Musician: Matt Jeff Beck, the British “guitar god”.

Status: 12/01/2023 03:09 AM

He was one of the great guitarists in the history of rock music. Other giants in music history, many of them collaborators, honor Jeff Beck’s legacy.

He was considered the “guitar god” and played with top musicians — now British musician Jeff Beck died suddenly at the age of 78 from bacterial meningitis, his family said in the evening.

Beck is considered one of the most influential guitarists in history. Guitarist Gene Simmons tweeted, “Nobody played guitar like Jeff.” The BBC praised it: “Her tone, presence and all-important size redefined guitar music in the ’60s, influencing such movements as heavy metal, jazz, rock and even punk.”

guitar instead of piano

In the summer, Beck released an album with Hollywood star Johnny Depp and then went on tour. Born on June 24, 1944 in a south London suburb, his mother wanted Geoffrey Beck, as his real name, to learn the piano. But young Jeff was so fascinated by the legends of American rock and roll and blues that he made himself a guitar out of cigar boxes.

So there were many quarrels with his parents, as the musician later recalled in the music magazine “Rolling Stone”. But they weren’t going to stop him. “I think they thought, ‘If he’s got the guitar, at least he won’t go out and steal,'” he said. “My only friends were so wronged.”

Yardbirds string charm

Beck played with various bands in and around London until Jimmy Page recommended him to the Yardbirds in 1965 to replace guitarist Eric Clapton. Beck was considered a string magician who created hitherto unheard of sounds with ingenuity, technical tricks, and refinement.

He was fascinated by avant-garde, experimental sounds—”I made the weirdest sounds I could,” he later said. “That’s the point, right? I don’t care about the rules.” Beck penned the signature tracks for the Yardbirds’ hit “Over Under Sideways Down” and “Shapes of Things”.

Unexpected decisions prevented great fame

In 1966, Page joined and took over as second guitarist when Beck fell out with the band during a US tour. It was the first in a series of unpredictable decisions that meant he never lived up to his stardom, despite his musical brilliance. Beck subsequently played with exceptional musicians such as Rod Steward and reached the UK charts with “Hi Ho Silver Lining” and “Tallyman”.

But after two albums as the Jeff Beck Group and just three weeks before their planned appearance at Woodstock, he broke up his band. He later worked in various lineups with Mick Jagger, Roger Waters, Brian May, Paul Rodgers, Stevie Wonder as well as Tina Turner on her album ‘Private Dancer’. He played his way through the most diverse musical styles from heavy blues to pop to rock, funk, trance and of course jazz with masterfully.

Only one thing remained: he kept reinventing sound. He has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, in 1992 for his performance with the Yardbirds and in 2009 as a solo artist. He has also won eight Grammys.

The world of music mourns

tweeted Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett. His death is devastating news. “He made the electric guitar sing.” Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger called Beck “one of the greatest guitarists in the world”.

Rock legend Ozzy Osbourne said it was an honor to know Beck and play with him. Singer Paul Young hailed Beck as “the guitarist’s guitarist”. Blackspace’s Tony Iommi praised Beck as an “extraordinary icon and brilliant guitarist”. There will never be a musician like him again. “Jeff Beck was from another planet,” Rod Stewart wrote.

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