Fifty-one years ago, Steve Hackett attended a King Crimson show he will never forget.

"They spearheaded the progressive genre, and I was inspired by their leap into a whole selection of exciting and varied numbers," Hackett responds when I ask him to name the best concert he attended. "In the middle of the show, Greg Lake announced that man had just landed on the moon for the first time. They then went on to play 'Epitaph.' What an extraordinary moment that was, with us all pondering on the contrast between man’s great achievements and the chasm that greedy shortsightedness can lead us towards."

That King Crimson performance in 1969 influenced Hackett musically more than any concert he attended. Two years later, he joined Genesis as the group's lead guitarist and, with bandmates Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks, created, arguably, the supergroup's greatest albums: prog-rock classics Foxtrot, Genesis Live, Selling England by the Pound and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. Hackett left Genesis after its 1977 Wind & Wuthering album, and his accomplishments since have been plentiful, including a critically acclaimed solo career with more than 25 albums and a short stint in GTR with Yes guitarist Steve Howe.

Hackett tells me he recalls another concert in the 1960s that influenced his musicianship.

"Paul Butterfield's band blew me away," he says. "This was an earlier era (before the King Crimson show), when I was still getting to grips with playing music. I was struck by the power of electric guitar, as well as the dynamic impact of Butterfield’s harmonica."

Hackett provides a definitive response when I ask him which three albums are the best ones he has listened to.

"Segovia Plays Bach," he says, "because it shows the quality of Bach’s compositions alongside the exquisite beauty and strength of Segovia’s acoustic guitar. The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is full of variety, quirkiness, romance and surprise. Miles Davis’ Live-Evil, with its rhythmic carnage, tears up the rule book and is totally out there!"

Exploring numerous musical genres, including rock, jazz, world music, blues and classical, Hackett may also have torn up the rule books. I mention to him that he has an incredible resume with so many great live performances and so many great records, and ask him to sum up his artistic contributions.

He points to an advertisement he placed in the British publication Melody Maker in 1970 in pursuit of a band to join.

"To quote my ad which caught Peter Gabriel’s eye and led to me joining Genesis, I have always been keen to 'strive beyond existing stagnant music forms,' " Hackett says. "I’ve always viewed music as an exciting adventure, blending genres and worldwide influences and taking ideas forward. It’s been a lifetime of exploration, and I continue to enjoy the varied repertoire."

I ask Hackett how his guitar playing has progressed through the years — from his first album as a member of Genesis, Nursery Cryme, until today.

"My guitar playing became more fluid and expressive over time," he says. "I’ve also perfected the tapping and sweep picking which I discovered. I’ve become a more confident player with a much wider selection of sounds."

Which of the many songs he has written make him most proud?

"I still feel very happy with 'Every Day,' and each time I play it, the guitar feels as if it’s flying," Hackett responds. "I was always proud of 'Camino Royale,' which was inspired by a powerful dream. It morphs between different scenes and vibes. From recent times, I’m particularly proud of 'Those Golden Wings,' which has an epic feel, goes through several changes and comes directly from the heart."

Hackett says he enjoys playing Genesis songs, as well as songs from his solo albums, during his shows.

"The Genesis music was such an important part of the music I’ve been involved with over time, and fans are keen to hear the Genesis music," he says. "But I always love to include material from my past solo catalog and my latest solo albums. It’s the fountain of my personal inspiration and has been very well received."

Hackett now co-writes songs with his wife, author Jo Lehmann, whom he married in 2011. Books are a "rich source of inspiration," and "life itself gives him ideas," he says on his website.

Hackett "enjoys the experiences of his travels even more than ever as he explores many places with Jo," according to the website. "The moment he sees the Sphinx or a sunset over the Coliseum his notebook is out instantly, and the notes start to flow."