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Beck

Initially pegged as the voice of a generation when "Loser" turned into a smash crossover success, Beck wound up crystallizing much of the postmodern ruckus inherent in the '90s alternative explosion, but in unexpected ways. Based in the underground anti-folk and noise-rock worlds, Beck encompassed all manner of modern music, drawing in hip-hop, blues, trash rock, pop, soul, lounge music -- pretty much any found sound or vinyl dug up from a dusty crate -- blurring boundaries and encapsulating how '90s hipsters looked toward the future by foraging through the past. In another time, Beck may have stayed in the province of the underground, but he surfaced just as alternative rock turned mainstream, with his 1994 debut Mellow Gold launching "Loser," a hit that crossed over with the velocity of a novelty, a notion Beck quickly punctured with a succession of indie LPs delivered in the wake of Mellow Gold, including the lo-fi folk of One Foot in the Grave, delivered on the K imprint. But the album that truly cemented Beck's place in the pantheon was 1996's Odelay, a co-production with the Dust Brothers that touched upon all of his obsessions, providing a cultural keystone for the decade while telegraphing all his future moves, from the soul prankster of Midnite Vultures to the melancholy troubadour of Sea Change.

Fittingly, Beck came from a distinctly artistic background, the son of string arranger/conductor David Campbell and Bibbe Hansen, a regular at Andy Warhol's Factory whose father was a pivotal contributor to the Fluxus art movement. Adopting the Hansen surname after his father left, Beck grew up in Los Angeles, dropping out of school in the tenth grade to play as a street busker and attend poetry slams. Bashing out blues and folk, Beck wound up assembling a home tape called The Banjo Story before departing for New York, where he operated on the margins of the anti-folk scene without ever breaking into it.

He returned to Los Angeles, where he continued to play clubs, eventually gaining the attention of Bong Load Records, an independent operated by Tom Rothrock and Rob Schnapf. All parties agreed to pair Beck's fledgling folk with hip-hop beats assembled by producer Karl Stephenson, whose kitchen provided the studio for their first efforts, including "Loser." These tapes remained unreleased as Beck recorded an album's worth of material with Calvin Johnson for the latter's K label, but the first release Beck had was the Flipside single "MTV Makes Me Want to Smoke Crack" and Sonic Enemy's cassette release of Golden Feelings. But what really broke the doors open was Bong Load's 12" single of "Loser," which garnered considerable play in L.A., coinciding with increased underground attention. Soon, Beck signed with Geffen, striking a deal that allowed him to release on independent labels. One of these immediately followed -- Fingerpaint released a 10" record A Western Harvest Field by Moonlight in January 1994 -- before the Geffen debut Mellow Gold appeared in March of 1994.

Naturally, "Loser" was the lead single from Mellow Gold and it turned into an instant smash, boasting a hook that worked as an ironic underground rallying cry and a novelty crossover. Despite many positive reviews, Beck worked overtime to dispel the notion he was a novelty, quickly releasing two indie albums in succession: the noise-skronk Stereopathetic Soul Manure and One Foot in the Grave. Stereopathetic made few waves, but the stripped-back, folky One Foot in the Grave acted as a counterbalance to the gonzo Mellow Gold, illustrating the depths of his talents.

After a furious 1994, Beck laid relatively low in 1995, touring with the fifth Lollapalooza in between working on a new album with the production team the Dust Brothers, who had collaborated with the Beastie Boys on their landmark 1989 Paul's Boutique. The resulting album, Odelay, appeared in June 1996, preceded by the lanky, funky single "Where It's At," which would go on to win the Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal. Odelay piled up acclaim and hits -- "Devil's Haircut," "Jack-A**," and "The New Pollution" all charted around the world -- and the record went double platinum, becoming a touchstone of '90s alternative rock. An outtake from the album, "Deadweight," appeared on the soundtrack to Danny Boyle's 1997 film A Life Less Ordinary, then Beck set to work on his next album with producer Nigel Godrich, who had just worked with Radiohead on OK Computer. Their collaboration, originally slated for an indie release but moved to Geffen, thereby setting a precedent where no future Beck LP would be released on an indie (something worked out in the courts the following year), traded futuristic rock -- either the joyous collage of Odelay or the dystopia of OK Computer -- for a quiet, pulsating, psychedelic folk-rock album called Mutations. Riding high on Odelay, the album charted well without turning out any major hits, although it did garner a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Performance.

