70 Facts About Steve Howe


Stephen James Howe was born on 8 April 1947 and is an English musician, best known as the guitarist and backing vocalist in the progressive rock band Yes across three stints since 1970.


Steve Howe embarked on a music career in 1964, first playing in several London-based blues, covers, and psychedelic rock bands for six years, including the Syndicats, Tomorrow, and Bodast.


Many of their best-known songs were co-written by Steve Howe, who remained with the band until they briefly disbanded in 1981.


Steve Howe returned to the group in 1990 for two years and has remained a full-time member since 1995.


Steve Howe achieved further success in the 1980s and beyond as a member of the rock bands Asia, GTR, and Anderson Bruford Wakeman Steve Howe.


Steve Howe has had a prolific solo career, releasing 20 solo albums that achieved varied levels of success, and collaborating with artists such as Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Martin Taylor, and Queen.


Steve Howe continues to perform with Yes, as a member of his jazz group, the Steve Howe Trio, and as a solo act.

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Steve Howe was born on 8 April 1947 in the north London area of Holloway.


Steve Howe grew up in a middle-class family apartment with three older siblings, brothers Phillip and John, and sister Stella, the son of Cyril Howe, head chef at The Palmerston, a Bishopsgate restaurant, and his wife Ada.


Steve Howe cites several influences from his parents' record collection including Les Paul and Tennessee Ernie Ford, and listened to classical guitar and jazz, citing Barney Kessel as a primary influence.


Steve Howe credited Wes Montgomery and Chet Atkins, whom he first heard in 1959, as a major inspiration.


Steve Howe attended Holloway School, and later Barnsbury Boys' School in Islington, which he left in 1962, aged 15, after failing all his O-levels.


Steve Howe wished to own a guitar at age 10, but his parents did not buy him one until they selected one with him in 1959 at a shop in Kings Cross, London at age 12 for a Christmas present.


Steve Howe would stand by a window at home and mime his playing to passersby while music was playing indoors, until he began to teach himself without formal lessons or learning to read musical notation.


Steve Howe recalled the event as a disaster; the band did not rehearse or tune up, and Howe avoided stage performances for a while as a result.


Around 1961, Steve Howe bought a solid body Guyatone, his first electric guitar, which was followed with a Gibson ES-175D in 1964, one of the guitars that he later became most identified with.


Steve Howe left the shop when he began to pick up regular gigs.


In 1964, the 17-year-old Steve Howe became a member of his first professional band, the North London-based rhythm and blues group the Syndicats that formed the year prior and were produced by Joe Meek.


In 1965, Steve Howe left the band and accepted an invitation to join the In Crowd, a soul and covers band who often played in Tottenham and released a rendition of "That's How Strong My Love Is" by Otis Redding which went to No 48 on the UK singles chart in May 1965.


Steve Howe released the tracks for the proposed album after he obtained the recordings and remixed them himself as The Bodast Tapes.


An audition with Jethro Tull followed, but Steve Howe failed to turn up when he learned the guitarist they wanted would not contribute to the songwriting.


Steve Howe went on to buy Langley Farm, where the group had stayed.


Steve Howe's proficiency with a wide range of guitars, and his strong contributions to the songwriting, made him a prolific member who was an essential part of the band's change in musical direction towards progressive rock.


In 1971, Wakeman and Steve Howe had contributed to the recording of Lou Reed's self-titled debut album as session musicians, working together for the first time on this occasion.


Steve Howe recorded a mixture of solo and group performed tracks for Beginnings at Morgan and Advision Studios with producer Eddie Offord and performances from Bruford, Alan White and Patrick Moraz.

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Steve Howe continued with the band until Yes officially split up in early 1981.


In 1981, Steve Howe teamed with Downes, singer and bassist John Wetton, and drummer Carl Palmer to form the supergroup Asia.


Steve Howe is credited as composer on five of its nine tracks.


When it came to writing their second album Alpha, Steve Howe noticed a sense of staleness and that the songs were too direct and concise which disrupted the group's creativity and musical direction.


In 1983, after the album's release, Steve Howe left the group, citing irreconcilable differences with Wetton; he said later that Wetton, upon his return to the band after leaving it during the tour when the other members confronted him about his increasing mistakes on stage, told him he was uncomfortable continuing if Steve Howe remained in the band, and Downes and Palmer took Wetton's side.


Subsequently, Steve Howe performed an acoustic guitar solo on "Welcome to the Pleasuredome" on the 1984 same titled album by the pop group Frankie Goes to Hollywood that Horn produced.


