Jeff Beck passed away from viral meningitis yesterday, at the age of 78. No matter what his Rolling Stone assignation as the 5th best guitarist of all time, or his two time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame accolades (once for the Yardbirds, once as a solo artist), nor the company he keeps as one of the rock and roll golden age greats, alongside Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young, Jimi Page, Dave Gilmour and Peter Green, Jeff was very much his own man. I never have heard a bad word about this man who saved all of his noise, drama and music for his iconic Fender Strat and the stages upon which he played so beautifully and powerfully.
Jeff Beck explored the boundaries of what a guitar was capable of, incorporating jazz improvisation, rock, blues, heavy metal and good old fashioned rock and roll into his powerful mixture. Jeff’s guitar was always big medicine, whether good or bad, calming or invigorating.
I personally love the Beck/Page Yardbirds lineup, and its dangerous engine of rebellion. That band was not just great, it was tight – the biggest accolade I can think to ever bestow on a group. Their music launched the careers of Clapton, Page and Jeff Beck, and though sounds very much of its time, the early 1960s, has matured into early mod white-boy blues gold.
Rest in power, Beck. Turn that amp up to the max, go find Jimi and the other boys already there waiting for you, and let that celestial strat rip. Beck: the only guitarist that Page ever looked happy to play rhythm guitar for. Beck the man with the tasty riffs and all the edge you could wish for. Beck, solid, yet soaring, flying over that fretboard as if his fingers were made to do that, and that only.
It is the end of an era. Rock and roll is losing sand through the hourglass by the moment, and Beck passing into the annals of history, victorious and legendary is one more nail in the coffin of a movement that once felt as if it could change the world and make it a better place. Beck did make the world a better place with his music for the time he was here to grace us with it, and he deserves all the tributes and accolades that are deservedly being sent up to him like prayers, from those that look up to him and revere him.
Jeff Beck: one of the originals. Fly high, Jeff. We were lucky to have you, and already miss you.
“Rock and Roll is losing sand through the hourglass by the moment” – oh, so true! I think it did change the world though, just not as much as we hoped.
There is something to be said about the reckoning of Altamont, and the loss of the 60s dream, which faded into the excesses of the 70s, and the nightmare of the 80s…Now it is all terrible. Apart from Big Thief. I like Big Thief.
Yes, the new nightmare that started with Ronald Reagan has never really ended. Have you ever read D H Lawrence’s little book, Studies in American Literature? In his chapt on Melville, he says that when Ahab and his ship sank, that was the moment when the USA finally descended into collective insanity. I would say some sanity remained side by side with it, but always struggling for survival. Lawrence was a little insane himself, but that was also his great gift.
I adore DH Lawrence, and yes I have read it. He is an essayist on a par with George Orwell in my humble opinion. Sanity is overrated. All the best people are a little mad, a bit left of center, a tiny bit crazy. The problem is when crazy is accompanied by a society given to violence, intolerance, hatred and supremacy, alongside dehumanization of others. Then the crazy gets dangerous and that will never do. Heaven save me from ‘sane’ people!
Amen… One by one, they pass…
It is almost more than I can bear. I think all the Ramones passing was the first time I realized the survivors of the excesses were not going to live forever. I refuse to accept that Lou Reed and Bowie are dead.
An era of legends coming to an end but the patrimony of music they left behind will never be forgotten and will live forever.
I am dreading Dylan, Joni and Neil Young coming to the end of their lives. I am emotionally dependent on their music and existance..
Yes and many others too. But keep this in mind, they might be gone, but their music will live on forever.
Yes. Who is your favorite artist?
I have many some gone done still kicking.
U2 top my list but Pink Floyd, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Franco Battiato, Hendrix, Dylan and many more.
Interesting list! I love Dylan and Floyd…but as you can probably tell I am a huge Lou Reed/Velvet Underground fan..
Yes. I actually discovered Lou Reed through U2.
Their Satellite of Love cover was not my cup of tea, but I’m glad it made you aware of Lou!
I agree, cover versions are rarely up to the original.
With the exception of “All Along The Watchtower” covered by Hendrix, and “Needles and Pins” covered by the Ramones and a few others I am forgetting…, I am in agreement!
When replying before Hendrix came to mind. I can never stop listening to that incredible masterpiece.
I think that even Bob would have to admit that Hendrix’s version was the definitive one. Im listening to Bob right now, “Going, going, Gone..” I love Dylan’s voice, but Hendrix really got “Watchtower”, he felt it.
Totally. One of the best performances ever.
I wish I was of the era that I could have seen Hendrix play live, but I suppose will just have to remain an old punk instead.