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Music / Jeff Beck

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Jeff Beck, doing what he did best.

"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."

Geoffrey Arnold "Jeff" Beck (24 June 1944 – 10 January 2023) was an English musician who first made his name in the 1960s with the Blues Rock unit The Yardbirds, but over his fifty-year career he also put his stamp on blues, jazz, soul, heavy metal, and electronica. Because he succeeded almost entirely on the merits of his skill as a guitarist – never chasing pop trends, and rarely either composing or singing – Beck earned a paradoxical reputation as a "musician's musician" in spite of recurring problems working with other musicians.

Rolling Stone recognizes him as the fifth greatest guitarist of all time on their list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.

Beck died from a sudden attack of bacterial meningitis on 10 January 2023, at the age of 78.

Not to be confused with Beck. Or Glenn Beck.

Post-Yardbirds discography:

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    Studio albums 
  • 1968 - Truth (first album with the Jeff Beck Group, although they are not credited as such on the album)
  • 1969 - Beck-ola (first album on which the Jeff Beck Group are credited as such)
  • 1971 - Rough and Ready (with the Jeff Beck Group, albeit a new lineup thereof)
  • 1972 - Jeff Beck Group (with... well, never mind)
  • 1973 - Beck, Bogert & Appice (credited to Beck, Bogert & Appice)
  • 1975 - Blow by Blow (first genuinely solo album)
  • 1976 - Wired
  • 1980 - There and Back
  • 1985 - Flash
  • 1989 - Jeff Beck's Guitar Shop
  • 1992 - Frankie's House note 
  • 1993 - Crazy Legs note 
  • 1999 - Who Else!
  • 2001 - You Had It Coming
  • 2003 - Jeff
  • 2010 - Emotion and Commotion
  • 2016 - Loud Hailer

    Live albums 
  • 1977 - Jeff Beck with the Jan Hammer Group Live note 
  • 2006 - Live at BB King Blues Club
  • 2006 - Live in Tokyo 99'
  • 2007 - Official Bootleg USA '06
  • 2008 - Live at Ronnie Scotts
  • 2010 - Live and Exclusive from the Grammy Museum
  • 2011 - Rock and Roll Party Honouring Les Paul
  • 2015 - Live+

Tropes in his work:

  • Big Rock Ending: Several examples on Truth, including "Shapes of Things", "Let Me Love You", "Rock My Plimsoul", "Blues Deluxe", and "I Ain't Superstitious".
  • Cover Album: Crazy Legs, which consists entirely of songs originally recorded by 50's rockabilly pioneer Gene Vincent.
  • Cover Version: Several, including "I Ain't Superstitious" by Howlin' Wolf, "She's a Woman" and "A Day in the Life" by The Beatles, "All Shook Up" and "Jailhouse Rock" by Elvis Presley, "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" by Charles Mingus, and "People Get Ready" by Curtis Mayfield, among many others.
    • "Superstition" zig-zags it a bit. Beck volunteered to help Stevie Wonder during the sessions for Wonder's Talking Book album, with the agreement that Wonder would reciprocate by writing a song for Beck. "Superstition" grew out of a jam between the two during the sessions, and Wonder finished it with the plan being that they'd both record their own versions, but Beck would release it first. Wonder recorded his, but the Beck, Bogert & Appice album got delayed, and Motown's Berry Gordy decided to rush-release Wonder's version as a single, leaving Beck, Bogert & Appice to record theirs as Wonder's take was already climbing the charts.
  • Heavy Metal: Truth is an Ur-Example if not the actual Trope Maker - it came out before Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath's debut albums (though not before Blue Cheer's debut). Beck also recorded other material that borders on or falls into this style.
  • Instrumentals: The majority of his output, including "Beck's Bolero", "Rice Pudding", and multiple albums of entirely instrumental material, including Blow by Blow, Wired, and There and Back, among others.
  • Rearrange the Song: Beck does this to one of his hits with The Yardbirds, "Shapes of Things", on Truth. According to Beck, Rod Stewart suggested that Beck re-record the tune. Beck responded by saying "Let's slow it down and make it dirty and evil".
  • Rock Trio: Beck, Bogert, and Appice.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: An unusual instrumental example on Beck-ola, with "Girl from Mill Valley", which is a showcase for keyboardist Nicky Hopkins, who wrote it and fronts the song on piano and organ.
  • Supergroup: Beck, Bogert, and Appice, which consisted of Jeff Beck and Tim Bogert and Carmine Appice, who both previously were members of Cactus and Vanilla Fudge.