Vinnie Colaiuta - Drums
Tal Wilkenfeld - Bass
Jason Rebello - Keys
Jeff Beck at the Palais, Melbourne, Australia
26 January 2009
|Birth name||Geoffrey Arnold Beck|
|Born||24 June 1944 |
|Genres||Blues rock, jazz fusion,instrumental rock, hard rock,electronica, progressive rock|
|Occupations||Musician, songwriter, actor|
|Instruments||Guitar, bass, talk box, vocals, trumpet, drums, flute, contrabass|
|Labels||EMI, Epic (punch)|
|Associated acts||The Yardbirds, The Jeff BeckGroup, The Honeydrippers,Beck, Bogert & Appice, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Big Town Playboys, Upp, Eric Clapton,Duff McKagan|
|Fender Jeff Beck Signature Model Stratocaster|
Jeff Beck 1954 Les Paul Oxblood
Geoffrey Arnold "Jeff" Beck (born 24 June 1944) is an English rockguitarist. He is one of three noted guitarists, to have played with The Yardbirds (Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page are the other two). Beck also formed The Jeff Beck Group and Beck, Bogert & Appice.
Much of Beck's recorded output has been instrumental, with a focus on innovative sound and his releases have spanned genres ranging from blues-rock, heavy metal, jazz fusion and most recently, an additional blend of guitar-rock and electronica. Although he recorded two hit albums (in 1975 and 1976) as a solo act, Beck has not established or maintained a broad following or the sustained commercial success of many of his collaborators and bandmates. Beck appears on albums by Mick Jagger, Kate Bush,Roger Waters, Stevie Wonder, Les Paul, Zucchero, Cyndi Lauper, Brian Mayand ZZ Top. In 1988, he made a cameo appearance in the movie Twins.
He was ranked 14th in Rolling Stone's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" and the magazine has described him as "one of the most influential lead guitarists in rock". He was also ranked second greatest rock guitarist of all time in Digital Dream Door, a site that ranks movies and music. MSNBC has called him a "guitarist's guitarist". Beck has earned wide critical praise and received the Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance six times. He has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice: as a member of The Yardbirds (1992) and as a solo artist (2009).
Beck was born in 1944 to Arnold and Ethel Beck at 206 Demesne Road,Wallington, England. As a ten year old Beck sang in a church choir. As a teenager he learned to play a borrowed guitar and made several attempts to build his own instrument, first by gluing and bolting together cigar boxes for the body and an unsanded fence-post for the neck with model aircraft control-lines and frets simply painted on. When fabricating a neck for his next try he attempted to use measurements for a bass guitar.
Beck has cited Les Paul as the first electric guitar player who impressed him. Cliff Gallup, lead guitarist with Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps was an early musical influence, followed by B.B. Kingand Steve Cropper.
Upon leaving school he attended Wimbledon College of Art, after which he was briefly employed as a painter and decorator, a groundsman on a golf course and a car paint-sprayer. Beck's sister introduced him to Jimmy Page when both were teenagers.
Beck began his career in the 1960s. He joined "The Rumbles" a Croydon band in 1963 for a short period as lead guitarist, playing Gene Vincent and Buddy Holly songs, displaying a talent for mimicking guitar styles. His first appearance on vinyl was as a session guitarist on a 1964 Parlophone single by The Fitz and Startz entitled 'I'm Not Running Away' c/w 'So Sweet'.
In March 1965 Beck was recruited by The Yardbirds to replace Eric Clapton on the recommendation of fellow session manJimmy Page, who had been their initial choice. The Yardbirds recorded most of their Top 40 hit songs during Beck's time with the band, which was short (but significant), allowing him only one full album, Yardbirds which became known as Roger the Engineer, released in 1966. From September to November 1966 he shared lead guitar duties with Page, who initially joined as bass player in June of that year.
In February 1967, after recording the one-off "Beck's Bolero" (with Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, Nicky Hopkins and Keith Moon) and two solo hit singles in the UK, "Hi Ho Silver Lining" and "Tallyman", Beck formed The Jeff Beck Group, which featured Rod Stewart on vocals, Ronnie Wood on bass, Nicky Hopkins on piano and, after a series of drummers, eventually Micky Waller.
The group produced two albums for Columbia Records (Epic in the US): Truth (August 1968) and Beck-Ola (July 1969). Truth, released five months before the first Led Zeppelin album, features "You Shook Me", a song written and first recorded by Willie Dixon that was also covered on the Led Zeppelin debut. It sold well (reaching number 15 on the Billboard charts). Beck-Ola, while well-received, saw drummer Micky Waller replaced by Tony Newman, and was less successful both commercially and critically. Resentment, coupled with touring incidents, led the group to dissolve in July 1969.
