Jeff Beck

Jeff Beck

Postby happytheman » Mon Sep 17, 2007 1:15 am

Again with a "little help from an un-named site", I throw out another guitarist that I thoroughly enjoy. Jeff has been sited by numerous guitarist on the scene as one of the all time greats. In fact in the book "Crazy Fingers" by Annette Carson (great read), David Gilmour is quoted saying "Jeff is the most consistently briliant guitarist over the past 25 years". I must have a majority of his stuff on viynl. It's all good. I've also recently found a CD titled Blue Eyed Blues which features Jeff, Jimmy and Eric on some early Yardbird recordings. Any Jeff fans out there?

Geoffrey Arnold ("Jeff") Beck (born June 24, 1944 to Arnold and Ethel Beck in Wallington, Greater London) is an English rock guitarist. He was one of three noted guitarists -- the others being Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page -- to have recorded with the band The Yardbirds.

Like many rock musicians in the early 1960s, he began his career working as a session guitarist. In 1965, following a gig with the Tridents, Beck was recruited to join the Yardbirds (after Eric Clapton had left the group for John Mayall's Bluesbreakers). It was during his tenure with the Yardbirds that they recorded most of their hits.

Stories about Beck's volatile temper began to circulate early. His perfectionism, coupled with the faulty equipment often in use during the 1960s, led to many stories about his willingness to take out frustrations on his equipment, though not in the form of smashing a guitar. The 1966 movie Blow-up contains a scene where the Yardbirds perform, and Beck becomes so enraged by equipment problems that he smashes his guitar. This scene was staged for the movie, as it was a re-creation of an actual event that director Michelangelo Antonioni witnessed at a concert of The Who.

His time with The Yardbirds was short, allowing Beck only one full album, Roger the Engineer (1966); Beck left after 18 months, partly for health reasons. For a few months he shared the dual-lead guitar role with Jimmy Page.

The following year, after recording the one-off song "Beck's Bolero" (with Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, Nicky Hopkins, and Keith Moon), Beck formed a new band called The Jeff Beck Group, which featured him on lead guitar, Rod Stewart on vocals, Ron Wood on bass, Nicky Hopkins on piano, and Micky Waller on drums.

The group produced two albums, Truth (August, 1968) and Beck-Ola (June, 1969). Both albums are highly acclaimed, and considered by many critics to have inspired the heavy metal genre.

Truth, released five months before the first Led Zeppelin album, features a cover of "You Shook Me", a song first recorded by Willie Dixon which was also covered on the Led Zeppelin debut. While it sold well (reaching #15 on the Billboard charts) and received great critical praise, Truth did not equal the impact of the release by Page's new band. Beck-Ola while well-received, was less successful both commercially and critically. Resentment, coupled with touring-related incidents, led the group to dissolve.

After the breakup, Beck decided to continue working with Stewart, and team up with bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice, the rhythm section of the Vanilla Fudge. This project was sidelined when Beck suffered head injuries in a car crash, and left the music scene for over a year. Rod Stewart left to team up with Ron Wood and the Small Faces; and Bogert and Appice formed Cactus instead.

When Beck regained his health, he reformed a band with entirely new members. The new ensemble -- Bob Tench on vocals and guitar, Max Middleton on piano and keyboards, Clive Chaman on bass and Cozy Powell on drums -- although still known as the "Jeff Beck Group" featured a substantially different sound from the first lineup.

For the album Rough and Ready (1971), Beck wrote or co-wrote six of the album's seven tracks (the exception written by pianist Middleton). The album included elements of Soul, Rhythm and Blues and Jazz, foreshadowing the direction Beck's music would take later in the decade.

The follow-up, Jeff Beck Group, (1972) was recorded in Memphis, at the studio used by Booker T. & the M.G.'s; their guitarist, Steve Cropper, produced the album. The album, unsurprisingly, displayed a strong Soul influence. Five of the nine tracks were covers of American artists; one ("I Got To Have A Song") was the first of Beck's four covers of compositions written by Stevie Wonder.

Shortly after this release, Cactus broke up, leaving Bogert and Appice available. Beck dissolved the band in order to achieve his ambition to work with them, forming Beck, Bogert & Appice.

The long-awaited lineup worked together for less than two years and released only one US album Beck, Bogert & Appice. While critics acknowledged the band's instrumental prowess, the album was not well received, except for its cover of Wonder's Superstition. Beck left the group during recording sessions for the second album. (A double-album (Beck, Bogert & Appice Live in Japan) was eventually released in Japan.)

