Jeff Beck – 13 Impressive Facts You Didn’t Know
Geoffrey Arnold Beck was born on June 24th 1944 and died on January 10th 2023. He was an English guitarist who rose to fame as a member of The Yardbirds. He later went on to found the Jeff Beck Group as well as Beck, Bogert & Appice.
He was one of the greatest guitarists this world has ever seen and yet many music fans don’t know who he is. That’s because he often played guitar as an unnamed artist.
He also wasn’t too bothered about fame or a following, he played the music he enjoyed, not what was necessarily popular. His guitar playing style incorporated many genres including; blues-rock, jazz fusion, hard rock and electronica.
Those are all well known facts about Jeff, keep reading for 13 impressive facts about Jeff Beck you didn’t know.
Table of Contents
He Joined The Yardbirds When He Was Just 20 Years Old
Jeff Beck was just 20 years old when he became Eric Clapton’s replacement in The Yardbirds. He had been recommended by Jimmy Page who was a friend of Jeff’s sister Annetta and went on to become the guitarist of Led Zeppelin.
During Jeff’s tenure with The Yardbirds, they recorded most of their Top 40 hits. He was only with them for 20 months and he only featured on one full album which became known as “Roger The Engineer” which was the band’s first UK album and their third to be released in the US where it was titled “Over Under Sideways Down”.
One Of His Early Bands Consisted Of A Few Famous Artists
In 1967, Jeff formed The Jeff Beck Group which included Rod Stewart on vocals and Ronnie Wood on bass.
Rod Stewart went on to have a hugely successful career as a solo artist and Ronnie Wood went on to join The Faces and then The Rolling Stones.
He Featured On Several Artists Solo Albums
Over the years Jeff balanced his solo recordings with guest appearances on albums by other musicians. He played lead guitar on Mick Jagger’s solo album “She’s The Boss” (1985).
He also played guitar on Roger Waters’ “Amused To Death” (1992) and he also dueted with Johnny Depp on the album “18” (2022).
He was also featured on Jon Bon Jovi’s debut solo album “Blaze Of Glory” (1990) playing the main solo of the album’s title track which was also the theme for the film “Young Guns II”.
He Had An Unusual Playing Technique
Jeff Beck stopped using a pick to play the guitar during the 1980s and started using his thumb to pluck the strings. At the same time he used to use his ring finger to fade in the sound of the plucked string using the volume control knob on his guitar.
His pinky finger controlled the vibrato bar and using this technique he could create a sound that sounded like a human voice. Eric Clapton once said;
With Jeff, it’s all in his handsEric Clapton
SEE ALSO: What Guitar Does Jeff Beck Use?
He Wasn’t Always A Guitarist
Before Jeff began playing the guitar for a living, he worked at a number of manual jobs including;
- Painting & Decorating
- Car Paint Sprayer
- Golf Course Groundsman
He then went on to become guitarist in several bands including Screaming Lord Sutch And The Savages (Jeff played guitar on their single “Dracula’s Daughter”/”Come Back Baby”) before joining The Yardbirds.
He Won 8 Grammy Awards
Over the years, Jeff Beck was nominated for 16 Grammy Awards. Of which he won 8 which were; Best Rock Instrumental Performance in 1985, 1989, 2001, 2003, 2009, 2010, as well as Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals in 2010, and Best Pop Instrumental Performance also in 2010.
He Collected Ford Hot Rods
Jeff had one of the largest collections of Ford hot rod cars in the UK. He owned a 1932 Ford Deuce Coupe replica and a 1959 Corvette Resto Rod.
He also used to race these classic cars as well as restoring them himself and doing mechanical repairs as well as resprays. When asked about the risk of damaging his hands, Jeff replied;
I wear glovesJeff Beck
He Appeared In Several Films And TV Shows
Although Jeff spent most of his time either in a recording studio or on stage, he also appeared in several films and TV shows. Including;
- Blow-Up (1966)
He played himself in this drama, along with the rest of The Yardbirds (including Jimmy Page).