Nick Mason recalls in his autobiography that during 1967 Pink Floyd had wanted to recruit Beck to be their guitarist after the departure of Syd Barrett but "None of us had the nerve to ask him".
After the break-up of his group Beck took part in the Music From Free Creek "super session" project, billed as "A.N. Other" and contributed lead guitar on four songs, including one co-written by him. Next he teamed up with bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice, the rhythm section of Vanilla Fudge in September 1969, when Bogert and Appice came to England to resolve contractual issues, but when Beck fractured his skull in a caraccident near Maidstone in December the plan was postponed for two-and-a-half years, during which time Bogert and Appice formed Cactus. Beck later remarked on the 1960s period of his life: "Everyone thinks of the 1960s as something they really weren't. It was the frustration period of my life. The electronic equipment just wasn't up to the sounds I had in my head.
In 1970, when Beck had regained his health, he set about forming a band with drummer Cozy Powell. Beck, Powell and producer Mickie Most flew to the US and recorded several tracks at Motown Studios with Motown session men, but the results remained unreleased. By April 1971 Beck had completed the line-up of this new group with guitarist/vocalist Bobby Tench, keyboard player Max Middleton and bassist Clive Chaman. The new band performed as the "Jeff Beck Group" but had a substantially different sound from the first line-up. Rough and Ready (October 1971), the first album they recorded, on which Beck wrote or co-wrote six of the album's seven tracks (the exception being written by Middleton), included elements of soul, rhythm-and-blues and jazz, foreshadowing the direction Beck's music would take later in the decade.
A second album Jeff Beck Group (July 1972) was recorded at TMI studios inMemphis, Tennessee with the same personnel. Beck employed Steve Cropperas producer and the album displayed a strong soul influence, five of the nine tracks being covers of songs by American artists. One, "I Got To Have A Song", was the first of four Stevie Wonder compositions covered by Beck. Shortly after the release of the Jeff Beck Group album the band was dissolved and Beck's management put out the statement that: "The fusion of the musical styles of the various members has been successful within the terms of individual musicians, but they didn't feel it had led to the creation of a new musical style with the strength they had originally sought."
Beck then started collaborating with bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice, who became available following the demise of Cactus but continued touring as Jeff Beck Group in August 1972, to fulfil contractual obligations with his promoter, with a line-up including Bogert, Appice, Max Middleton and vocalist Kim Milford. After six appearances Milford was replaced by Bobby Tench, who was flown in from the UK for the Arie Crown Theatre Chicago performance and the rest of the tour, which concluded at the Paramount North West Theatre, Seattle. After the tour Tench and Middleton left the band and the power trioBeck, Bogert & Appice appeared: Appice took on the role of vocalist with Bogert and Beck contributing occasionally. They were included on the bill for Rock at The Oval in September 1972, still as the "Jeff Beck Group", which marked the start of a tour schedule of UK, the Netherlands and Germany. Another US tour began in October 1972, starting at the Hollywood Sportatorium Florida and concluding on 11 November 1972 at The Warehouse,New Orleans. In April 1973 the album Beck, Bogert & Appice was released (on Epic Records). While critics acknowledged the band's instrumental prowess the album was not commercially well received except for its cover of Stevie Wonder's hit "Superstition".
On 3 July 1973 Beck joined David Bowie on-stage to perform "The Jean Genie"/"Love Me Do" and "Around and Around". The show was recorded and filmed but none of the released editions included Beck. During October 1973 Beck recorded tracks for Michael Fennelly's album Lane Changer and attended sessions with Hummingbird, a band derived from TheJeff Beck Group, but did not to contribute to their eponymous first album
Early in January 1974 the band played at the Rainbow Theatre, as part of a European tour. The concert was broadcast in full on the US show Rock Around the World in September of the same year. This last recorded work by the band previewed material intended for a second studio album, included on the bootleg At Last Rainbow. The tracks Blues Deluxe and BBA Boogie from this concert were later included on the Jeff Beck compilation Beckology (1991). Beck, Bogert & Appice dissolved in April 1974 before their second studio album (produced by Jimmy Miller) was finished. Their live album Beck, Bogert & Appice Live in Japan, recorded during their 1973 tour of Japan, was not released until February 1975 by Epic/Sony.
After a few months Beck entered Underhill Studio and met with the group Upp, whom he recruited as backing band for his appearance on the BBC TV programme Guitar Workshop in August 1974. Beck produced and played on their self-titled debut album and their second album This Way Upp, though his contributions to the second album went uncredited. In October Beck began to record instrumentals at AIR Studios with Max Middleton, bassist Phil Chen and drummer Richard Bailey, using George Martin as producer and arranger. Blow by Blow (March 1975) evolved from these sessions and showcased Beck's technical prowess in jazz-rock. The album reached number four in the charts and is Beck's most commercially-successful release. Beck, fastidious about overdubs and often dissatisfied with his solos, often returned to AIR Studios until he was satisfied. A couple of months after the sessions had finished Martin received a telephone call fromBeck, who wanted to record a solo section again. Bemused, Martin replied: "I'm sorry, Jeff, but the record is in the shops!"
