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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.

Over the next few years, Beck gigged regularly, highlighted by a 2013 joint tour with Brian Wilson; the duo planned to record together but those plans fell apart. In April 2015, Beck released Live+, a record culled from concerts given in August 2014 augmented by two new studio cuts. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Live +

1. Loaded (Live)

2. Morning Dew (Live)

3. You Know You Know (Live)

5. A Change Is Gonna Come (Live)

6. A Day In The Life (Live)

7. Superstition (Live)

8. Hammerhead (Live)

9. Little Wing (Live)

10. Big Block (Live)

11. Where Were You (Live)

13. Rollin' And Tumblin' (Live)

14. Going Down (Live)

x

Track List: Performing This Week ... Live At Ronnie Scott's (2008)

1. Beck's Bolero (Live)

2. Eternity's Breath (Live)

3. Stratus (Live)

4. Cause We've Ended As Lovers (Live)

5. Behind The Veil (Live)

6. You Never Know (Live)

7. Nadia (Live)

8. Blast From The East (Live)

9. Led Boots (Live)

10. Angel (Footsteps) (Live)

11. Scatterbrain (Live)

12. Brush With The Blues (Live)

13. Space Boogie (Live)

14. Big Block (Live)

15. A Day In The Life (Live)

16. Where Were You (Live)

x

Track List: Jeff

1. So What

2. Plan B

3. Pork-U-Pine

4. Seasons

5. Trouble Man

6. Grease Monkey

7. Hot Rod Honeymoon

8. Line Dancing with Monkeys

9. JB's Blues

10. Pay Me No Mind (Jeff Beck Remix)

11. My Thing

12. Bulgaria

13. Why Lord Oh Why?

x

Track List: You Had It Coming

1. Earthquake

2. Roy's Toy

3. Dirty Mind

4. Rollin' And Tumblin'

5. Nadia

6. Loose Cannon

7. Rosebud

8. Left Hook

9. Blackbird

10. Suspension

x

Track List: Who Else!

1. What Mama Said

2. Psycho Sam

3. Brush With The Blues

4. Blast From The East

5. Space For The Papa

6. Angel (Footsteps)

7. Thx138

8. Hip-Notica

9. Even Odds

10. Declan

11. Another Place

x

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

1. Guitar Shop

2. Savoy

3. Behind The Veil

4. Big Block

5. Where Were You

6. Stand On It

7. Day In The House

8. Two Rivers

9. Sling Shot

x

Track List: Wired

1. Led Boots

2. Come Dancing

3. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat

4. Head For Backstage Pass

5. Blue Wind

6. Sophie

7. Play With Me

8. Love Is Green

x

Track List: Blow By Blow

1. You Know What I Mean

2. She's A Woman

3. Constipated Duck

4. Air Blower

5. Scatterbrain

6. Cause We Ended As Lovers

7. Thelonius

8. Freeway Jam

9. Diamond Dust

x

Track List: Truth

x

Track List: Emotion & Commotion

1. Corpus Christi Carol

2. Hammerhead

3. Never Alone

4. Over The Rainbow

5. I Put A Spell On You

6. Serene

7. Lilac Wine

8. Nessun Dorma

9. There's No Other Me

10. Elegy For Dunkirk

x

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

x

Track List: Never Alone (Radio Single)

1. Never Alone

Comments

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sohlesoncree k
Joss Stone ?
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Even w/all the attention-st i l l one of the most under-rated artist/guita r i s t around!!
Always innovative/c r e a t i v e ! !
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bluesojourn
I still have this on original 1975 import vinyl!
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The man doesn't even use a pick and he is a master with the whammy bar!!!
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mokumax
was? You act like he's dead. He's a living legend.
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Can't imagine the egos in the Yardbirds what a collection of guitar players!!!
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One of the greatest ever keep Rock N Mr. Jeff Beck
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Truth...one of the best ever.
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He is a great one, I've been very fortunate to have seen him many times. So elevated after his shows!!
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How Tal Wilkenfeld must have felt landing a gig as Beck's bassist! She's really good too, watch Live at Ronnie Scott's performance!
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I was huge fan of Jeff Beck, especially Shape of Things on Truth. First time I saw him was back 1968 in Lowell MA. Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood were still with him. We were about ten feet from the stage, which was about three feet high. It was an incredible show. I have seen him in almost every band he put together except the Yardbirds. In fact a few of my friends were able to get for that show same place a few years earlier during a snow storm. About a half dozen people made it there.
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Roys Toys + Loose Cannon are pure genius can't believe I never heard those gems until 2012 on Pandora. Gave me a whole new interest and respect for JB beyond the Blow by Blow Beck ,Wired, Beck. This man is constantly evolving.
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Satriani and Vai are a distant 2nd and 3rd, in comparison to this guy..... As for everyone else.... well.... keep practicing, maybe someday!!
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Comment? How about Coolest person ever born.
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comitchh
Beck himself credits John McLaughlin as the greatest guitarist of all time. It's in the Interviews secton of the Playing This Week DVD. He is very reverential.
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NEEDS MORE COWBELL !!!!
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My go to artist when I need a guitar fix. None better I've wore out 8 tracks, viynal, cassettes, and cds of his orange album.
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I wonder why Pandora doesn't list Beck-Ola on the albums list.
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THEY DONT GET ANY BETTER
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Jeff your the man
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Absolutely the best guitar player of all guitarists, ever.
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Become the guitar, so he did!!!!!
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is that joss stone she can lay it down sultry,sexy, & cool
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Ol

