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Jeff Beck

While he was as innovative as Jimmy Page, as tasteful as Eric Clapton, and nearly as visionary as Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck never achieved the same commercial success as any of those contemporaries, primarily because of the haphazard way he approached his career. After Rod Stewart left the Jeff Beck Group in 1971, Beck never worked with a charismatic lead singer who could have helped sell his music to a wide audience. Furthermore, he was simply too idiosyncratic, moving from heavy metal to jazz fusion within a blink of an eye. As his career progressed, he became more fascinated by automobiles than guitars, releasing only one album during the course of the '90s. All the while, Beck retained the respect of fellow guitarists, who found his reclusiveness all the more alluring.

Beck began his musical career following a short stint at London's Wimbledon Art College. He earned a reputation by supporting Lord Sutch, which helped him land the job as the Yardbirds' lead guitarist following the departure of Eric Clapton. Beck stayed with the Yardbirds for nearly two years, leaving in late 1966 with the pretense that he was retiring from music. He returned several months later with "Love Is Blue," a single he played poorly because he detested the song. Later in 1967, he formed the Jeff Beck Group with vocalist Rod Stewart, bassist Ron Wood, and drummer Aynsley Dunbar, who was quickly replaced by Mickey Waller; keyboardist Nicky Hopkins joined in early 1968. With their crushingly loud reworkings of blues songs and vocal and guitar interplay, the Jeff Beck Group established the template for heavy metal. Neither of the band's records, Truth (1968) or Beck-Ola (a 1969 album that was recorded with new drummer Tony Newman), was particularly successful, and the bandmembers tended to fight regularly, especially on their frequent tours of the U.S. In 1970, Stewart and Wood left to join the Faces, and Beck broke up the group.

Beck had intended to form a power trio with Vanilla Fudge members Carmine Appice (drums) and Tim Bogert (bass), but those plans were derailed when he suffered a serious car crash in 1970. By the time he recuperated in 1971, Bogart and Appice were playing in Cactus, so the guitarist formed a new version of the Jeff Beck Group. Featuring keyboardist Max Middleton, drummer Cozy Powell, bassist Clive Chaman, and vocalist Bobby Tench, the new band recorded Rough and Ready (1971) and Jeff Beck Group (1972). Neither album attracted much attention. Cactus dissolved in late 1972, and Beck, Bogert, and Appice formed a power trio the following year. The group's lone studio album -- a live record was released in Japan but never in the U.K. or U.S. -- was widely panned due to its plodding arrangements and weak vocals, and the group disbanded the following year.

For about 18 months, Beck remained quiet, re-emerging in 1975 with Blow by Blow. Produced by George Martin, Blow by Blow was an all-instrumental jazz fusion album that received strong reviews. Beck collaborated with Jan Hammer, a former keyboardist for Mahavishnu Orchestra, for 1976's Wired, and supported the album with a co-headlining tour with Hammer's band. The tour was documented on the 1977 album Jeff Beck with the Jan Hammer Group -- Live.

After the Hammer tour, Beck retired to his estate outside of London and remained quiet for three years. He returned in 1980 with There and Back, which featured contributions from Hammer. Following the tour for There and Back, Beck retired again, returning five years later with the slick, Nile Rodgers-produced Flash. A pop/rock album recorded with a variety of vocalists, Flash featured Beck's only hit single, the Stewart-sung "People Get Ready," and also boasted "Escape," which won the Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental. During 1987, he played lead guitar on Mick Jagger's second solo album, Primitive Cool. There was another long wait between Flash and 1989's Jeff Beck's Guitar Shop with Terry Bozzio and Tony Hymas. Though the album sold only moderately well, Guitar Shop received uniformly strong reviews and won the Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental. Beck supported the album with a tour, this time co-headlining with guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan. Again, Beck entered semi-retirement upon the completion of the tour.

