Eric Clapton has sent heartwarming words for his late friend Jeff Beck, who is considered a guitar mastermind.
Jeff Beck pushed the boundaries of guitar music until he passed away in January 2023. From his early days with The Yardbirds to his solo career, Beck has consistently defied definition, blending rock, jazz, blues, and fusion to create a unique sound that is unmistakably his own.
Born in Wallington, Surrey, England in 1944, Beck started playing guitar at an early age. He initially played in bands with his friend Jimmy Page, who would go on to fame with Led Zeppelin, before joining The Yardbirds in 1965. Beck’s time with The Yardbirds was short-lived but highly influential, as he pushed the boundaries of guitar music with his innovative use of feedback, distortion, and other effects.
After leaving The Yardbirds, Beck embarked on a solo career that spanned for over five decades. His first album, “Truth,” released in 1968, is still regarded as a classic of the genre, featuring such iconic tracks as “Shapes of Things” and “Beck’s Bolero.” Beck’s virtuosic playing, combined with his willingness to experiment with different genres and sounds, made him a legend among guitarists and music fans alike.
However, recently, Eric Clapton talked about Jeff Beck to pay tribute to his late friend during his appearance on The Real Music Observer. He first mentioned seeing Jeff Beck performing live, which he was blown away. According to him, Beck was the first person who used tools about guitars that Clapton ever saw at the time.
“He was in a group called the Tridents, a very low-profile band – strong and well-known in the area, but I snuck in and saw them. And I thought that if I changed my mind, I was not going to be able to go back [to The Yardbirds] because this guy had got what it takes,” he says. “I thought he wouldn’t put up with that.
“So, what I heard when I saw him that night, it was the first time I saw anyone use pedals, effects, and a mini rack.”
Clapton then looked back on last year when he watched a clip of Jeff Beck. He praised the late guitar legend.
“I go back to my room, and I find Jeff’s gig from the night before, and I watch that, and it would lift me up,” Clapton admits. “He’d constantly been moving up a notch, all the time, every year. And the refinement in his right hand and the independence between the fingers were so phenomenal. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Throughout his career, Beck has collaborated with some of the biggest names in music, including Rod Stewart, Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger, and Eric Clapton. He also won numerous awards, including six Grammy Awards and a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Beck’s most recent album, “Loud Hailer,” released in 2016, continues his tradition of blending different genres to create a unique sound. The album features a mix of rock, blues, and electronic music, with Beck’s guitar providing the centerpiece of each track.