Voyage of the Acolyte

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Voyage of the Acolyte
Studio album by
ReleasedOctober 1975
RecordedJune–July 1975
StudioKingsway Recorders, Kingsway, London
GenreProgressive rock
LabelCharisma (UK, Europe and Japan)
Chrysalis (US)
Steve Hackett chronology
Voyage of the Acolyte
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Voyage of the Acolyte is the first studio album by English guitarist, songwriter, and singer Steve Hackett, released in October 1975 on Charisma Records as his only album recorded and released while he was a member of Genesis. Hackett recorded the album during a break in group activity in mid-1975 and used guest musicians, including Genesis bassist Mike Rutherford and drummer Phil Collins, to play on the record. It has a loose concept with the title and lyrics of each track inspired by a Tarot card.

Voyage of the Acolyte reached No. 26 in the UK and No. 191 in the US. It was reissued in 2005 with bonus tracks. A surround upmix of the album is included in Premonitions: The Charisma Recordings 1975–1983 (2015).

Background and writing[edit]

By 1975, Hackett had been the guitarist in the progressive rock band Genesis for four years. He began to write sections of different songs while recording albums with Genesis, specifically at moments when his "services weren't really called upon, and I found I had a lot of spare time".[2] By this time, Hackett had become increasingly frustrated with the band's packed touring schedule, which had affected his creativity, and had a growing desire to work with a new set of musicians. He had written pieces without any specific project in mind, including those for instruments other than the guitar and another for a female vocalist, but after a while of this he had assembled enough ideas to form an album.[3] Development was put on hold in late 1974 due to Genesis touring commitments with their album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974), but Hackett remained productive and continued to write in his hotel room each night which kept him "sane" and help calm his stage nerves.[2]

When it came to a direction of the album, Hackett thought of a loose concept from his newfound interest in Tarot cards, which he used to title the album's tracks, and their lyrics, based on various cards in a deck.[3] He took the cards that had conjured the strongest feeling and "mapped out a way of working",[2] such as having "Star of Sirius" a "poppy" track to reflect the optimism that the corresponding Tarot card depicts.[3] A track left off the album was one named "The Fool", which had Hackett play in a style similar to that of Pete Townshend to a song that was like "ELO meets The Who", but he chose not to use it.[2] Some of Hackett's material originated from his pre-Genesis days.[3] Hackett had convinced Genesis to rehearse "Shadow of the Hierophant" as a potential song for Foxtrot, but it fell through.[4] It also marked a first collaboration with his brother John on an album, which has continued through Steve Hackett's solo career.[2] The album also signified Hackett's first attempts at playing keyboards,[3] and aimed for an album that had a more layered sound.[5]

The album's original title was Premonitions, but management at Charisma disliked it and suggested Voyage of the Acolyte, to which Hackett agreed.[6]


Hackett recorded Voyage of the Acolyte in June and July 1975, starting one month after Genesis had finished touring their double concept album, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. Recording was completed in four weeks[2] at Kingsway Recorders, then located in Kingsway, central London.

The album's cover is a Chinese watercolour painting by Brazilian artist Kim Poor,[7][8] whom Hackett later married and who produced many of his subsequent album covers. Hackett dedicated Voyage of the Acolyte to Poor.[7]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Steve Hackett, except where indicated.[7]

Side one
1."Ace of Wands" 5:23
2."Hands of the Priestess, Part I" 3:28
3."A Tower Struck Down"Steve Hackett, John Hackett4:53
4."Hands of the Priestess, Part II" 1:31
5."The Hermit" 4:49
Side two
6."Star of Sirius" 7:08
7."The Lovers" 1:50
8."Shadow of the Hierophant"Steve Hackett, Mike Rutherford11:44
Bonus tracks
9."Ace of Wands" (Live) 6:32
10."Shadow of the Hierophant" (Extended Playout Version)Steve Hackett, Rutherford17:01


Credits are adapted from the album's original liner notes.[7]



  • Steve Hackett – producer, arrangements
  • John Acock – producer, engineer
  • Rob Broglia – assistant engineer
  • Paul Watkins – assistant engineer
  • Louie Austin – assistant engineer (8)
  • Tex Read – equipment
  • Geoff Banks – equipment
  • Steve Baker – equipment
  • Tony Smith – organization
  • Alex Sim – organization
  • Kim Poor – cover artwork
  • Philip Lloyd-Smee – CD design
  • Barry Plummer – photography


  1. ^ DeGagne (2011). "Voyage of the Acolyte – Steve Hackett | AllMusic". Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Welch, Chris (18 October 1975). "Painter of sound pictures..." Melody Maker. p. 34. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e Clarke, Steve (25 October 1975). "Are you ready for a concept LP about the Tarot?". New Musical Express. p. 32. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  4. ^ Golder, Paul (2014). "Steve Hackett talks about Genesis, touring and his new album". Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  5. ^ Smith, Robin (28 April 1978). "It's all in the cards". Record Mirror. p. 22. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  6. ^ Powell, Mark (2015). Premonitions: The Charisma Recordings 1975–1983 (Media notes). Hackett, Steve. Universal Music Catalogue/Virgin Records. 474-141-4.
  7. ^ a b c d Voyage of the Acolyte (Media notes). Steve Hackett. Charisma Records. 1975. CAS 1111.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  8. ^ "Kim Poor - Voyage of the Acolyte". Archived from the original on 11 April 2008. Retrieved 20 August 2018.