Beck, Bogert & Appice were, to some degree, victims of forces beyond their control. The lineup (a power trio featuring a superstar guitarist) prompted critics to compare the band to the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Clapton's Cream and Page's Led Zeppelin. Since Beck and his bandmates were less gifted singers and composers than their counterparts, comparisons were unflattering.

Beck's auto accident -- and resulting delay in forming the group -- also shaped critical response. Had Beck, Bogert & Appice been released in 1970, its similarity in style and content to Beck-Ola would have been expected. Coming in 1973 -- after Beck had released two albums covering more diverse territory -- led many critics to believe the guitarist had taken a step backward.

However, Beck's dismissive public comments about the album, coupled with his next career move, suggest that he also had grown bored with the band's limitations and the blues-rock genre.

In October 1974, Beck began recording instrumentals at AIR studios with pianist Max Middleton (from the second Jeff Beck Group), bassist Phil Chen and drummer Richard Bailey and George Martin producing and providing string arrangements.

The resulting album, Blow by Blow (1975), displayed Beck's technical prowess in a jazz-rock format. The album reached #4 on the charts (Beck's most successful release) and most critics also regard it as his best work.

Wired, which followed a year later, paired Beck with drummer-composer Narada Michael Walden and keyboardist Jan Hammer. A more straightforward work jazz-rock fusion (sounding similar to the work of his two collaborators), Wired sold slightly less well, and also received less ecstatic reviews. A live album with Hammer was even less successful, with critics complaining that Hammer had eradicated the subtleties of Blow By Blow

1980s There and Back, featuring three compositions from Hammer and five with keyboadist Tony Hymas, sold less, but received better reviews. Hymas's compositions, which sounded to some like space-age jazz, gave the guitarist a more open framework for his pyrotechnics.

In 1981 he made a series of historic, joint live appearances with his Yardbirds predecessor Eric Clapton at the Amnesty International The Secret Policeman's Other Ball benefit shows. He appeared with Clapton on Crossroads, Further On Up The Road and his own arrangement of Stevie Wonder's Cause We've Ended As Lovers. Beck also featured prominently in the all-star band finale performance of I Shall Be Released with Clapton, Sting, Phil Collins, Donovan and Bob Geldof. Beck's contributions were seen and heard in the resulting album and film, both of which achieved worldwide success in 1982. Another benefit show called the ARMS Concert for Multiple Sclerosis featured a jam with Jeff, Eric and Jimmy Page performing "Living on Tulsa Time" and "Layla". This is the only time all of the 1963-1968 Yardbirds lead guitarists appeared on stage together.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Jeff Beck recorded sporadically (due largely to a long battle with noise-induced tinnitus): There and Back (1980, featuring Simon Phillips, Tony Hymas, Jan Hammer and Mo Foster), Flash (1985, including performances with Rod Stewart and Jan Hammer), Jeff Beck's Guitar Shop (1989, with Terry Bozzio and Tony Hymas), Crazy Legs (1993), Who Else! (1999), and You Had It Coming (2001). He also accompanied Paul Rodgers of Bad Company on the album Muddy Water Blues: A Tribute to Muddy Waters in 1993. Jeff Beck won his third Grammy Award, this one for 'Best Rock Instrumental Performance' for the track "Dirty Mind" from You Had It Coming. The 2003 release of Jeff showed that the new electro-guitar style he used for the two earlier albums would continue to dominate. This style has been lauded by critics; Beck has skillfully fused an electronica influence with his blues/jazz past, with a sound mix which seems heavily influenced by the "brown" tone of subsequent guitarists like Van Halen and Joe Satriani. The song "Plan B" from this release earned him his fourth Grammy Award, again, for 'Best Rock Instrumental Performance'.

Arguably the world's most famous record producer, if only for his achievements with The Beatles, is George Martin, who was deservedly knighted in 1996. But even a man of his great wisdom was thrown into confusion when, in 1975, he produced Jeff Beck's powerfully adventurous, jazz-tinged album Blow by Blow at AIR Studios in London's Oxford Street. Jeff was fastidious about over-dubs but never seemed to be happy with his solos.

A few days after a recording, when he'd had time to digest his own performance, he would telephone George and say "I think I could do a better one on this track", and they would return to AIR to try again. Jeff would play over and over until he was satisfied that he had performed his best. A couple of months went by and George received another phone call from Jeff: "I want to do this solo again." Bemused, George said: "I'm sorry, Jeff, but the record is in the shops!"

