Artist News

Jeff Beck dies

By | Published on Thursday 12 January 2023

Jeff Beck

Jeff Beck has died, aged 78, after recently contracting bacterial meningitis.

In a statement yesterday, the guitarist’s family said: “On behalf of his family, it is with deep and profound sadness that we share the news of Jeff Beck’s passing. After suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis, he peacefully passed away [on Tuesday]. His family asks for privacy while they process this tremendous loss”.

With a career spanning nearly 60 years, Beck first came to prominence with The Yardbirds – replacing Eric Clapton in that band in 1965. He also had success with the Jeff Beck Group and as a solo artist, and performed and recorded with numerous other musicians, including Stevie Wonder, Kate Bush, Jon Bon Jovi, Joe Cocker, Morrissey and Ozzy Osbourne.

Beck was recommended to The Yardbirds by Jimmy Page – both guitarists then working as session musicians. Although his time with the band lasted less than two years, he performed on several of their most successful singles, and recorded one album with them, 1966’s ‘Roger The Engineer’.

While a member of The Yardbirds, Beck also made his first solo record, ‘Beck’s Bolero’, on which he was backed by Page, Keith Moon, John Paul Jones and pianist Nicky Hopkins.

Pleased with the results, the musicians talked about forming a new band, which Moon quipped would “go down like a lead zeppelin”. Something Page filed away for later. The song was eventually released as the b-side to Beck’s first solo single, ‘Hi Ho Silver Lining’, which went to number fourteen in the UK singles chart.

He then formed the Jeff Beck Group, which included Hopkins, as well as Rod Stewart on vocals and Ronnie Wood on bass. The band released two albums – the first billed as a Jeff Beck solo record – before splitting in 1969. The following year, Beck formed a new version of the group with a different sound, with whom he recorded a further two albums.

Beck released eleven solo albums during his career – the most recent, ‘Loud Hailer’, arriving in 2016. His final album, released last year, was a collaboration with actor Johnny Depp, titled ‘18’. Depp also joined Beck on stage at a number of live shows immediately following his defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard.

Paying tribute to his former bandmate last night, Rod Stewart said on Twitter: “Jeff Beck was on another planet. He took me and Ronnie Wood to the USA in the late 60s in his band the Jeff Beck Group and we haven’t looked back since. He was one of the few guitarists that when playing live would actually listen to me sing and respond. Jeff, you were the greatest, my man. Thank you for everything”.