Steve Hackett has been celebrating his tenure in Genesis with full-album performances of the '70s-era triumphs like Foxtrot. Despite their subsequent split, he looks back fondly on the music they made together, describing it as a "golden era."

"There's no doubt about the camaraderie of a band when everyone is swinging together and there's virtual telepathy going on," Hackett tells Classic Rock. "Those moments are irreplaceable and I had that with Genesis. There were certain moments where the music was literally writing itself."

Hackett joined in time for 1971's Nursery Cryme. Foxtrot was followed by a run of four consecutive gold-selling albums, highlighted by 1973's Selling England by the Pound and 1974's The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. Hackett released a solo album, 1975's Voyage of the Acolyte, before leaving in the wake of 1976's Wind and Wuthering.

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"There was an aspect of claustrophobia that invaded my time with Genesis," Hackett said, "and I had to work outside the band. I think if you're feeling creative and you've got that album or that book or that film inside you, you don't want to let it fester. You've got to get it out there."

Of course, Genesis went on to become a pop-culture sensation as every subsequent Phil Collins-led LP went platinum or multiplatinum. Yet Hackett doesn't regret leaving.

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"If you look at it purely in financial terms, you would have said, 'Yeah, but you could afford Buckingham Palace by now if you'd stayed with the band," Hackett admits. "But on the other hand, music is its own currency. It's what nourishes you, if you need to do it."

Other than short periods of collaboration with figures like Steve Howe and Chris Squire, Hackett has remained a solo act. His last six releases have reached the British Top 40 – including his latest, The Circus and the Nightwhale.

"Genesis was becoming a little bit too much of a closed shop and it was affecting my ability to sleep," he says. "I agonized over leaving the band for a good two years and then I thought, 'No, I've got to make a leap of faith at this point in time.' And there's no doubt that I made the right decision."

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Gallery Credit: Nick DeRiso

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