One could refer to Jeff Beck as a “guitarist’s guitarist” or a “guitarist’s god,” but either way, he was in a league of his own. A publicist released a statement on behalf of Beck’s family on Tuesday, saying that the legendary guitarist passed away from bacterial meningitis. Age-wise, he was in the 78th year of his life.
Beck was able to play any style of music that caught his ear, whether it was rock, jazz, blues, soul, or something else entirely. Beck believed that the guitar, at least when played in a certain way, had the potential to be as adaptable as the human voice. “I just tried to become a singer,” he told NPR in an interview from 2010.
“Because of its spring-loaded bridge, I believe the Stratocaster guitar opens up a world of possibilities. They call it a whammy bar, but I just use it as a vibrato pedal. And by adjusting the pitch, I have an infinite number of permutations at my disposal. I can simultaneously lower the pitch of six strings while playing a chord.”
Beck entered the world in 1944, in Wallington, England. As a young boy, he took a liking to the guitar, and he first gained widespread attention after being recruited to replace Eric Clapton in Jimmy Page’s band, The Yardbirds. Shortly after, Beck broke away to form The Jeff Beck Group (along with a then-little-known singer named Rod Stewart).
Beck’s name frequently comes up in discussions about the greatest guitar players of all time, alongside names like Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Keith Richards. However, Beck had a history of being shy and reserved, and he never warmed up to the limelight that came with his music career. In 2010, he shared his thoughts on the state of the music business with The New York Times.
A diabolical enterprise, he proclaimed. “What Amy Winehouse and others like her must go through to be persecuted I simply cannot fathom. When I attend events like premieres, I feel like I am on the periphery of the celebrity world, and that’s as close as I care to get. I take my privacy very seriously, and woe to anyone who violates it.”
His Loved Ones Have Asked For Privacy At This Time Of Great Sorrow
Geoffrey Arnold Beck, the groundbreaking guitarist, was born to Arnold and Ethel Beck in Wallington, England, where he quickly discovered his love of music.
After Johnny Depp settled his defamation lawsuit with ex-wife Amber Heard last year, Beck made headlines by announcing that the two would work together on an album.
In 2019, while Depp was also performing with Alice Cooper’s supergroup Hollywood Vampires, the actor and musician began recording their debut album together, which they had first discussed in 2016.
Beck has been inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, once with The Yardbirds in 1992 and again as a solo artist in 2009. He amassed a total of eight Grammys over the course of his career.
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Gene Simmons, Bassist For The Rock Band Kiss, Called The News Of Beck’s Death “Heartbreaking”
On Twitter, a musician lamented, “Heartbreaking news to report the late, great Jeff Back has sadly passed. Nobody could play the guitar as Jeff could.
Take a listen to the first two Jeff Beck Group albums, and you’ll see what I mean about the greatness they’ve brought into the world. RIP.”
When I heard the tragic news of Jeff Beck’s death, I was completely taken aback. There will never be another Jeff Beck because he was both a wonderful human being and a truly iconic, brilliant guitarist. I’ve never heard anything like his playing, it was so unique and brilliant. We will miss him. Jeff, rest in peace. To be continued… -Tony pic.twitter.com/0mn2gtTj5Z
There will never be another Jeff Beck,” Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi wrote in a tribute. His playing, they said, was “very special and distinctively brilliant!” We mourn the loss of such a good man. Adieu, Jeff.
Former Spandau Ballet guitarist Gary Kemp referred to Beck as “an absolute god of guitar.”
No one can take his place, he tweeted. He was the best musician ever, period, regardless of genre. Unique. What terrible news, but thanks for everything you did, Jeff.
Rock legend Ozzy Osbourne of Britain recently expressed gratitude for working with him on his latest album, calling it an “honor” to do so.
Black Sabbath’s frontman expressed his sorrow over the loss of Jeff Beck by tweeting, “I can’t express how saddened I am to hear of @JeffBeckMusic’s passing. It’s a tragedy for all of his loved ones to lose him.
Since his days with The Yardbirds and The Jeff Beck Group, he has forged a path that no one can follow. Let the music play now and forever. Steve Hackett, the lead guitarist for Genesis, called Beck “a powerful influence on myself and many others.”
Hackett lamented the loss of a “much loved, influential guitar legend” in a tweet, writing, “Devastating news about the death of Jeff Beck.”The Kinks’ Dave Davies expressed his “shock and bewilderment” at the news of Beck’s passing, calling him a “great and innovative guitar player.”