In the past few years, Jeff Beck has performed on new albums by Les Paul, Cyndi Lauper, and Roger Waters. Beck also is featured on one track on Queen guitarist Brian May's last solo album, Another World. He also appears on ZZ Top's album XXX. Beck made a cameo appearance in the movie Twins starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito.

Jeff Beck continues to perform shows on a regular basis, including opening for B.B. King in the summer of 2003, backed by Terry Bozzio and Tony Hymas.

Beck's most recent tours in 2005 and 2006 have included Jason Rebello on keyboards, Vinnie Colaiuta on drums and Pino Palladino on bass (replaced by Randy Hope-Taylor due to Palladino's prior commitment to The Who). An Official Bootleg USA'06 from the tour has been released through Beck's site.

Jeff Beck also accompanied Kelly Clarkson as the guitarist for her cover of Patty Griffin's song, "Up To The Mountain", during the 2007 Idol Gives Back episode of American Idol, receiving a standing ovation from the audience.

And just for the fun of it some "interesting" Jeff Beck Trivia...

While Beck and Jimmy Page played together in The Yardbirds, the trio of Beck, Page and Eric Clapton never played together in the group all at the same time. The three guitarists did play on stage together at the ARMS charity concerts in 1983 in honour of Ronnie Lane.

Beck's girlfriend Mary Hughes is name-checked in The Yardbirds song "Psycho Daisies".

He appears in the movie Blow Up with The Yardbirds.

He appears in the movie Twins with Nicolette Larson.

Beck plays an instrumental version of Lennon/McCartney classic "A Day in the Life" on Sir George Martin's album In My Life (1998).

Beck and Jimmy Page have known each other since Page was 11 years old.

Beck is a vegetarian.

Stevie Wonder originally wrote "Superstition" for Beck. However, Stevie's manager insisted that he record it before Beck did.

When not touring or recording, Beck rarely plays guitar. Instead, he spends most of his time working on his classic Jaguars or building hot rods.

Beck was asked to join The Rolling Stones but declined before Ron Wood took the job.

Jimi Hendrix considered Beck a close friend.

Honorary member of the Henchmen Motorcycle Club.

Beck did a co-headline tour with Stevie Ray Vaughan in 1989.

He was interested in playing lead guitar for Iron Butterfly when the group reformed in 1968 after a brief split. Before deciding upon Erik Brann, the band also considered Neil Young and Michael Monarch.

Beck appears on John McLaughlin's Promise.

Pink Floyd originally considered Beck to replace Syd Barrett after the latter became difficult to work with. However, Beck declined and David Gilmour was chosen instead.

Beck's group plays with Donovan on the song, "Goo Goo Barabajagal (Love is Hot)"

Beck was to play a song with Guns N' Roses in Paris in 1992 but couldn't perform due to ear problems. He did rehearse on stage with them though.

Beck rarely uses a pick while playing.

Jeff has played on the rare blues album Guitar Boogie with Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page

Jeff was due to play as featured guitarist on Mo Foster's first solo album Bel Assis but days before the recording was due to start Jeff injured his thumb working on one of his beloved hot-rods. He was replaced at the last minute by Gary Moore.

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Re: Jeff Beck

Postby N2yes » Mon Sep 17, 2007 1:40 am

After Mick Taylor's departure, can you imagine that void filled with the likes of Jeff Beck?????? Holy hell!! They would still be releasing albums of mega-draw, unlike now where even though their popularity remains high, it would be stellar! Beck and Clapton, both played with the Yardbirds and here is where they developed their own unique sounds...I'm convinced. Beck never got quite the recognition he deserved, IMHO. What a whipper of strings he was and still is. Like all the rest, much obliged to you HTM for making sure this master did not escape this all-too-important list.
BTW, I loved Beck, Boggert and Appice. Their version of "Superstitious' is so bottomed out....incredible sound!
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Re: Jeff Beck

Postby frankh » Mon Sep 17, 2007 5:57 am

Many, many, many years ago, so many that it may as well have been another lifetime, and, all things considered, essentially -was-, (1975? '76?), I was fortunate enough to be in attendance at an Eric Clapton / Santana concert here in upstate NY.

Many, many things happened at that show. There were alot of people there. A lovely young lady utilized my height by inviting herself up onto my shoulders to see the show. Lovely thighs.

I did rather too much of a certain chemical enhancement. Lived. Other than possibly with the young lady, didn't really embarrass myself too much.

