Guitarist Jeff Beck Has Died at the Age of 78
Guitarist Jeff Beck – who rose to prominence with the Yardbirds in the 1960s and had success across a nearly six-decade-long career as a solo artist and bandleader of the Jeff Beck Group – has died at the age of 78. He died on Tuesday, 10th January.
Beck’s death was confirmed “with deep and profound sadness” in a statement released on behalf of his family. The family said the British musician “peacefully passed away yesterday” after contracting bacterial meningitis. “His family ask for privacy while they process this tremendous loss,” the statement said.
“It is with deep and profound sadness that we share the news of Jeff Beck’s passing”
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 yesterday. His family ask for privacy while they process this tremendous loss. pic.twitter.com/4dvt5aGzlv
— Jeff Beck (@jeffbeckmusic) January 11, 2023
Considered one of the most influential guitarists of all time, Beck won eight Grammy Awards throughout his career and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice – in 1992 as a member of the Yardbirds and in 2009 as a solo artist.
Born in Surrey in 1944, Beck was drawn to music and played guitar in his youth. After playing in multiple bands while attending Wimbledon College of Art, he was recruited by the Yardbirds in 1965 following the departure of Eric Clapton. He played on three Yardbirds albums – 1965’s For Your Love and Having a Rave Up and 1966’s Roger the Engineer, the only album that Beck features on all tracks – before tensions between Beck and the rest of the band caused him to leave.
Beck’s debut solo album Truth arrived in 1968, with the guitarist blending elements of blues and hard rock. Beck-Ola, the first album credited to the Jeff Beck Group, arrived in June 1969, but in September, Beck fractured his skull in a car accident, putting his career on hold.
In the early 1970s, having regained his health, Beck released a slew of albums with the Group and as a solo artist, including 1971’s Rough and Ready, 1972’s Jeff Beck Group, 1975’s Blow by Blow and 1976’s Wired. It was during this time that Beck began venturing into jazz fusion, a sonic shift that would shape the remainder of his output.
Later albums included the Nile Rodgers-produced Flash in 1985, 1989’s Grammy-winning Jeff Beck’s Guitar Shop and 1999’s electronic-influenced Who Else! Outside of his solo work, Beck collaborated with a wide range of other artists, appearing on albums by Mick Jagger, Kate Bush, Diana Ross, Queen‘s Brian May, Morrissey, Ozzy Osbourne and many others.
Beck’s most recent album was last year’s 18, a collaboration with Johnny Depp. The album contained a couple of Depp and Beck originals along with covers of songs by The Beach Boys, Marvin Gaye, The Velvet Underground, Janis Ian, Killing Joke, John Lennon, The Miracles, Dennis Wilson and more.
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