mix. The use of electronica on the voice over is just great. Makes the voice sound like it is actually coming from a volcano. The music is just so open and a bit experimental.
Valley of the Kings. A very good song, not familiar with it from earlier incarnation.
Deja Vu. this is a real treat. Apparently Peter Gabriel had this song up for grabs during the SELLING ENGLAND period, but for whatever reasons, it was not finished. SH receieved permission from PG to finish it up. Very good.
Firth Of Fifth. This song is done so well. I simply think that this version can hold up very well with the original. Matter of fact, I am going to burn both copies of both songs from the orignal cd's and from this release. Everyone who loves this song will really like this version.
For Absent Friends. I was not really wild about this song in its original release, but this version is no worse off.
Your Own Special Way. I didn't like this version originally, but I really do like the Paul Carrack version a lot.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great stuff
While not very original or's well enough done that it adds to the rich tapestry of the early Genesis experience and history. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Snotter
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
Like some other reviewers, I wasn't sure what to expect, thinking, aw c'mon don't mess with these classics. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Marvin Lewis
3.0 out of 5 stars Good concept - mostly delivers
I'm a fan of early Genesis, and also a Steve Hackett fan. I enjoyed his work with Chris Squire, and thought the concept of covering some of the great Genesis classics would make... Read more
Published 17 months ago by H2K
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than Daryl Stuermer's Another Side of Genesis!
Daryl Stuermer put out a joke of a cd called Another Side of Genesis Daryl has no business calling himself a Genesis member since he never wrote with the band. Read more
Published on March 24, 2012 by Truthteller
3.0 out of 5 stars For Genesis Fans Only!
After listening to the 30 second previews of these songs on for about a month, I finally decided to purchase this CD. Read more
Published on August 9, 2010 by E. Janzen
3.0 out of 5 stars When inspiring and embarrassing collide
From homage to "oh god", there are fortunately enough fun tweaks to validate the project for even the (relatively lenient) scrutinizing fan.
Published on June 5, 2010 by IRate
1.0 out of 5 stars DreamWorld Revisited (by Hackett)
Instrumentally, I rate this album 4 or 5 stars. Vocally, I give it a "one" out of respect for Hackett's previous position in Genesis. Steve Hackett is no Gabriel or Collins. Read more
Published on May 9, 2008 by KennyC in MD
2.0 out of 5 stars Shows why Genesis didn't use more of his ideas
Let me begin by saying I am a big Steve Hackett fan. He is easily my favorite Genesis member, both as a contributor to the band and as a solo artist. Read more
Published on April 12, 2007 by DM
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings... overall, a tad dissapointing
I have been a Genesis fan since I can recall. Needless to say, then, that I jumped of joy when I heard about this album: simply imagining Hackett reinterpreting some of my favorite... Read more
Published on June 8, 2006 by Manny Hernandez
4.0 out of 5 stars Best Live Genesis Album?
OK, OK, I know it is not a Genesis album as such, and that it is not live, but that's how it feels. And it IS the best thing to come out of the Genesis stable since The Lamb. Read more
Published on August 16, 2005 by Wild Hawkwind
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