Beck put together a live band for a US tour, preceded by a small and unannounced gig at The Newlands Tavern in Peckham, London. He toured through April and May 1975, mostly supporting the Mahavishnu Orchestra, retaining Max Middleton on keyboards but with the new rhythm section of Wilbur Bascomb (bass) and noted session drummer Bernard "Pretty" Purdie. In a May 1975 show in Cleveland, Ohio (Music Hall), he became frustrated with an early version of a "talk box" he used on his arrangement of The Beatles "She's A Woman," and after breaking a string, tossed his legendary Yardbirds-era Stratocaster off the stage. He did the same with the talk box and finished the show playing a Les Paul and without the box. During this tour he performed at Yuya Uchida's "World Rock Festival," playing a total of eight songs with Purdie. In addition he performed a guitar and drum instrumental with Johnny Yoshinaga and, at the end of the festival, joined in a live jam with bassist Felix Pappalardi of Mountain and vocalist Akira "Joe" Yamanaka from the Flower Travellin' Band. Only his set with Purdie was recorded and released.
He returned to the studio and recorded Wired (1976), which paired the drummer and composer Narada Michael Walden and keyboardist Jan Hammer. The album used a jazz-rock fusion style which sounded similar to the work of his two collaborators. To promote the album, Beck joined forces with the Jan Hammer Group, playing a show supporting Alvin Lee at The Roundhouse in May 1976, before embarking on a seven-month long world tour. This resulted in the live album Jeff Beckwith The Jan Hammer Group - Live (1977).
At this point, Beck was a tax exile and took up residency in the US, remaining there until his return to the UK in the autumn of 1977. In the spring of 1978, he began rehearsing with bassist Stanley Clarke and drummer Gerry Brown towards a projected appearance at the Knebworth Festival, but this was cancelled after Brown dropped out. Beck toured Japan for three weeks in November 1978 with an ad-hoc group consisting of Clarke and newcomers Tony Hymas (keyboards) andSimon Phillips (drums) from Jack Bruce's band. Work then began on a new studio album at The Who's Ramport Studios in London and continued sporadically throughout 1979, resulting in There and Back in June 1980. It featured three tracks composed and recorded with Jan Hammer, while five were written with Hymas. Stanley Clarke was replaced by Mo Fosteron bass, both on the album and the subsequent tours. Its release was followed by extensive touring in the USA, Japan and the UK.
In 1981 Beck made a series of historic live appearances with his Yardbirds predecessor Eric Clapton at the Amnesty International-sponsored benefit concerts dubbed The Secret Policeman's Other Ball 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 an 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, the ARMS Concert for Multiple Sclerosis featured a jam withBeck, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page. They performed "Tulsa Time" and "Layla". This is the only time all of the Yardbirds lead guitarists appeared on stage together.
After a four year break, Jeff made a return to instrumental music with the album Jeff Beck's Guitar Shop (1989), the first album to feature Beck as a fingerstyle guitarist, leaving the plectrum playing style. It was only his 3rd album to be released in the 1980s. Much of Beck's sparse and sporadic recording schedule was due in part to a long battle with noise-inducedtinnitus.
He recorded the instrumental soundtrack album Frankie's House (1992), as well as Crazy Legs (1993), a tribute album to 50's rockabilly group Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps and their influential guitarist Cliff Gallup.
Beck rehearsed with Guns N' Roses for their concert in Paris in 1992, but did not play in the actual concert due to ear damage caused by a Matt Sorumcymbal crash, causing Beck to become temporarily deaf. The Yardbirds were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992. In Beck's acceptance speech he humorously noted that:
|“||Someone told me I should be proud tonight... But I'm not, because they kicked me out. ...They did... Fuck them!||”|
He accompanied Paul Rodgers of Bad Company on the album Muddy Water Blues: A Tribute to Muddy Waters in 1993. Jeff's next release would not be until 1999, his first foray into guitar based electronica, Who Else! The album also marked Beck's first collaboration with a female musician, Jennifer Batten, in touring, writing, and recording as well as the first time he had worked with another guitarist on his own material since playing in The Yardbirds. Beck continued to work with Batten through the post-release tour of You Had It Coming in 2001.
Jeff Beck won his third Grammy Award, this one for 'Best Rock Instrumental Performance' for the track "Dirty Mind" fromYou Had It Coming (2001).