Steve Howe played on Industry Standard by the Dregs.


Steve Howe contributed to Transportation, the first solo album by Billy Currie.


Later that year, Jon Anderson invited Steve Howe to take part in a new album he wished to perform with Rick Wakeman and Bill Bruford as a new group, Anderson Bruford Wakeman Steve Howe.


The tracks were recorded some time before, but Steve Howe had some difficulty in finding a record label who would release the album as the majority wanted it to include hit single.


Steve Howe recorded a cover of "Classical Gas" with Bruford, but the track was dropped as Steve Howe thought it did not attain the same standard as the rest of the album, which he described as "very real and original, as opposed to commercial".


Steve Howe contributed a flamenco guitar solo to the 1991 UK number one single "Innuendo" by Queen, something he felt proud to have played on.


Dylan was planned to only play on a few tracks, but Steve Howe decided to play on the entire album.


Steve Howe rejoined Yes for a third time in 1995 for the recording of Keys to Ascension and Keys to Ascension 2, the two double albums containing both live and studio tracks.


Since Keys to Ascension, Steve Howe has appeared on all the albums recorded by Yes.


On 24 May 1996, Steve Howe received an honorary doctorate in Musical Arts from Five Towns College in Dix Hills, New York.


Steve Howe added his guitar to two of the songs from Aura, released in 2001.


In July 1999, Steve Howe released his Bob Dylan covers album Portraits of Bob Dylan that features a variety of lead vocalists.


When Eagle Records suggested that Steve Howe produce an acoustic guitar album, Steve Howe accepted and recorded Natural Timbre which contains arrangements of three Yes tracks.


Steve Howe considered it a breakthrough in regard to his solo output due to the time required to write and arrange strong solos.

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In 2003 Steve Howe released Elements, featuring his sons Dylan and Virgil as part of Steve Howe's album Remedy.


In 2006, Steve Howe rejoined Asia when the original line-up reunited for a 25th anniversary tour.


In January 2013, Steve Howe announced his decision to leave the band and concentrate on Yes and solo endeavours.


The Steve Howe Trio has released two albums: a studio album, The Haunted Melody in 2008 and a live album, Travelling in 2010.


Steve Howe supported its release with a solo tour of the UK in April 2015.


Steve Howe teamed up with his son Virgil for new album Nexus, released on 17 November 2017.


Steve Howe released his new studio album Love Is in July 2020, his first in nine years.


Steve Howe became associated with the ES-175 and Gibson from the early days of his career.


The In Crowd was originally to be seen performing in Michelangelo Antonioni's influential 1966 film Blow-Up, and a prop version of Steve Howe's guitar was built for him to smash during that scene.


When on tour, Steve Howe has insisted on carrying the ES-175 with him however he travels.


Steve Howe has traveled on private jets and by land between shows to avoid having to check it, although he denies a rumour he bought the instrument its own seat on Concorde, noting that the cabin crew were accommodating enough to let him put it in the wardrobe in the passenger compartment.


Steve Howe used it for most of the tracks on Close to the Edge, with a Gibson BR-9 steel guitar and a Danelectro Coral Sitar guitar on some sections.


For Relayer Steve Howe used exclusively Fender guitars, primarily a 1955 Telecaster with a Gibson humbucking pickup.


Steve Howe played a diverse array of guitars on the next Yes album, Going for the One, including, on "Awaken" the album's longest track, a Rickenbacker electric 12-string, pedal steel and the Telecaster.


Steve Howe switched to a Stratocaster for "Parallels" and a Gibson L-5 on the fadeout of "Wonderous Stories", as an homage to Wes Montgomery.


Steve Howe would bring multiple guitars on tour with him to re-create the same sound in concert that was on the original recording.


Steve Howe has long been interested in the details of the recording process.


Steve Howe was the band's sole producer of The Quest and Mirror to the Sky.


Steve Howe was voted "Best Overall Guitarist" in Guitar Player magazine five years in a row and in 1981 was the first rock guitar player inducted into the Guitar Player Hall of Fame.


Steve Howe received a Prog God award at the 2018 Progressive Music Awards in September.

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Steve Howe gave birth to his son Dylan in 1969, while living in London.


In 1972, Steve Howe became a vegetarian; since then, he and his wife have embraced the macrobiotic diet.


Steve Howe avoids taking unnecessary pharmaceutical drugs, preferring alternative medicine and homeopathy.


Steve Howe ate his last meat meal during a North American tour with Yes in 1971.


Steve Howe has practiced Transcendental Meditation daily since adopting it in 1983.