Jeff Beck Essentials
The defiantly individualistic Jeff Beck belongs on any short list of rock ’n’ roll’s most innovative guitarists. In 1965, with the British Invasion at its peak, the young Brit replaced Eric Clapton in The Yardbirds, with whom he would revolutionize the use of feedback and distortion before departing less than two years later. He quickly formed the Jeff Beck Group, whose blues-drenched attack paved the way for hard rock and heavy metal at the end of the ’60s. After a lone studio album with the equally thunderous Beck, Bogert & Appice, he underwent a radical transformation for 1975’s Blow By Blow and the following year’s Wired, both prescient experiments in jazz fusion that would inspire an entire generation of guitar instrumentalists like Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. His thirst for the unexpected only grew deeper in the decades to follow: 1989’s Jeff Beck’s Guitar Shop embraced synthesizers; 1999’s Who Else! dove into techno-inspired futurism; 2010’s Emotion & Commotion revealed stretches of vaporous soul and classical pop; and he collaborated with Johnny Depp a decade later. Beck died in January 2023, leaving behind an influential legacy across all forms of guitar music.