The song "Plan B," from the 2003 release Jeff, earned Beck his fourth Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance, and was proof that the new electro-guitar style he used for the two earlier albums would continue to dominate.Jeff Beck was the opening act for B.B. King in the summer of 2003 and appeared at Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival in 2004.
In 2007, he accompanied Kelly Clarkson for her cover of Patty Griffin's "Up to the Mountain (MLK Song)", during the Idol Gives Back episode ofAmerican Idol. The performance was recorded live and afterwards was immediately released for sale. In the same year, he appeared once again at Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival, performing with Vinnie Colaiuta,Jason Rebello, and the then 21-year-old bassist Tal Wilkenfeld.
Beck announced a world tour in early 2009 and remained faithful to the same lineup of musicians as in his tour two years before, playing and recording at Ronnie Scott's in London to a sold out audience. Beckplayed on the song "Black Cloud" on the 2009 Morrissey album Years of Refusal and later that year, Harvey Goldsmith became Beck's Manager.
Beck was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 4 April 2009, as a solo artist. The award was presented byJimmy Page. On 4 July 2009, David Gilmour joined Beck onstage at the Albert Hall. Beck and Gilmour traded solos on "Jerusalem" and closed the show with "Hi Ho Silver Lining".
Beck's latest album, Emotion & Commotion, was released in April 2010. It features a mixture of original songs and covers such as "Over the Rainbow" and "Nessun Dorma". Joss Stone provides some of the guest vocals. Two tracks fromEmotion & Commotion won Grammys in 2011: "Nessun Dorms" won the Best Pop Instrumental Performance and "Hammerhead" won the Best Rock Instrumental Performance".
Beck's 2010 World Tour band features Grammy winning musician Narada Michael Walden on drums, Rhonda Smith on bass and Jason Rebello on keyboards. Beck collaborated on "Imagine" for the 2010 Herbie Hancock album, The Imagine Projectalong with Seal, P!nk, India.Arie, Konono N°1, Oumou Sangare and others. He has also released a live album titled Live and Exclusive from the Grammy Museum on October 25, 2010.
In 2011, Beck received two honorary degrees from British universities. On 18 July 2011, he was honoured with a fellowship from University of the Arts London in recognition of his "outstanding contribution to the field of Music". He was also presented with an honorary doctorate from University of Sussex by Sanjeev Bhaskar, the university's chancellor for “an outstanding musical career and celebrated the relationship between the university and the Brighton Institute of Modern Music (BIMM)" on 21 July 2011.
One of the most influential guitarists in the history of rock music, Jeff Beck has cited his major influences as Les Paul, The Shadows, Cliff Gallup, Ravi Shankar, Roy Buchanan, Chet Atkins, Django Reinhardt, Steve Cropper andLonnie Mack. Of John McLaughlin, he said: "he has given us so many different facets of the guitar and introduced thousands of us to world music, by blending Indian music with jazz and classical. I'd say he was the best guitarist alive."
While Beck was not the first rock guitarist to experiment with electronic distortion, he nonetheless helped to redefine the sound and role of the electric guitar in rock music. Beck's work with The Yardbirds and The Jeff Beck Group's 1968 albumTruth were seminal influences on heavy metal music, which emerged in full force in the early 1970s.
Technique and equipment
Beck stopped regular use of a pick (plectrum) in the 1980s. He produces a wide variety of sounds by using his fingers and thevibrato bar on his signature Fender Stratocaster, although he frequently uses a wah-wah pedal both live and in the studio. As Eric Clapton once said, "With Jeff, it’s all in his hands".Along with Fender Stratocasters, Beck occasionally playsFender Telecaster and Gibson Les Paul models as well. His amplifiers are primarily Fender and Marshall. In his earlier days with the Yardbirds, Beck also used a 1954 Fender Esquireguitar (now owned by Seymour W. Duncan, and housed in the Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame) through Vox AC30s. He has also played through a variety of fuzz pedals and echo-units along with this set-up and has used the Pro Co RATdistortion pedal.
He is noted for changes of musical style and direction throughout his career. Ritchie Blackmore once praised this aspect ofJeff in an interview to Martin K. Webb, when the interviewer asked him what he means by "chance music", he replied:
During the ARMS Charity Concerts in 1983 Beck used his battered Fender Esquire along with a 1954 Fender Stratocasterand a Jackson Soloist. On the Crazy Legs (1993) he played a Gretsch Duo Jet, his signature Fender Stratocaster and various other guitars. Recently[when?] Fender created a Custom Shop Tribute series version of his beat-up Fender Esquire as well as his Artist Signature series Stratocaster.
Beck has been married to Sandra Cash since 2005. Beck describes himself as a vegetarian. He has an interest in classic Ford hot rods, performing much of the work on the exteriors and engines of the cars by himself.
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