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Jeff Beck. (2010, February 9). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 02:31, February 10, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jeff_Beck&oldid=343007345
Geoffrey Arnold "Jeff" Beck (born 24 June 1944) is an English rock guitarist. He was one of the three noted guitarists which include Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page, to have played with The Yardbirds. He was ranked 14th in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".
MSNBC has called Beck a "guitarist's guitarist" and Rolling Stone Magazine has described him as "one of the most influential lead guitarists in rock".
Much of Beck's recorded output has been instrumental, with a focus on innovative sound and his releases have spanned genres ranging from blues-rock, heavy metal, jazz fusion and most recently, an additional blend of guitar-rock and electronica. Beck has earned wide critical praise; furthermore, he has received the Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance four times. Although he has had two hit albums (in 1975 and 1976) as a solo act, Beck has not been able to establish and maintain a broad following or the sustained commercial success of many of his collaborators and bandmates.
Beck appears on albums by Roger Waters, Les Paul, Zucchero and Cyndi Lauper. Brian May's album and ZZ Top. He also made a cameo appearance in the movie Twins (1988) starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny DeVito and Nicolette Larson.
He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 4 April 2009. The award was presented by Jimmy Page.
Beck was born in 1944 to Arnold and Ethel Beck in Wallington, England. As a ten year old, Beck sang in a church choir. As a teenager he learned to play a borrowed guitar and then made several attempts to build his own instrument. His first attempt was by gluing and bolting together a selection of cigar boxes for the body and an unsanded fence-upright for a neck (forgetting the washers so that the bolt head sank into the wood). The strings were aircraft control line wires, both single and double stranded were used depending on the effect he wanted to achieve. The frets, however, were a different matter. In an unknowing portent for the future use of fretless guitar, the frets were simply painted on. Another attempt at a home-build was when he studiously cut a body from a very thick piece of wood. When fabricating the neck he attempted to use memorised measurements. Unfortunately the measurements he had remembered were those of a bass guitar. In his book Mo Foster quotes Beck as saying
Beck is cited as saying that the first electric guitar player he singled out as impressing him was Les Paul. Cliff Gallup, lead guitarist with Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps was an early musical influence, followed by Chuck Berry and Steve Cropper. Upon leaving school he attended Wimbledon College of Art, after which he briefly was employed as a painter and decorator, a groundsman on a golf course, and a job spray painting cars. Beck's sister would also play an instrumental role in introducing him to another teen hopeful named Jimmy Page.
He began his career in the 1960s, working as a session guitarist. In March 1965 Beck was recruited to replace Eric Clapton in The Yardbirds, on the recommendation of fellow session man, Jimmy Page, who had been their initial choice. It was during his tenure with the Yardbirds that the band recorded most of their Top 40 hit songs.
Beck's time with The Yardbirds was short, allowing him only one full album; Yardbirds which became known as Roger the Engineer (1966). He spent the September to November 1966 sharing the dual lead guitar role with Jimmy Page, who originally joined the Yardbirds as a bass player in June of that year.
In February 1967 after recording the one-off song "Beck's Bolero" (with Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, Nicky Hopkins, and Keith Moon) and having two solo vocals hit singles in the UK ("Hi Ho Silver Lining" and "Tallyman") Beck formed a new band called The Jeff Beck Group, which featured him on lead guitar, Rod Stewart on vocals, Ronnie Wood on bass, Nicky Hopkins on piano, and a series of drummers, eventually settling on Micky Waller. During 1967 Pink Floyd wanted Beck to become their guitarist after the departure of Syd Barrett but this never transpired. Nick Mason recalls in his autobiography that, "None of us had the nerve to ask him".
The group produced two albums for Columbia Records: Truth (August 1968) and Beck-Ola (July 1969). Both albums are highly acclaimed. Truth, released five months before the first Led Zeppelin album, features a cover of "You Shook Me", a song first recorded by Willie Dixon which was also covered on the Led Zeppelin debut. It sold well (reaching number 15 on the Billboard charts) and received great critical praise, Beck-Ola while well-received, was less successful both commercially and critically. Resentment, coupled with touring-related incidents, led the group to dissolve in July 1969.
