Jeff Beck has passed away aged 78 after contracting bacterial meningitis. Beck was widely regarded as one of the greatest guitarists of all time. Not only did he have a distinctive style, but he was also said to have been un-copyable because of the way he was able to produce sounds and emotion from his instrument.
Often called the “guitarists’ guitarist”, he won eight Grammy awards and worked with everyone from Eric Clapton to Stevie Wonder. His best-known hit was 'Hi Ho Silver Linin', from 1967. while that track probably receives plenty of airplay - even today, the bubblegum pop song does not do credit to Beck's legacy. he was often referred to as the “guitarists’ guitarist”.
Jeff was born in 1944 and grew up in Wallington, just outside London. His mother was a factory worker and his father an accountant. In his teens he became obsessed with blues and rock n' roll and began to teach himself to play on his DIY cigar bo guitar; something that was very common for kids to do back then as musical instruments were often very expensive.
While at college he would meet Jimmy Page. He formed his own band, The Nightshift, in 1963. Jimmy Page then recommended that Beck be Clapton's replacement in The Yardbirds. His innovation and sound put the band, and himself on the map. He was making his guitar sound like a sitar on the track 'Heart Full of Soul'even before The Beatles!
In 1966 and formed the Jeff Beck Group in early 1967, with Ronnie Wood and Rod Stewart before recording the seminal album 'Blow by Blow' in 1975. He continued to enjoy success with his versatile and sometimes experimental music while contributing to pop hits like Tina Turner's 'Private Dance' and 'Bon Jovi's 'Blaze of Glory'. He also embraced new talent in the industry. Most recently he was touring with Johnny Depp.
Aside from music he was also an avid fan of hot rod cars and enjoyed working on them in his own workshop.
His death has left a huge hole in music, but he has left a tremendous legacy.