Guitar Legend Jeff Beck Passes Away

12 January 2023 | 9:17 am | Mary Varvaris

"His family ask for privacy while they process this tremendous loss."

(Source: Supplied)

Jeff Beck has died, age 78, after "suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis," his representative confirmed via The Guardian. They added, "His family ask for privacy while they process this tremendous loss."

Beck found fame performing with The Yardbirds in 1965. His career was kickstarted while within the group, similarly to previous and succeeding members Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton. Rolling Stone has described him as "one of the most influential lead guitarists in rock," while he has ranked in the top five of the 100 Greatest Guitarists in the same magazine (as well as other publications). 

The guitar legend has received massive critical acclaim, including the Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance six times. He has also won Best Pop Instrumental Performance. Jeff Beck was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame twice: as a member of The Yardbirds in 1992 and as a solo artist in 2009.

The Jeff Beck Group was formed in January 1967 with vocalist Rod Stewart, Rolling Stones bassist Ronnie Wood, notable musician Nicky Hopkins on piano, and drummer Aynsley Dunbar.

In his 2004 autobiography, Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason wrote that the progressive rock group wanted to hire Jeff Beck to replace Syd Barrett following his tragic passing, but "None of us had the nerve to ask him".

Beck has worked with numerous artists and developed a prolific reputation for solo work and collaborations with Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, Sting, Kate Bush, Hans Zimmer, Brian Wilson, Ozzy Osbourne, and many more.

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American music historian Bob Gulla credited Jeff Beck for popularising audio feedback and distortion in rock guitar. AllMusic editor, Stephen Thomas Erlewine, commented that Beck was "as innovative as Jimmy Page, as tasteful as Eric Clapton, and nearly as visionary as Jimi Hendrix."

Jeff Beck released 17 studio albums, ten live albums (including the #10 record in Australia, Live At Ronnie Scott's), compilation albums, and numerous singles.

Tributes have begun to pour for the influential guitarist from members of KISS, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and more.