Beck took another abrupt change in musical direction in 1999 with Midnite Vultures, a garish party record that was part satire and part salute to soul and funk, particularly Prince. Reviews were divided between ecstatic and skeptical, but the album had some real hits with "Sexx Laws" and "Deborah," and in some ways it was the apex of Beck's hipster prankster phase, a persona he shed with his next album, 2002's Sea Change. Recorded in the wake of a romantic breakup, Sea Change was another Godrich production, but it was gentle and mournful, lacking some of the gritty underpinnings of Mutations yet retaining the psychedelia -- and that psychedelic edge was brought out in the supporting tour when Beck hired the Flaming Lips as his supporting band. The tour was well-eceived but there were some tensions, as reported by Lips leader Wayne Coyne later.

After an extended break -- the longest he had taken between albums to date -- Beck returned in 2005 with Guero, an album that reunited him with the Dust Brothers and consciously evoked Odelay. Guero launched a few hits, including "E-Pro" and "Hell Yes," and was followed within months by Guerolito, a remixed version of the entire album. Beck continued in this direction the following year with The Information, but its Nigel Godrich production kept the album streamlined and emphasized the darker undercurrents in the songs. Some of that darkness could be heard on his eighth album, Modern Guilt, a 2008 release produced by Danger Mouse, marking his first time in 14 years that he worked with a producer who wasn't the Dust Brothers or Godrich.

Modern Guilt performed respectably -- it debuted at eight on the U.S. Billboard charts and received strong reviews -- but he spent the next several years relatively quiet.

In 2009, Beck began actively pursuing a career as a producer, collaborating with Charlotte Gainsbourg on her acclaimed IRM album; two years later, he produced Thurston Moore's Demolished Thoughts and Mirror Traffic by Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks. He also dipped his toe back into solo recording on the soundtrack to the 2010 Edgar Wright film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Still, between 2009 and 2010 much of his studio energy was devoted to his Record Club, where he and a loose collective of friends covered classic albums in their entirety; the albums covered included The Velvet Underground & Nico, The Songs of Leonard Cohen, and INXS' Kick.

Beck returned to original material in 2012 via Song Reader, a collection of sheet music featuring 20 new, unrecorded songs; although he didn't record versions of these songs, he did appear at Song Reader concerts featuring other musicians (and a collection of those live performances was eventually released under his name). Early in 2014, Beck released Morning Phase, his first new album in nearly six years and first album for Capitol Records. Described by the singer/songwriter as a "companion piece" to 2002's Sea Change, it was released in February 2014, preceded by the singles "Blue Moon" and "Waking Light." Critical reception was largely positive, and the album peaked at number two on the Billboard charts. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Beck

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Track List: Blue Moon (Single)

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Track List: Defriended (Single)

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Track List: Gimme (Single)

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Track List: I Just Started Hating Some People Today (Single)

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Track List: I Won't Be Long (Single)

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Track List: Looking For A Sign (Single)

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Track List: Timebomb (Radio Single)

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Track List: Waking Light (Single)

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Track List: Wave (Single)

Comments

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nerds
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lesbiaperez4 1 1 4
I agree #welsh.bryan n a
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I love Beck-I miss Beck!
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LOVE!
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dwstein1
Beck rules.
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The Growth of Western Democracies

