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Jeff Beck Group

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

Comments

Do not compare Jeff Beck to Eric what's his face. Ever. There is no comparison. He is not worthy enough to be in the same sentence as Jeff Beck. The only reason EC is supposedly 'great' - is because of the brilliant musicians that he played with... EC is OVER RATED. Jeff Beck, a true master!!!!
bevbevan
When a band does a cover song (in this case an Elvis song that Elvis didn't write) it should make the song its own. Jeff Beck does this well, as he did on the Truth album. Beck-Ola is a fun album.
Wired and JB w Jan Hammer live 2 of my most listened to albums all time...final l y something bob likes...
By the way, kids, Ain't Superstitiou s is meant to be played very loud!
I'm seconding Bobonnit about Mick Waller. Very tasteful drummer who I liked very much starting when the stellar album, Truth, came out on, uh, 8 track! Heh! LOL.
Don't know why Rough & Ready did not have more success. The song Situation on that album was one of my favorites even now. The world just was not ready for Jeff Beck.
I wish Epic Records would release special CD editions of The Jeff Beck Group & Rough and Ready with bonus tracks minus Bob Tench's annoying vocals. Just the instrumental s please.
kvons1
KILLER combo of the time! Beck & Stewart's pinnacle.
Mick Waller: One of the greatest drummers of the 60's and 70's. Listen to him with Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart's early solo albums. Wow
jeff stayed true to talent, too bad about rod stewart though
jpacheco266
Few times, the past 3 maybe 4 decades, would hear Becks Balero, WOW... then bought emotion and commotion, dvd live at Ronnie Scott's. Hooked for good now. My dream is to see JB live. Also enjoy rock & roll party.
Beck always did it for me. His body of work says it all he never sold out
kvons1
I want the TIME back!!!
claypots6
beck-ola is an awesome album. protypical heavy metal.presci e n t hard rock SD hillside lake ny
Joey D. Going down the best of the best! Way ahead of the rest
kvons1
Truth & Beck Ola-----Beck groups two outstanding best.
My angel is more adorable and spreads her wings better, Jeff. Yeah, man.
newberry.bil l
Beck, Bogart and Appice was released in the U.S. I have an old vinyl copy. Great rendition of Stevie Wonder's Superstition .
Jeff Beck is a brilliant guitarist, clearly one of the best ever, missing from Pandora's bio are his hit singles in the UK prior to People Get Ready - including Hi Ho Silver Lining, Beck's Bolero and Goo Goo Garabajagle (Donovan Vocals)
Jeff Beck stands alone and at the top.
Apparently Pandora's geneticist has never heard of Tommy Bolin, who was just as eclectic as Jeff Beck, but more self-destruc t i v e .
skibumm61
I still remember, at age 10, hearing his '72 Jeff Beck Group album, and thinking, O M G W T F is this? They DON'T play anything like this on KLOG Top 40. I knew then there was a world beyond my little logging town, and something waiting there for me.
his version of a day in the life is mind blowing!
Led Boots....nuf f said
his song going down one of the best of all time.one good frind of mine who died.was played at his funeral.
THE GREAT...AND THE NEAR GREAT..GOOD VERY GOOD..BUT NOT...SAME AS MOST OF US.
he can play anything but not a composer,wri t e r or else. he would have gone on like the other yardbirds. right. thanks. p tool man.PS.Peace , L ove,dopes!!!
dnewman91999
"AS innovative as Jimmy Page"... I stopped reading
All the way back to the Truth album, He's always had it.
master licks .. Beck can do it all .....
eclectic, eccentric, respected and unique pioneer. the whammy bar master!
timelesstat2
a very good guitar player, too bad he ducked out of the public eye so much
chefflee
gotta love him thanx for all the tunes jeff!
steelerfnati c 1 9 7 1
Wired and Blow by Blow. Just perfect.
I saw him this summer on his Emotion & Commotion tour and it incredible.
rocky_b67037
I tip my hat to his "Pork pie hat" all you need to say.
Pretty much a prick
i meant career
forget erratic and non commercial.. . t h i s guy did and does whatever he wants..built a FANTASTIC uncomprimisi n g carrer,creat e d a guitar style UNIQUE to only him,(ala jimi hendrix),and can out play anybody on the block...
great thats all i can say
egotistical, erratic, non-commerci a l , experimental , innovative, uncompromisi n g , creative and throughly engrossing. He is the guitarists' guitarist. Check out "Live at Ronnie Scott's" for a great performance.
Jeff Beck is an excellent guitarist, but the reviewer is absolutely correct:...h e ' s wildly erratic in material selection! Plus 4,...5....6 year layoffs are "momentum" killers!
"Blow By Blow" and "Wired" are just absolutely killer, man. No proper disciple of the '70s guitar gods is complete without these albums in his or her collection.
tomatopie34
Blow by Blow is just one of the best guitar records ever. His work on the Roger Waters album deserves more attention. Some of his best playing in years on that one.
Beck's early work still electrifies me. "Going Down" is unbeatable for true head bangers.
A true master of the guitar, following his own path on his own terms.
I think that he is very bitter about all the success that all the other three had. He is great but his ego kinda got in the way I think.
Jeff Beck is an excellent guitarist. I think the best musicians are the ones who don't sell out and follow (THE CORPORATE MUSICAL RULES).I like Page and Clapton ,too. But among the three, Jeff Beck is by far ,the Best.
check out j.beck on claptons guitar festival 2007. and don't forget Faces.
Let's bring the good old boys back, Ron, Rod and Jeff
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