(There's more to that story, lol...)

It was a pretty fair show. Clapton seemed 'off', it was allegedly right square in the middle of his own substance problems, and you could just about hear it and see it.

Santana was excellent. They opened, and later, Carlos joined Eric onstage for the closing of the show, likely the best portion of the proceedings.

...with the possible exception of...


...and this has happened to me alot!...

...again, it was the 'piped in' music, before the show...

...and, whatever it was, it was really fine, really good. New sounding, explorative, hot, great, great guitar leads, funky, heavy on the tasty percussion, hot heys in accompaniment...

...had to know that this stuff was!... my head was beginning to assume that 'other' space, I asked around, and asked around...

"Anybody know what this music is?"

At last, an authoritative answer was provided.

Jeff Beck, Blow By Blow.

The tunes that had really got me going were AIR Blower and Scatterbrain (somehow always been partial to instrumentals. Therefore, although I've been a fan of no small amount of vocally oriented music, being a Yes fan still makes sense in that the vocals amount to another couple, few instruments the band could have utilized. Although Jon's words from back in those times resonate today so differently, so well. Amazingly so!).

Several years before that, my older half - brother exposed me to the Truth album, and with all the wonderful material on that one, it was the cover of Ol' Man River he wanted me to hear, and that new vocalist, Rod Stewart (who was still a few years short of his Maggie Mae time, and thankfully well, well short of Do You Think I'm Sexy [even now, it is painful just typing that!]).

Although still really just a youngster then, I had become aware of Beck's rock royalty lineage. As a matter of personal opinion, it is at least as offensive that he is not in the RRHOF as it is that neither is Yes.

So began my exploration into all things Beck -ian. An exploration that is still incomplete, but has always been satisfying. I loved the follow up to Blow By Blow, Wired even more. There are moments on Wired that still stand my hair on end. All of Led Boots, but especially the solos. His solos on Come Dancing.

Led Boots, with manic drums by Narada Michael Walden, and with another highly adrenal solo to conclude from the wonderful Jan Hammer, is one of the single most energetic, frantic, and, if I may be excused, balls to the wall instrumentals of all time.

Although often somewhat derided, Beck's work with Jan Hammer, other than most of the live album Live With The Jan Hammer Group (although the Freeway Jam from that work is alot of fun!) amounts to a blissful joining of enormously gifted talents.

Later, I would discover Guitar Shop, and others, but the research should continue, because other matters have necessarily intruded that have kept me from it.

Of all the legendary guitarists from those times, another age, with the possible exceptions of Hendrix, Howe, and maybe one or two others, maybe, (and the named exceptions are, again to emphasize, only possibles) noone has more consistently found that spot, that 'spot' that goes up and down my spinal column quite like Jeff Beck.

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Re: Jeff Beck

Postby sound_chaser » Sun Jun 22, 2008 8:20 am

I just wanted to say that Wired is one of my all time favourite albums and I was surprised to read that it sold less well than the previous album, Blow By Blow, because it is far better, in my opinion. It’s not often you hear an instrumental album that is this consistently great and involving: Beck is absolutely at his peak on this album with so many memorable solos. Of all those solos though, nothing tops what he did with Mingus standard, Good Bye Porkpie Hat, which just hits you over and over with the most sublime playing. This piece of music, for me, is the absolute pinnacle of guitar playing: it is just sensational and destroys me every time!

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Re: Jeff Beck

Postby yesman90125 » Sun Jun 22, 2008 9:13 pm

I had been hearing of Jeff mostly in regards to Yardbirds fame.
to this day I'm not sure of what Yardbirds material was Jeff Beck what was Eric Clapton and what was Jimmy Page
I loved the hits like heart full of soul and shapes of things and a few others(of which I sort of assume were Claptons with no real basis for that assumption)
any way
sometime in the late 70's early 80's I bought the "Wired" and "Blow By Blow" LP's
those two albums were absolutely fantastic
I bought them again as cassettes and as Cd's
but never dug much deeper into anything Jef Beck did
apart from a "Faces" album
and the guitar work he did on Roger Waters "Amused To Death" which I thought was very "David Gilmour" (perhaps intentionally)
regardles those two Albums Blow By blow and Wired
are some of my fav's
I don't know really why I wasnt inspired to dig any deeper
I guess there's still time.
my brother had the "Beck, Bogart, Appice" album and played it ad nauseum maybe that's why I never dug deeper.

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