According to a statement published on his official social media accounts, rock guitarist Jeff Beck, who is widely considered one of the best of all time, has passed away. He was 78.
It is with great sorrow that we inform you of Jeff Beck’s passing on behalf of his family,” the message reads. He came down with bacterial meningitis out of nowhere, and he went very quietly yesterday. As they deal with this tragic loss, his loved ones have asked for privacy.
Melissa Dragich, his representative, emailed CNN to confirm the news.
After replacing Eric Clapton with the Yardbirds, Beck became a household name in the 1960s. A year later he left to form The Jeff Beck Group with fellow musicians Rod Stewart and Ron Wood.
When he joined the Yardbirds in 1965 to replace Eric Clapton, another guitar star, the band was already a major player in Britain’s burgeoning electric blues scene. On songs like “Shapes of Things” and “Over Under Sideways Down,” however, his stinging licks and darting leads offered an expansive aspect that helped herald the coming psychedelic rock revolution.
Heavy metal’s foundation was laid three years later when Mr. Beck founded his own band, eventually known as the Jeff Beck Group, with the relatively unknown Rod Stewart on vocals and the similarly unknown Ron Wood on bass. More specifically, Jimmy Page, a former Yardbirds bandmate of Robert Plant’s, used the band’s 1968 debut, “Truth,” as inspiration for the formation of Led Zeppelin.
After then, Mr. Beck went on to perform and record over the following few decades, with the most recent result being a 2022 album named “18” that included a collaboration with actor and musician Johnny Depp.
Since 2005, Mr. Beck has been married to Sandra Cash, and she is still alive.
Mr. Beck’s guitar, and especially his Fender Stratocaster, became so inseparable from him that he appeared to be an extension of the instrument to his admirers and himself alike.
His Strat “is like an extra arm,” he told Music Radar. I’m as committed to it as I can be right now. One way or another, it has fused itself to me.
“It’s an instrument of immense inspiration and agony,” he said. It will always be there, daring you to see something new in it. Nonetheless, if you look hard enough, you can find it. Mr. Hammer also contributed significantly to Mr. Beck’s “There & Back” album, released in 1980, which peaked at No. 21 on Billboard’s album list. When Mr. Beck recorded a cover of “People Get Ready” by Curtis Mayfield for his 1985 album “Flash,” Mr. Stewart provided the vocals. (It was an MTV smash.) Another of his instrumental albums, 1989’s “Jeff Beck’s Guitar Shop,” also went platinum.
Even with all the praise, Mr. Beck was never as successful a musician as the guitarists he considered his contemporaries, such as Mr. Page, Mr. Clapton, and one of his favourite musicians, Jimi Hendrix. Only two of his albums, including the 1976 follow-up to “Blow by Blow,” “Wired,” went platinum in the United States.
As he explained to the arts website Elsewhere in 2009, “Part of the reason is never having sought to break into popular pop, rock, heavy metal, or anything like that.” The closing of the doors reduces the available passageway.