In 1992, Beck played lead guitar on Roger Waters' comeback album, Amused to Death. A year later, he released Crazy Legs, a tribute to Gene Vincent and his lead guitarist, Cliff Gallup, which was recorded with Big Town Playboys. Beck remained quiet after the album's release prior to resurfacing in 1999 with Who Else! You Had It Coming followed in 2001 and his 14th release, Jeff, was issued on Epic two years later. An excellent live set, Performing This Week: Live at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, was released in 2008 by Eagle Records. Emotion & Commotion, Beck's first new studio album in seven years, appeared in the spring of 2010. It was greeted by considerable acclaim, including winning two Grammy Awards in 2011 for Best Pop Instrumental Performance and Best Rock Instrumental Performance. Appropriately, Beck released a live album called Live and Exclusive from the Grammy Museum in the fall of 2010, followed by Rock & Roll Party (Honoring Les Paul), a salute to Beck's hero featuring vocals by Imelda May. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Jeff Beck's Guitar Shop With Terry Bozzio And Tony Hymas

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Track List: I Put A Spell On You (Radio Single)

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Track List: Never Alone (Radio Single)

Comments

Just take it all in f**k the opinions everyone mentioned is great
There are so many great guitarist from everywhere in the world that to pick the best one is an impossible task.....I believe that....but if you asked me to pick a favourite I would have to mention Jeff Beck in the top 3....and feel terrible that I didn't mention him first.....it is such a conundrum. But I am glad that there are so many truly great guitarist I have heard in 68yrs on this spinning orb....I never get tired of any of them.
Beck-O-La!
SOOOO many people who just don't have a CLUE Beck is a bad mother F$%@#! and a great auto mechanic. Look up his collection of cars. He does ALL his own work.
1975........ . .
Man cruising DFW to Denver co. Phoenix. Nothin' but sage bush & J Beck
got a point there JW forgive) but yeah... just listened to Air Blower.. (ah Jeff) beautiful guitarist... . he's probably a lame mechanic!..g o o d point though....te c h i e s here gotta go!
james.wilson 4 9

