Remembering Jeff Beck (1944 - 2023)

 Geoffrey Arnold Beck was born June 24th, 1944, in Wallington, London. He became known as Jeff Beck & would be one of the greatest rock & roll guitarists of all time. He was also one of the first rock guitarist to achieve that kind of star status.

Yard Birds: In 1965 he joined the Yardbirds replacing Eric Clapton. The Yardbirds originally wanted to recruit Jimmy Page, but he wasn't interested at that time & recommended Beck for the position. 

In his short time with Yardbirds he recorded the album Roger the Engineer also known in the US as Over Under Sideways Down. The song by the same name was a psychedelic/blues hit putting Beck in the spotlight as it is still considered one of the best guitar songs of all time.

Beck only lasted 20 months in the Yardbirds, in that time Jimmy Page joined the group to play
bass. The famous line up appeared in the 1966 drama mystery movie Blow Up. In that film they play Stroll On a modified version of Train Kept A Rollin'.

Becks Bolero: That same year he recorded the classic instrumental Beck's Bolero with Jimmy Page on 12 string rhythm guitar, Keith Moon on drums, John Paul Jones on bass & Nicky Hopkins on the piano. The piece was considered one of rocks all-time best instrumental works. It didn't see the light of day until ten months after it was recorded. It first appeared on Becks first solo single Hi Ho Silver Lining. Beck was a superstar in England & becoming one in the US as well.

Jeff Beck Group: In 1967 he formed the Jeff Beck Group, fronted by singer Rod Stewart, future Rolling Stone Ron Wood on bass & Ansly Dunbar on drums. They released the legendary album Truth in 1968 & it went to #15 on the Billboard chars. 

A successful tour followed. The classic album drew attention to all the members who all went on to stardom. With its mixture of hard rock & heavy blues it is sometimes looked at as an early Heavy Metal work.

The album featured covers of the Yardbirds Shapes of Things, Willie Dixon's You Shook Me, released before the Led Zepplin version, Morning Dew, Ol Man River, Greensleeves, & the classic I Ain't Superstitious. Beck's Bolero was included & gave it more exposer.

The groups second album Beck-Ola was released in 1969, it featured covers of Elvis' Jailhouse
Rock & my favorite version of All Shook Up. The band were supposed to play Woodstock & are even listed on the billing posters, but friction in the band led to a breakup. According to Rod Stewart he claimed the flaky Jeff Beck was the reason for the no show.

After the Jeff Beck Group disbanded, Beck was asked to join both the Rolling Stones to replace Brian Jones & Pink Floyd to replace Syd Barrett. But Beck declined both offers.

In the 1970's Beck continued the Jeff Beck Group with new members, he had a successful solo career as well with classic albums like Wired (1976) as well as There & Back (1980). He also teamed up with Vanilla Fudge alumni Carmine Appice & Tim Bogert for Beck, Appice & Bogert which was another highly acclaimed musical success.

Beck appeared with Eric Clapton at the Amnesty International, Secret Policeman Ball & ARMs benefit Concerts as well as on Clapton's Crosswords album. 

Honey Drippers: In 1984 he appeared on the EP the Honey Drippers, with Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, Nile Rogers, Paul Schaffer & Dave Weckl & Wayne Pedzwater. The album features five 1950's classics with Beck playing on the FM radio hit Rockin at Midnight & I Got A Woman.

In 1985 his album Flash featured a reunion with Rod Sewart covering the Curtis Mayfield classic People Get Ready. It was so successful a tour was planned but Beck dropped out after just a few shows.

Beck gave the induction speech for Rod Stewart at the Rock & Roll Hall of fame claiming the two

have a love / hate relationship. In the 1990s Beck recorded & performed with the likes of Jon Bon Jovi, Kate Bush, Guns & Roses, Roger Waters, Paul Rogers & Jennifer Baten. He contributed to the film scores of Young Guns II, Days of Thunder & Turismo 4

Beck has won three Grammy Awards as well as being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with the Yardbirds & a solo artist. In the 2000's he performed with numerous artists as well such as Brian Wilson, Imelda May, Joss Stone, Herbie Hancock, Johnnie Depp & Ozzy Osbourne.

On occasion he has reunited with Rod Stewart, like appearing together at the Hollywood Bowl in 2019. Beck has also frequently collaborated with Jimmy Page.

In 2005 he married his wife Sandra Cash.

Jeff Beck has inspired generations of guitarist & is considered one of the greatest of all time.

Passing: On January 11th, 2023, he passed away from bacterial meningitis. He was 78 years old.


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