After the breakup he took part in the Music From Free Creek super session project, appearing as "A.N. Other" and contributed lead guitar on four songs, including one co-written by Beck himself. After deciding not to continue working with Stewart he teamed up with bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice, the rhythm section of the Vanilla Fudge. In September 1969 Bogert and Appice came to England to start resolving their contractual issues, but when Beck fractured his skull in a car accident near Maidstone in December 1969 the plan ended up being postponed for two and a half years, during which time Bogert and Appice formed Cactus. Meanwhile, Rod Stewart teamed up with Ronnie Wood and the Small Faces.
In 1970, when Beck had regained his health he set about forming a band with entirely new members. His first recruit was drummer Cozy Powell. Beck, Powell and producer Mickie Most flew to the USA and recorded several tracks at Motown Studios with Motown session men, but the results remained unreleased. By April 1971, Beck had finalised the line-up of his new group (which kept the name of Jeff Beck Group although it had a substantially different sound from the first line-up) with guitarist and vocalist Bobby Tench, keyboard player Max Middleton and bassist Clive Chaman.
Rough and Ready (October 1971) was the first album recorded by this line-up and Beck wrote or co-wrote six of the album's seven tracks (the exception written by pianist Middleton). Rough and Ready included elements of soul, rhythm and blues and jazz, foreshadowing the direction Beck's music would take later in the decade.
A second album Jeff Beck Group (July 1972) was recorded at TMI studios in Memphis, Tennessee, using the same personnel and Beck employed Steve Cropper as producer. This album displayed a strong soul influence with five of the nine tracks being covers of songs by American artists. One such track "I Got To Have A Song" was the first of four Stevie Wonder compositions covered by Beck. Shortly after the release of the Jeff Beck Group album the band was officially dissolved and Beck's management put out this statement:
Beck then started to work on achieving his long time ambition of collaborating with bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice, who became available following the demise of Cactus. Beck immediately continued touring as Jeff Beck Group in August 1972 to fulfil contractual obligations with his promoter, with a new line-up including Bogert, Appice, Max Middleton and vocalist Kim Milford. After only six appearances Milford was replaced by Bobby Tench, who was flown in from UK in time for the Arie Crown Theatre Chicago performance and appeared with the band for the rest of the tour. The tour concluded at the Paramount North West Theatre in Washington.
After this US tour Tench and Middleton left the band when Beck formed the power trio Beck, Bogert & Appice. Drummer Appice also took on the role of vocalist with help from Bogert and Beck. Still billed as Jeff Beck Group they were included on the bill for Rock at The Oval in September 1972, which marked the start of a tour schedule of UK, the Netherlands and Germany . A US tour began in October 1972, starting at the Hollywood Sportatorium Florida and concluded on November 11, 1972, at The Warehouse New Orleans.
In April 1973 Beck, Bogert & Appice was released (on Epic Records) and featured the long-awaited line-up of Beck, Bogert & Appice. While critics acknowledged the band's instrumental prowess the album was not well received, except for its cover of Wonder's "Superstition". On 3 July 1973 Beck appeared as a guest artist during the David Bowie and The Spiders from Mars tour, when he joined Bowie on-stage to perform "The Jean Genie/Love Me Do" and "Round and Round". Even though the show was recorded and filmed, none of the released editions included the performances with Beck.
During October 1973 Beck recorded tracks for Michael Fennelly's album Lane Changer and attended sessions with Hummingbird, a band derived from The Jeff Beck Group, but did not to contribute to their eponymous first album
Early in January 1974 the band played at the Rainbow Theatre, as part of a European tour. The concert was broadcast in full on the US show Rock Around the World in September the same year. This was the last recorded work by the band and previewed material which was intended for a second studio album and songs from these performances were included on the bootleg At Last Rainbow. The tracks Blues Deluxe and BBA Boogie from this concert were later included on the Jeff Beck compilation Beckology (1991).
Beck, Bogert & Appice dissolved in April 1974, before their second studio album (produced by Jimmy Miller) was finished and Beck, Bogert & Appice Live in Japan recorded during their tour of Japan in 1973, was released in February 1975 by Epic/Sony. Jeff Beck produced and played on UPP's self titled debut album. Beck produced their second album 'This way' released in 1976 and plays on the tracks "Dance Your Troubles Away" and "Don't Want Nothing To Change".