Great Britain managed to avoid revolution by enacting various reforms at home and in some of its colonies.
The Reform Act of 1832 lowered the amount of property English citizens had to own to qualify to vote.
In 1867, Parliament passed a law allowing all male householders to vote.
In some of its colonies, Great Britain allowed people a degree of self-governm e n t .
In 1803, the Louisiana Purchase doubled the size of the United States.
Many Americans believed in Ma
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Passing the doo chee
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Love Beck
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Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will be injured (but you won't die) in two days. Now you started reading this so don't stop. Post this on at least five songs in the next 143 minutes. When you're done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters. This is so scary because it actually worksDon't read this because it ac
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Classic song by beck F**K Kayne West!!!
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Ik right I have always loved beck though
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saw MGMT open for Beck at the Hollywood Bowl in 2006 or 2007. amazeballs
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loved beck since hfs
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welsh.bryann a
It seems like nobody knew of Beck before the Grammy's which kinda pisses me off, because now everyone is like OMG I LOVE BECK and then all of the people that actually liked him before just stares at them like stfu
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welsh.bryann a
Looking at all the comments, and it literally only consists of Kanye...
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I'm a looser baby
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jasmineg5951 3
Kiss left hand say crush name close hand pick school day post this 15 times he will ask u out Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will be injured (but you won't die) in two days. Now you started reading this so don't stop. Post this on at least five songs in the next 143 minutes. When you're done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the
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Check out MC 900 ft Jesus. Was kinda Beck before Beck, started in late 80s
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jrgillis63
In a nut shell beck is awesome! Kanye is soundcheck
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I
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Don't read this because it really works. You will be kissed by the love of your life on the nearest possible Friday. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. But if you don't post this you die in two days. Now you have started reading so don't stop. Put this on at leats 5 songs in 143 minutes and when done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters. It's scary because it works
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to everyone complaining about kanye he is WAY BETTER than beck a thousand fold!!!!!!!! ! . . . . . . . . . . . . . S A I D NO ONE EVER!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
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Beck had triple platinum albums before before that wannabe wrapper even decided to make crap music.
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Beck at his best
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dezibkool
GTFO Kanye. You have nothing on Beck ��
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I lost hope with attitude adjustment
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Love Beck
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Kanye is a jackals for what he does.
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Kanye = computers, autotune, team of producers.
Beck = real instrumentat i o n , real composing, real melodies and lyrics.

Beck = True Artist
Kanye= Self absorbed, non-talented , narcissistic a**hole.
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I hate how mainstream music only leaves room for the McDonalds of music.
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mjhammers42
Well Deserved Win for Best Album.
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sacredfun6
Loser still sounds fresh 20 yrs later... my little kids would dance around and sing it. Beck is very deserving. Kanye is also musically awesome, too bad such a narcissist dickhead
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thatmcrkid99
Lyrical genius.
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I'll say again Beck sucks
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I've been listening to Beck since god knows when. Kanye is a fool. It was funny seeing how he embarrassed himself once again! Beck is the man
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slimlucas14
F..k ya best album of the year
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Congrats to Beck! Well deserved! It's nice to see the Grammy go to a TRULY talented artist musician!
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hcdeschneide r
Thanks Kanye for making EVERYONE know about Beck! Thanks for the free advertising!
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Kanye plays how many instruments?
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nicko252008
BECK rules! To all the dips**t's with the grammys comments, Phuck Kayne and Beyoncé there talentless. If you need to watch an awards show to tell you what is good, your a moron. ROCK ON BECK!
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I am amazed to see some of these comments. Music doesn't conform to what they listen to, there is a lot of variety out there. Mature!
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So glad Beck was finally recognized at the Grammys. This guy has done way, way more for music than just 'Loser' in the 90s (though that's what he's most often known for).
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brittneyyvon n e
Well I never heard of him until the Grammy and I heard him and Chris Martin. So whom ever was behind him getting the album of the year? I guess this was the best placed to get recognized. After this I am sure he will be well known. What is trash rock?
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This man is one of the most talented genius artists to come of our generation. Great for him getting a Grammy. He deserves it and then some.
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How the f**k did this dude get album of the year. I've only heard one song by this dude and it came out in the 90's. Oh and rock album of the year, how do you call this dudes new stuff rock?
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I don't get how he got the Grammy, but I must respect him for getting it in the first place.
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I really think Beck should give his grammy to Beyoncé...
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So to recap, willy, make no mistake that every one instantly realizes that you are a very low IQ Idiot simpleton who needs to return to the kiddie table and let the adults handle things. And as for you enzotheblahb l a h 9 9 , you are a certifiable hyperphyco mega racist who should go back to pillow biting with your fellow klansmen! Freak.
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Well willy, that makes you a gigantically colossal mega moron who obviously has no idea what great music & enormous talent are. Go back to listening to Micky Mouse club music & the like, which must be, apparently, your usual fare. Beck is an absolute musical genius and most people, even those with smaller IQ's usually recognize that. Though obviously not all do!
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Nothing about Beck that I like he SUCKS
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