The Passing of Jeff Beck

The Passing of Jeff Beck

Amin Shah, Arts & Entertainment Editor

As of the 11th of January, Jeff Beck has passed away. Many artists and celebrities are mourning the loss of this guitar legend and one of the all-time greats to ever touch the instrument, so a brief description of who he was would only be fitting (as many would not know who he may be). 

Geoffrey Arnold Beck was born in 1944 in England, where he joined the influential British rock group ‘‘The Yardbirds’’ with fellow musicians Jimmy Page (best known for his work in Led Zeppelin), Chris Dreja, Keith Relf, and Jim McCarty. Jeff Beck left about a year later due to a band conflict, forming his widely known ‘‘Jeff Beck Group’’. The concrete lineup was made up of vocalist Rod Stewart, Beck on lead guitar, and Ronnie Wood (who would later leave to join the Rolling Stones) on rhythm guitar. They went through a series of changes and albums until the band was disbanded in 1972.

Jeff Beck would venture on to create and maintain a solo career for most of his professional life. Although he may not have been as successful (commercially) as his contemporaries (like Alice Cooper or Eric Clapton), he would go on to create some of the greatest guitar-centered albums of the era, with his most prominent being ‘‘Blow by Blow’’’. Released in 1975, it would be his second solo album and arguably the most impactful project of his career. The album incorporated multiple genres like rock, jazz, blues, and R&B, which could best describe the album as jazz-fusion. The most consistent and intriguing feature of the album would prove to be his guitar playing, as the project features several instrumental songs where the guitar ends up offering the vocals of the song. It is truly an experience that few other guitarists can match on a solo project, as it isn’t in-your-face while not being hidden from the spotlight at the same time. It is an example of a good mix that isn’t solely showing off what the guitarist can do (although he does play some amazing licks and solos in the album).

Jeff Beck has led a long and fruitful career that can only be described as masterful. Recently, he and Johnny Depp created a collaborative album called ‘‘18’’ and Beck has even appeared on Ozzy Osbourne’s latest album ‘‘Patient Number 9’’. For a musician that maintained a professional recording career for nearly 60 years, he deserves his flowers and to be known as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, as his technical style and versatility are hard to match, even more so to surpass. Hopefully, more will know of him, whether it be due to his passing or not (as what tends to happen with many artists), his music deserves to be spread around among the masses.