Two time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Jeff Beck passed away last week from a bacterial infection. Beck’s long career included time in the Yardbirds, his own Jeff Beck Group plus recording and touring appearances with artists ranging from Stanley Clarke, Tina Turner and ZZ Top.
Beck heard his first electric guitar on the radio as a six year old with Les Paul performing How High the Moon. When his mom told him it was an electric guitar and it was all tricks he replied “That’s for me”.
In college Beck played in several groups and got his introduction to R&B via the Rolling Stone’s Ian Stewart. Beck discovered his skill of playing a wide range of styles with his band the Nightshifts, which covered many different artists. In 1965 Beck was recruited to replace Eric Clapton in the Yardbirds after a recommendation from Jimmy Page who was the groups first choice. His 20 month tenure in the band was productive with most of the groups most successful songs recorded during that time.
Jeff Beck was dismissed from the Yardbirds in 1966 and moved on with his Jeff Beck Group, which included Ronie Wood, Rod Stewart, Ansley Dunbar and Nicky Hopkins. They recorded two albums before resentment and touring incidents led to the group disbanding. In the latter part of the 60s, Beck was considered as a replacement guitarist in both Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones.
In the 70’s a new Jeff Beck Group appeared with albums recorded at some iconic US studios in Detroit and Memphis.Beck displayed his guitar skills through several albums recorded with a variety of soul, jazz and rock musicians.
In the 80’s Beck appeared with Eric Clapton in a series of historic live performance in benefit for Amnesty International called The Secret Policeman’s Other Ball. His 90’s work included recordings with Jon Bon Jovi. His appearance with Guns N’ Roses was canceled when Beck became temporarily deaf during rehearsals.
In the 2000s Beck won his third Grammy and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his solo work. The 2010s saw Beck receive two honorary degrees and work closely with Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys on his new material. Touring with Brian Wilson was something Jeff Beck described as ‘a complete honor’. Beck’s last work was released in June – a collaboration on two tracks from the latest Ozzy Osbourne album.