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Paying tribute to rock guitarist Jeff Beck

Paying tribute to rock guitarist Jeff Beck

13 Jan 2023

Legendary rock guitarist Jeff Beck passed away on Tuesday, 10 January, at the age of 78, with his official Twitter account posting: “On behalf of his family, it is with deep and profound sadness that we share the news of Jeff Beck’s passing. After suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis, he peacefully passed away (on Tuesday). His family ask for privacy while they process this tremendous loss.”

Born in June 1944 in London, Beck sang in a church choir at just 10 years old. He is said to have claimed to have first heard an electric guitar when he was just six years old, having heard Les Paul’s How High the Moon on the radio. Beck has cited Les Paul as the first electric guitar player who impressed him. He was also influenced by Cliff Gallup, lead guitarist with Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps, B. B. King and Steve Cropper.

“I was interested in the electric guitar even before I knew the difference between electric and acoustic. The electric guitar seemed to be a totally fascinating plank of wood with knobs and switches on it. I just had to have one,” Jeff Beck is quoted as saying.

Jeff Beck rose to fame when he replaced Eric Clapton in The Yardbirds in 1965, before forming The Jeff Beck Group with Rod Stewart and Ron Wood. In 1992, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of The Yardbirds, and was inducted again in 2009 as a solo artist. At this occasion he said: “I play the way I do because it allows me to come up with the sickest sounds possible. That’s the point now, isn’t it? I don’t care about the rules. In fact, if I don’t break the rules at least 10 times in every song, then I’m not doing my job properly.”

The British guitarist has won eight Grammys, with his first win being in 1985 for best rock instrumental performance for Escape. He went on to win five more times in that category alone. Beck’s tone, presence, and volume is believed to have redefined guitar music in the 60s, influencing movements like heavy metal, jazz-rock, and punk.

Just last year, Beck toured with Johnny Depp, after the pair recorded a cover album together titled “18”. He was also featured on two tracks from Ozzy Osbourne’s album released on 24 June 2022; the title track Patient Number 9 and A Thousand Shades.

“I can’t express how saddened I am to hear of Jeff Beck’s passing. What a terrible loss for his family, friends, and his many fans. It was such an honour to have known Jeff and an incredible honour to have had him play on my most recent album, ‘Patient Number 9’,” Ozzy Osbourne posted on Twitter.

Mick Jagger posted: “With the death of Jeff Beck we have lost a wonderful man and one of the greatest guitar players in the world. We will all miss him so much.”

Meanwhile, Rod Stewart shared: “Jeff Beck was on another planet. He took me and Ronnie Wood to the USA in the late 60s in his band the Jeff Beck Group and we haven’t looked back since. He was one of the few guitarists that when playing live would actually listen to me sing and respond. Jeff, you were the greatest, my man. Thank you for everything.”

Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour posted: “I am devastated to hear the news of the death of my friend and hero Jeff Beck, whose music has thrilled and inspired me and countless others for so many years. Polly’s and my thoughts go out to his lovely wife Sandra. He will be forever in our hearts.”

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