Legendary rock guitarist Jeff Beck dies aged 78
Jeff Beck, legendary guitarist from English rock band The Yardbirds and The Jeff Beck Group, has died at 78.
The news was announced Wednesday on Beck’s verified Twitter account.
“On behalf of his family, it is with deep and profound sadness that we share the news of Jeff Beck’s passing,” read a statement provided to USA TODAY, which noted that the musician died Tuesday “after suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis.”
“His family ask for privacy while they process this tremendous loss,” the statement added.
Beck was among the rock-guitarist pantheon from the late 1960s that included Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix. In his lengthy career, Beck won eight Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice: once with the Yardbirds in 1992 and again as a solo artist in 2009. He ranked fifth on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.”
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Jeff Beck dies aged 78
In 2010, when asked by USA TODAY if he regretted not becoming a more famous deity, Beck joked, “Didn’t I? Oh, damn! No, I couldn’t cope with any of that. What a terrible thing. Probably the worst thing you can ever have.”
Born Geoffrey Arnold Beck in Surrey, England, he started playing guitar in college and performed in numerous area bands before coming to prominence as a member of The Yardbirds in 1965. Beck famously replaced Clapton in the blues-rock group on the recommendation of Page, a fellow session musician who would also later join the band.
With Beck in the fold, The Yardbirds enjoyed some of its greatest success with songs including “Heart Full of Soul,” “Shapes of Things” and a cover of Bo Diddley’s “I’m a Man.”
Beck’s inconsistency on tour, as well as an occasional fiery temper, led to his dismissal from The Yardbirds, but it didn’t quell his musical ambitions. Beck’s distinctive playing style included frequent improvisation as well as his love of harmonics and the whammy bar on his preferred guitar, the Fender Stratocaster.
His solo career continued with his next artistic endeavor, The Jeff Beck Group, which incorporated hard rock, jazz, blues and funk and introduced Rod Stewart and pre-Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood to mainstream success.
Appropriation or appreciation?
Jeff Beck dies aged 78
After the 1972 demise of group, he enlisted two musicians he long-admired – bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice – to form the supergroup Beck, Bogert and Appice. But the musical marriage was short-lived and the trio dissolved in 1974, having only released one self-titled album.
He then teamed up with legendary Beatles producer George Martin to help him fashion the genre-melding, jazz-fusion classic “Blow by Blow” (1975) and “Wired” (1976).
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