- The Secret Policeman’s Other Ball (1982)
This was in aid of the charity Amnesty International where Jeff shared the stage with Phil Collins, Eric Clapton, Sting and Bob Geldof.
- The Comic Strip Presents (1982)
He appeared in an episode of this comedy series along with Elvis Costello.
- ARMS Concert (1982)
This benefit show was in aid of multiple sclerosis where he jammed with Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page. They performed “Layla” and “Tulsa Time”.
- Twins (1988)
He played a guitarist in this comedy starring Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
- Lenny Live And Unleashed (1989)
He played himself in this British comedy.
- The Pope Must Die (1991)
In this comedy, Jeff played the role of a postman.
- Harry And Paul’s Story Of The 2s (2014)
He was joined in this TV film by Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders).
He Survived 3 Car Crashes
Jeff was involved in 3 car crashes and in one of them he received a fractured skull that prevented him from joining a band with two members of Vanilla Fudge, Tim Bogert (bass) and Carmine Appice (drums).
He Performed With David Bowie
On July 3rd 1973, Jeff Beck performed with David Bowie onstage playing “The Jean Genie”, “Love Me Do” and “Around And Around”.
The show was recorded and filmed however, none of the editions ever released included Jeff.
He Turned Down The Offer To Become A Member Of The Rolling Stones
When Brian Jones died the Rolling Stones offered Jeff the job of guitarist but he turned it down.
His former bass player Ronnie Wood took the job instead.
He Was A Strong Vegetarian
In 1969, Jeff became a vegetarian. He once said:
I realised what a fool I’d been eating meat at all because, you know, you can’t just carve animals up. It’s not necessary.Jeff Beck
He was also a patron of the Folly Wildlife Rescue Trust. This charity works for wildlife in Sussex, Kent and surrounding areas. After seeing the good work the trust does, Johnny Depp became a patron too.
He Almost Formed A Supergroup
When Jeff recorded his 1968 single “Beck’s Bolero”, the musicians featured were, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) on guitars, John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) on bass, Nicky Hopkins (The Kinks, The Rolling Stones) on keyboards and Keith Moon (The Who) on drums.
SEE ALSO: Interesting Facts About Led Zeppelin
Do You Know Any More?
That’s our impressive facts about Jeff Beck you didn’t know, do you know any more? Please share them with us in the comments below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Jeff Beck was born in Wallington, Surrey England, UK on June 24th 1944.
Jeff Beck was never a member of The Rolling Stones, he was offered a place in the band to replace Brian Jones who had sadly passed away, but he refused.
Jeff Beck replaced Eric Clapton in The Yardbirds.
Jeff Beck’s debut solo studio album is called “Truth” which was released on July 29th 1968.
The famous actor that Jeff Beck collaborated with on their cover version of “Isolation” was Johnny Depp.
It is true, Jeff Beck did play the main guitar solo on Jon Bon Jovi’s “Blaze Of Glory”.
The singer who featured on Jeff Beck’s single “People Get Ready” is Rod Stewart.
The title of the 1967 single which Jeff Beck released after being fired by The Yardbirds was “Hi Ho Silver Lining”.
The band that Bogert & Appice were originally from is Vanilla Fudge.
It is true, Jeff Beck became a vegetarian in 1969 and he was also a patron of the Folly Wildlife Rescue Trust, which is a charity that works for wildlife in Sussex and Kent.
Jeff Beck’s last solo studio album is called “Loud Hailer” which was released on July 15th 2016.
The title of the Roger Waters album which Jeff Beck played lead guitar on is “Amused To death” which was released in 1992.
The title of the first Jeff Beck album to display his finger style of playing is “Jeff Beck’s Guitar Shop” which was released in October 1989.
The two guest vocalists on Jeff Beck’s 2010 album “Emotion & Commotion” were Jess Stone and Imelda May.
The Willie Dixon song that was covered by Jeff Beck and Led Zeppelin within months of each other is “You Shook Me”.