Jeff Beck's ongoing failure to garner a broader audience is testament to a subconscious desire to fail that has benefited us all. He would have flamed out on mega fame and fortune, (see 'Blow by Blow' and 'Wired'... add millions of dollars: extrapolate) . Instead he's woven into and out of the collective consciousnes s for decades. I hope he keeps it up.
I was bummed that the only colour a Jeff Beck signature series strat comes in is Foam green ugh... Jeff, love your playing.. but are you colour blind?... (ended up with a black american standard, sigh)
Jeff was the Emcee at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary Benefit Concert! Clapton was scheduled to have the honors, but Gall Bladder problems caused him to cancel.
It was the best thing that could have happened, because Jeff Beck brought the house down with his version of A Day In The Life.
He is a much better Guitarist than Clapton, and Clapton would have had to sing which is not his specialty. Beck understands that we go to hear the Guitar. When it comes to Guitar, Beck is BEST!
Thats an inaccurate statement that BeckJeff Beck never achieved the same commercial success as any of those contemporari e s , primarily because of the haphazard way he approached his career- He's outdone many of the other so-called gods of guitar . . . He CHOSE not to muddy his life with too much abuse, and his sound EVOLVES . . . . WIth 'commercial sucess' sometimes comes too much craziness in any form Rock-n-roll can make.
If not for Jeff Beck, we'd maybe have a HUGE missing piece of the John M
Has to be the best I have ever heard.
aquatics
Man! Ultimate Beck is listening to Live at Ronnie scots on blu-ray through a good sound system! It doesn't get any better than that!!
mikes2220
You can talk all you want about the guitar heroes from the 70's to the present and very few will measure up to JB. Shredding does not make or break a guitar player and JB proves that over and over. He is a musicians musician and his fingers and slide create sounds that are not only beautifully melodic but absolutely unique. If you listen to Emotion & Commotion and Live at Ronnie Scotts there is no doubt who the real guitar hero is.
This is BULL!! There are many people I know and many accompliced musicians who would say that Jeff Beck is a very great and talented musician and paired with Tal Winkenfeld they do absolute magic on stage. I don't know anyone who wouldn't blink an eye at watching Jeff
perform at any given moment! And that's all I got to say about that!!!
Beck is a legend. While he was improvising, Page was just playing sloppily and calling it improvisatio n . Page is great too, but got away with a lot of poor licks. Beck, like Carlos Santana and a few others, ~feels~ his music. He thinks it and it flows from his brain to his fingers to the strings. Not many can do that. And rap is totally retarded.
Ditto! My favorite guitarist. Will be meeting him in October on tour with Brian Wilson.
My favorite guitarist bar none. No equal to Mr. Beck.
Me too! On-tour with Brian Wilson!!!
Seeing him live in October! Can't wait!
I agree with the sentiments expressed here. I too feel that Jeff Beck is the greatest living Rock guitarist in the world. His technique is jaw-dropping good. Some others may come close but then on top of the skill is the history, the time put in, and the fact that he continues to push the envelope and still find time to give a nod to his past. And oh yeah, he has soul to spare.
What's sets him apart from other greats is, this stuff cannot be learned.
Jeff Beck is one of the most fabulous players with the greatest sense to turn emotions with his strings. If some new age thinker who loves the crap thats mostly on the scene today, then why don't they just soak up the rap crap and die.
Cant stand off base subjectively opinionated reviews by rovi (douche bag) cant blame beck for being more interested in cars than music when younger gen.& industry Is content to club and listen to some clown with two turntables.
hodgdons7
Yep ... JB easily one of the greats. Rod Stewart collaboratio n produced some fine tunes. And his promoting talent like Tal Wilkenfeld. Great stuff!
OFTEN imitated, NEVER duplicated! SIMPLY THE BEST.
lederereddy
Eff'n A, Foxpath! I hear ya!
Huge Beck fan ... THE BEST IN THE WORLD FOR THE LAST 30 YEARS
Orale Beck, bravo !
Listening to JB is orgasmic
Olé bolero, viva !
luissanchez7 0 2
J B is buy far one of the greatest and most underpaid guitar player in the world !!!!!!!!
Space for the Papa on my earbuds while hammering on a single track on the bike........
barryapter
I've said it before and will say it again, Jeff Beck is the greatest living guitar player in the world. I have seen him play many many times and every time I see him its the best concert I have ever seen.
One of the great shredders, love listening to his music!!
eduisamust.. . . i t ' s the next best thing BUT - Get the DVD of Jeff Live at Ronnie Scotts, from a few years back. Just do it, you can thank me later ;)
I'm a Strat Cat! (full shred! LOL
Tuff stuff...do it 2 it, Mr. Beck, aha !
Seeing Jeff Beck is on my bucket list. I've admired his music since my older bros turned me on to an 8-track of Wired. Wow, then Blow-By-Blow , then Live. WOW. Jeff opened up the doors for me to Stanley Clarke and many others. I seek out records he's a guest musician on. And wow what a surprise to see him on American Idol. Jeff let me know when you are in the KC, St. Louis, or Cleveland area. I want to see you in concert before I die.
fox path i agree.100... %
foxpath207
The bio paints Beck as a mediocre erratic who contributed little to the genre. I want that reviewer to listen to the Ronnie Scott performance, and listen to Clapton and others talk about how much they respect Beck, and then rewrite the bio. Beck is one of the premier guitarists of the last half century.
he's a master. little better than Page
Joe Walsh's latest ,he refers to tubes and analog , let us go back to the future (fingers crossed) thx Jeff !
kvons1
Back in the days of TUBE amps, REAL music and everything ANALOG!
jpacheco266
JB, you're the best. Hope you never stop playing guitar, even into the new system. Keep those callous fingers!
listening to line dancing with monkeys....M y thought..(th i s bright morning) was that nobodys can save a song quite as well as Jeff can!...Well, at least with his playing....j u s t a thought..... ( y e a h , I still think he deserves a knighthood!) gave one to Mick...even gulp....a beetle! ;)
philippepelu s o
Jeff Beck is a pioneer whether the critics like him or not.... he is as good as John McLaughlin on steroids !!
Hmm JC...thats awfully high praise indeed...but wow what a guitarist!
mgalicki
I've seen him a couple times. the absolute BEST guitarist in many opinions. Original, fresh and indescribabl e . The closest thing to JC that I know. Not many who truely play from their soul. Hat's off to you Jeff!
been a fan since the yardbirds..i n c r e d i b l e musician
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