Please Don't Touch
|Please Don't Touch!|
|Studio album by Steve Hackett|
|Recorded||Nov. 1977-Feb. 1978 at Cherokee Studios, Kingsway and Record Plant, De Lane Lea Studios|
|Genre||Progressive rock, art rock|
|Label||Charisma Records (UK)
Chrysalis Records (US)
|Producer||Steve Hackett, John Acock|
|Steve Hackett chronology|
The album featured several guests including R&B singer Randy Crawford on "Hoping Love Will Last", American folk icon Richie Havens on two songs, the drummer and vocalist for the progressive rock band Kansas (Phil Ehart and Steve Walsh respectively), Frank Zappa alumnus Tom Fowler, Genesis concert drummer Chester Thompson (also a Zappa alumnus), and Van der Graaf violinist Graham Smith.
Please Don't Touch! was the first solo album that Hackett released after leaving Genesis during the mixing of the 1977 live album Seconds Out.
Hackett had previously released a solo album, Voyage of the Acolyte, while still a member of Genesis, but he was frustrated by the collaborative process of Genesis which left much of his creative work unreleased. He wrote a song, "Please Don't Touch", that Genesis rehearsed but ended up setting aside, partly because the other members of the band did not want to use it. He also wrote a second song, "Hoping Love Will Last", that he felt was appropriate only for a female singer, which was something that the band could not use. Eventually, the track Wot Gorilla? was decided on as the last track on the first side of Wind and Wuthering, and this decision sealed Hackett's decision on leaving Genesis. Hackett quit Genesis and began to record the album Please Don't Touch, using the rejected Genesis song as the title track.
"Narnia" is based on the children's book "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" by C.S. Lewis. Singer Steve Walsh and drummer Phil Ehart of the American rock band Kansas appear on the song. According to Hackett in the liner notes of the 2005 re-release, "Narnia" had been considered as a possible single. "Unfortunately," Hackett stated, "we weren't allowed to release the version featuring Steve on vocals as his record company objected. No-one at Charisma felt the alternative version [a version with vocalist John Perry and a bonus track on the 2005 remaster] was strong enough to release as a single without Steve's contribution."
"Carry On Up the Vicarage" is a musical tribute to Agatha Christie. It features vocals from Hackett himself. The vocals during most of the song consist of a double line of an artificially high pitched voice and an artificially low pitched one. Hackett has often used similar distorting effects on his vocals in his solo career.
"Racing in A" also features Steve Walsh on vocals. The song is electric for most of its duration, but the last 1:15 is a classical guitar piece which decreases in pace throughout, finishing on a relaxing note to set up for the fully acoustic instrumental track "Kim". Which consists of Steve Hackett on classical guitar with his brother John on flute, it was largely inspired by Erik Satie's "Gymnopédie No 1" and is a musical tribute to his then wife, Kim Poor.
"How Can I?" is the last track on side one of the original vinyl. It is a slow song which features Richie Havens on vocals.
Side two of the vinyl consists of a suite of songs which flow directly into each other. It begins with "Hoping Love Will Last" with Randy Crawford on vocals. It has a heavy R&B/soul influence but with some classical style guitar parts as well as atmospheric sections featuring synthesisers. The second of these sections segues into "Land of a Thousand Autumns", an instrumental, atmospheric track which contains references to the main theme of the title track. A sudden drum fill leads into the next track.
"Please Don't Touch" itself is an instrumental track with many time signature changes that features prominent use of Hackett's Roland GR-500 Guitar Synthesiser. The track was originally offered by Hackett to Genesis for Wind and Wuthering, but was rejected by the rest of the band. This rejection contributed to Hackett's eventual decision to leave Genesis in 1977. The track was written as a variation on the main theme heard in the Wind and Wuthering track "Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers...". This theme was also eventually incorporated into the song "Hackett to Bits", which was included on the 1985 GTR album featuring Yes guitarist Steve Howe. Owing to the Genesis connection, Hackett included a re-recording of "Please Don't Touch" in his 2012 album Genesis Revisited II.
"Please Don't Touch" abruptly transitions into "The Voice of Necam". This track also features references to the "Please Don't Touch" theme at the beginning, but in the middle it becomes more of an ambient piece featuring a computer called Necam. The last 1:20 of the track is a classical guitar piece backed by the aforementioned computerised chords.
"Icarus Ascending" is the last track on the album and is sung by Richie Havens.
The cover was designed by the artist Kim Poor, as were many of Hackett's album covers. It shows a Victorian couple being attacked by automata in a toy shop. This became the inspiration for a scene in Blade Runner, where the character Rick Deckard (played by Harrison Ford) is attacked in a flat full of replicant toys.
All tracks written by Steve Hackett.
- "Narnia" – 4:05
- "Carry On Up the Vicarage" – 3:11
- "Racing in A" – 5:07
- "Kim" – 2:13
- "How Can I?" – 4:38
- "Hoping Love Will Last" – 4:23
- "Land of a Thousand Autumns" – 1:38
- "Please Don't Touch" – 3:39
- "The Voice of Necam" – 3:11
- "Icarus Ascending" – 6:27
2005 remaster bonus tracks
- "Narnia" (John Perry vocal) – 3:36
- "Land of 1000 Autumns / Please Don't Touch (live)" – 7:53
- "Narnia" (Alternate version w/Steve Walsh vocal) – 4:30
- The original CD release had two seconds of silence between "Land of a Thousand Autumns" and "Please Don't Touch." This was a mistake that was corrected on the remastered version.
- Steve Hackett – Electric guitar, acoustic guitar, Roland GR-500 Guitar Synthesizer, vocals (2), backing vocals (1, 3, 9, 10), keyboards, percussion
- John Hackett – flute, piccolo, bass pedals, keyboards
- John Acock – keyboards, engineer
- James Bradley – percussion
- Phil Ehart – drums, percussion
- Tom Fowler – bass
- Richie Havens – vocals (5, 10), percussion
- Dave Lebolt – keyboards
- Hugh Malloy – cello
- Graham Smith – violin
- Chester Thompson – drums, percussion
- Steve Walsh – vocals (1, 3)
- Maria Bonvino – guest female soprano (6)
- Randy Crawford – vocals (6)
- Feydor – vocals on "The Voice of Necam"
- Dan Owen, Dale Newman – guest vocals on "Icarus Ascending"
- Connolly, D. "Please Don't Touch! – Steve Hackett | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
- Collins, Phil; Banks, Tony; Gabriel, Peter; Mike Rutheford; Steve Hackett (2007). Genesis: Chapter and Verse. Macmillan. pp. 183, 186. ISBN 0312379560.
- "Genesis Revisited and Remembered". hackettsongs.com. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
- "Please Don't Touch by Kim Poor". Kim Poor Jewellery. Retrieved 6 June 2014.