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Seeing and hearing Jeff Beck live and about as close as anyone has a right to be has redefined to me what could be possible. My good friend Billy who has since passed away from leukemia always said it was the high point of his life. Our jaws were dragging for hours following what was the most incredible music experience in my life. I so glad Billy was as blown away as I was - Jeff is truly from another planet. The baddest of the bad boys.
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jimvlg
I saw Jeff Beck one month ago in Cleveland. One more item off my bucket list. I went home and threw all my guitars away. I am a better man because I saw Jeff Beck LIVE!
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I am a bass player for 30 years and I have heard them all! His young lady bassist is INCREDIBLE!
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Anyone who would dispute Jeff Beck's place as greatest guitarist of all-time isn't aware of his true talent. Even greats like Clapton will say it. No one has the innovation and finess he has. Watch videos to see his capabilities , but seeing him live and I guarantee you will come away mesmerized! Undoubtedly THE best. Len
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atxcaddy
I saw Jeff Beck In Cedar Park, TX as he opened for ZZ Top! What an amazing musician! He in my opinion is still one of the best ever. Keep up the good fight!
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Uniquely creative multi-dimens i o n a l guitar player that brings cross dimensional grooves to every song in his jazz fusion genre. Never heard anyone that brings it like Jeff Beck. Saw him in Cleveland at the Hard Rock and it was tight. Bass player, pretty little hammer down girl is off the hook. Drummer drags too much for what I think Jeff really needs, but he keeps it up and going. The concert was close proximity, just a couple hundred of us in a room w/Jeff and his band.
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Saw Beck at Fox Woods still one of best
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The Man!
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One of the greatest guitar legends of all time & one of my personal favorites, Mr Jeff Beck! : )
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Jeff Beck the one & only saw him about 5 yrs. ago at a small Center For The Arts in Scranton ,Pa. He was OUT OF SIGHT!
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I saw There & Back live, way back in the 80's, when Jeff Beck was the back-up band for (somebody; forget) (!). It was an epic show and a virtuoso performance. It blew away my friends, who had not listened to his music much before.
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Oh yes, the one & only Jeff Beck, one of my personal favorite guitar heros! This album brings back some cool musical memories. I used to have Blow By Blow in my record collection. : )
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cicovision
i have been listening all day to my Jeff Beck radio, and they haven't played a single song of his!
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Truely..... a genious
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I just watched the Live at Ronnie Scott's performance. JEFF BECK IS a guitar technician ( masters guitar and technology ), like Neal Peart is a technician on drums.
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He makes it look SO easy and natural!
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Jeff beck could have EASILY been a zepper!becau s e he is at least as great as page .BECK seems to top page on "neatness" for the most part , perhaps beck was content with being in a variety of bands,sessio n appearances etc
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Yes I said sloppy. Learned to play him when I was 10. But Beck on the other hand still stumps me sometimes.
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Keep on keepin' it on I LUV IT!!! Rock--roll must never die.....
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Meet Jeff back stage a couple of years ago...though t the wife was going to explode with excitement .
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johnmtill
I absolutely love his track titled JB's Blues, from the Jeff album. I love JB!
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Was so lucky to see Jeff Beck back when he was promoting Blow By Blow. He makes his guitar speaks volumes without saying a word. Just keeps getting better.
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jacqyandbobb y
What about There And Back?
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No doubt. He's awesome. I disagreed with the comments on the artist bio provided. He's the man !!!!
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Chills! Never ceases to amaze
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Joss Stone
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