Internationally renowned guitarist Jeff Beck was born June 24, 1944 in Wallington, England. As a young person, he enjoyed listening to jazz, and eventually attended school in London at Wimbledon's Art College before becoming a full-time musician. His… Read more
Internationally renowned guitarist Jeff Beck was born June 24, 1944 in Wallington, England. As a young person, he enjoyed listening to jazz, and eventually attended school in London at Wimbledon's Art College before becoming a full-time musician. His first guitarist gig of repute was with Screaming Lord Sutch, which eventually led to his being chosen as Eric Clapton's replacement in the Yardbirds, staying with the band a very short time—he left in 1966, and started the Jeff Beck Group with Rod Stewart and Ron Wood (later of the Faces) the following year. They released two hard rock-styled albums, 1968's Truth and 1969's Beck-Ola, before Stewart and Wood left to join the Faces and Beck was in a car crash in which he suffered a fractured skull. He recovered and formed a new lineup Jeff Beck Group, which would last through 1972, and he collaborated with Tim Bogert and Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge, Cactus) for 1973's Beck, Bogert and Appice.
With his solo career, Beck has been strictly a guitar player, never singing over his own compositions. That said, he received significant acclaim by delving early on into jazz-fusion, a decision which yielded dazzling results. He released 1975's Blow By Blow and the following year's Wired, instrumental records that both created major waves among rock fans and critics. Following those records, he worked extensively with Jan Hammer, keyboardist for the Mahavishnu Orchestra, touring and releasing Jeff Beck with the Jan Hammer Group - Live in 1977.
In the years after this, his lifelong interest in cars took up more of his time, which meant his musical releases were more sporadic. Following 1980's There and Back, he only released two more albums in the '80s, but earned a Best Rock Instrumental Grammy in 1985 for "Escape" from that year's Flash LP, and he co-headlined with Stevie Ray Vaughan following 1989's Jeff Beck's Guitar Shop with Terry Bozzio and Tony Hymas. With the help of a backing band, the Big Town Playboys, he released a tribute to '50s singer Gene Vincent in 1993, Crazy Legs, and he returned to a more regular release schedule six years later with 1999's Who Else!. Since that record, he's released two more studio albums—2001's You Had It Coming and 2003's Jeff—as well as a few well-received live records, most recently 2008's Performing This Week: Live at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, a recording of his appearance at Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival in 2007. He continues to tour internationally, and is a 2009 inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Read more about Jeff Beck in Crawdaddy!:
"Yardbirds Question Time"
"Part I: Backstage Scenes From a 1975 Tour"
"Part II: Mahavishnu Orchestra & Jeff Beck 1975: Backstage Scenes From a Tour"
"Raunchy Faces Back on Tour"