After a few months recuperation, Beck entered Underhill Studio to work on new ideas. There he met with the group UPP, whom he recruited as backing band for his appearance on the BBC TV programme "Guitar Workshop" in August 1974. In October Beck began to record instrumentals at AIR Studios. During these sessions he worked with keyboard player Max Middleton, bassist Phil Chen and drummer Richard Bailey, using George Martin as producer and strings arranger. Blow by Blow (March 1975) evolved from these sessions and showcased Beck's technical prowess in jazz-rock. The album reached number four in the charts and is Beck's most commercially successful release.
Beck was fastidious about overdubs and was often dissatisfied with his solos and returned to AIR Studios to record his performances until he was satisfied that he had performed his best. A couple of months after the sessions had finished Martin received a telephone call from Beck, who wanted to record a solo section again. Bemused, Martin replied: "I'm sorry, Jeff, but the record is in the shops! Following an inconclusive audition to replace Mick Taylor in the Rolling Stones, Beck put together a live band for a US tour which was preceded by a small and unannounced gig in London. He toured through April and May 1975, mostly supporting the Mahavishnu Orchestra) having retaining Max Middleton on keyboards but with the new rhythm section of Wilbur Bascomb (bass) and noted session drummer Bernard "Pretty" Purdie. During this tour he performed at Yuya Uchida's "World Rock Festival" playing a total of eight songs with Bernard Purdie. In addition he performed a guitar and drum instrumental with Johnny Yoshinaga and at the end of the festival joined in a live jam with Felix Pappalardi with Akira from the Flower Travellin Band.Only his set with Purdiewas recorded and released.
He returned to the studio and recorded Wired (1976), which paired the drummer and composer Narada Michael Walden and keyboardist Jan Hammer. The album used a jazz-rock fusion style which sounded similar to the work of his two collaborators. To promote the album Beck joined forces with the Jan Hammer Group and they played a show supporting Alvin Lee at The Roundhouse in May 1976, before embarking on a seven-month long world tour. This resulted in the live album Jeff Beck with The Jan Hammer Group - Live (1977).
At this point, Beck was a tax exile and took up residency in the USA, remaining there until his return to the UK in the autumn of 1977. In the spring of 1978 he began rehearsing with bassist Stanley Clarke and drummer Gerry Brown towards a projected appearance at the Knebworth Festival, but this was cancelled after Brown dropped out. Beck toured Japan for three weeks in November 1978 with an ad-hoc group consisting of Clarke and newcomers Tony Hymas (keyboards) and Simon Phillips (drums) from Jack Bruce's band. Work then began on a new studio album at The Who's Ramport Studios in London and continued sporadically throughout 1979, resulting in There and Back in June 1980. It featured three tracks composed and recorded with Jan Hammer, while five were written with Hymas. Stanley Clarke was replaced by Mo Foster on bass, both on the album and the subsequent tours. Its release was followed by extensive touring in the USA, Japan and the UK.
In 1981 Beck made a series of historic live appearances with his Yardbirds predecessor Eric Clapton at the Amnesty International The Secret Policeman's Other Ball benefit shows. He appeared with Clapton on "Crossroads", "Further On Up The Road", and his own arrangement of Stevie Wonder's "Cause We've Ended As Lovers". Beck also featured prominently in the all-star band finale performance of "I Shall Be Released" with Clapton, Sting, Phil Collins, Donovan and Bob Geldof. Beck's contributions were seen and heard in the resulting album and film, both of which achieved worldwide success in 1982. Another benefit show, the ARMS Concert for Multiple Sclerosis featured a jam with Beck, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page. they performed Tulsa Time and Layla. This is the only time all of the Yardbirds lead guitarists appeared on stage together.
Beck went on to record sporadically, due largely to a long battle with noise-induced tinnitus) and recorded with Rod Stewart, Jan Hammer Hymas and Terry Bozzio). his Rockabilly influenced album Crazy Legs (1993) included songs by Gene Vincent and was recorded with The Big Town Play Boys.
