Happy 66th Birthday Jeff Beck!
Posted by Michael Mueller on June 24, 2010 at 10:45 AM
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist Jeff Beck turns 66 today. And like a robust Bordeaux, El Becko just gets better and better with age. Just two weeks ago, the master of tone and touch gave fans at Detroit's Comerica Park one of the finest renditions of the National Anthem in history (see video below), leading one of my colleagues to ask, "Is there anything this man can't do?"
Jeff Beck was born on June 24, 1944, in Wallington, England, where he gained an intense interest in music and the guitar at a very young age, particularly the blues. By the early '60s, he was working as a session guitarist, and in 1965, Beck was recruited to replace the departing Eric Clapton in the Yardbirds, on the recommendation of Jimmy Page.
After an 18-month stint with the legendary group, he left the group to embark on a solo career. His 1968 debut, Truth, featuring Rod Stewart on vocals is now considered a landmark heavy rock album, and his two mid-'70s jazz-rock fusion recordings, Blow by Blow (1975) and Wired (1976), set high water marks for that genre.
In 1985, Beck scored the only hit single of his career with the Stewart-sung and definitive cover of Curtis Mayfield's spiritual "People Get Ready." Then in 1989, Beck won the Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental with his incendiary release Jeff Beck's Guitar Shop.
Beck largely remained quiet after that, releasing a few albums in the '90s and '00s. Then, seemingly with the 2008 release of the amazing live set Live at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, Beck experienced a bit of a Renaissance, enjoying newfound respect and popularity—particularly among the guitar-playing crowd—he'd not experienced since his heyday in the '70s. In late 2009, Beck was all the talk of the highly acclaimed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concert at Madison Square Garden, and in April of this year, he released Emotion & Commotion, his first studio album in seven years, to wide critical acclaim.
To be sure, Beck is back, and better than ever. Happy birthday, mate!