Beck rehearsed with Guns 'N' Roses for their concert in Paris in 1992, but did not play in the actual concert due to ear damage caused by a Matt Sorum cymbal crash, causing Beck to become temporarily deaf. The Yardbirds were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992. In Beck's acceptance speech he succinctly noted that:
He accompanied Paul Rodgers of Bad Company on the album Muddy Water Blues: A Tribute to Muddy Waters in 1993. Jeff Beck won his third Grammy Award, this one for 'Best Rock Instrumental Performance' for the track "Dirty Mind" from You Had It Coming. The 2003 release of Jeff "Plan B" from this release earned him his fourth Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance and was proof that the new electro-guitar style he used for the two earlier albums would continue to dominate.
He was the opening act for B.B. King in the summer of 2003 and appeared at Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival in 2004. In 2007 Jeff Beck accompanied Kelly Clarkson for her cover of Patty Griffin's "Up to the Mountain (MLK Song)", during the Idol Gives Back episode of American Idol. The performance was recorded live and was immediately released for sale afterwards. In the same year he appeared once again at Clapton's Crossroads Festival and included the then eighteen-year old bassist Tal Wilkenfeld. Beck announced a world tour in early 2009 and remained faithful to the same lineup of musicians as in his tour two years before.
During 2008 Beck joined Morrissey on "Black Cloud" Years of Refusal (2009) and in 2009 Harvey Goldsmith became Beck's Manager. On July 4, 2009 David Gilmour joined Beck onstage at the Albert Hall. Beck and Gilmour traded solos on Jerusalem and closed the show with Hi Ho Silver Lining. According to Rollingstone.com, Beck's new album, titled Emotion & Commotion will be released in April 2010.
Stories about Beck's temperament began to circulate early on in his career. His perfectionism, coupled with the faulty equipment often in use during the 1960s, led to many stories about his willingness to take out frustrations on his equipment. The 1966 movie Blow-up contains a scene where the Yardbirds perform "Stroll On" and Beck becomes so enraged by equipment problems that he smashes his guitar. Although this scene was staged for the movie, it was a re-creation of an actual event that director Michelangelo Antonioni witnessed at a concert of The Who. This was also spoofed in the movie This is Spinal Tap. It is thought that the character Nigel Tufnel in the movie This is Spinal Tap is based on Beck.
One of the most influential guitarists in the history of rock himself, Jeff Beck has cited his major influences as Les Paul, Cliff Gallup, Gene Vincent, , Chet Atkins, Django Reinhardt and Lonnie Mack. Of John McLaughlin, he said: "he has given us so many different facets of the guitar. And introduced thousands of us to world music, by blending Indian music with jazz and classical. I'd say he was the best guitarist alive." 
While Beck was not the first rock guitarist to experiment with electronic distortion, he nonetheless helped to redefine the sound and role of the electric guitar in rock music. Beck's work with The Yardbirds and The Jeff Beck Group's 1968 album Truth were seminal influences on heavy metal music, which emerged in full force in the early 1970s.
Jeff Beck does not rely heavily on electronic effects. Beck stopped regular use of a pick (plectrum) in the 1980s. He produces a wide variety of sounds by using his fingers and the vibrato bar on his signature Fender Stratocaster, although he frequently uses a wah-wah pedal both live and in the studio. As Eric Clapton once said, "With Jeff, it"s all in his hands". Along with Fender Stratocasters, Beck occasionally plays Fender Telecaster and Gibson Les Paul models as well. His amplifiers are primarily Fender and Marshall. In his earlier days with the Yardbirds, Beck also used a Fender Esquire guitar through Vox AC30s. He has also played through a variety of fuzz pedals and echo-units along with this set-up and has used the Pro Co RAT distortion pedal.
He is noted for changes of musical style and direction throughout his career. Ritchie Blackmore once praised this aspect of Jeff in an interview to Martin K. Webb, when the interviewer asked him what he means by "chance music", he replied:
During the ARMS charity concerts in 1983 Beck used his battered Fender Esquire along with a 1954 Fender Stratocaster and a Jackson Soloist. On the Crazy Legs (1993) he played a Gretsch Duo Jet, his signature Fender Stratocaster and various other guitars. Recently Fender created a Custom Shop Tribute series version of his beat-up Fender Esquire as well as his Artist Signature series Stratocaster. The Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB guitar pickup was designed for him.
Beck is a vegetarian and when not touring or recording he rarely plays guitar. He has an interest in classic Ford hot rods.
Jeff Beck. (2010, February 9). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 02:31, February 10, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Jeff_Beck&oldid=343007345
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