Geoffrey Arnold Beck (born 24 June 1944) is an English rock guitarist. He is one of the three noted guitarists to have played with The Yardbirds (the other two being Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page). Beck also formed The Jeff Beck Group and with Tim Bogert and Carmine Appice, he formed Beck, Bogert & Appice.
Much of Beck’s recorded output has been instrumental, with a focus on innovative sound, and his releases have spanned genres ranging from blues rock, hard rock, and an additional blend of guitar-rock and electronica. Although he recorded two hit albums (in 1975 and 1976) as a solo act, Beck has not established or maintained the sustained commercial success of many of his contemporaries and bandmates. Beck appears on albums by Rod Stewart, Mick Jagger, Tina Turner, Morrissey, Donovan, Diana Ross, Jon Bon Jovi, Malcolm McLaren, Kate Bush, Roger Waters, Stevie Wonder, Les Paul, Zucchero, Cyndi Lauper, Brian May, Roger Taylor, Stanley Clarke, Screaming Lord Sutch, ZZ Top, and Toots and the Maytals.
He was ranked fifth in Rolling Stone’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” and the magazine, upon whose cover Beck has appeared three times, has described him as “one of the most influential lead guitarists in rock”. He is often called a “guitarist’s guitarist”. Beck has earned wide critical praise and received the Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance six times and Best Pop Instrumental Performance once. In 2014 he received the British Academy’s Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music. Beck has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice: as a member of The Yardbirds (1992) and as a solo artist (2009). Here are all of Jeff Beck’s songs ranked.
Relive the music of this English rock guitarist. Click below and listen to his most memorable songs.
10. People Get Ready (Flash, 1985)
“The 1985 reunion of Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart, during the recording of the guitarist’s Flash LP, was well worth the long wait simply for the cool cover of “People Get Ready”. Beck can do little wrong and the cocksure Stewart accents the bluesy Curtis Mayfield penned cut with his time-honored raspy vocal delivery. Beck lays on a tortured guitar solo as the laid back track rolls to a close. The low key promotional video for “People Get Ready” deserves praise as well.”
9. The Pump (There and Back 1980)
“Rocking sequences ready-made to stretch some muscles and an ‘80’s flavor with layers of synths, Hymas treated with taste, keeping his distances from the cheesy use many gave them at the time; the album heralded themes such as “The Pump” which would become Beck’s favorite he still goes back to today”
8. Freeway Jam (Blow by Blow 1975)
“Instrumental funk-oriented fusion, great rhythm section, and Beck showing off his talent. We’re all a bit intolerant towards jazz-funk since we heard so much of it on every crappy tv series from the 70s and 80s but if you can get past the adverse initial feeling this will reveal itself as an amazing piece of music”
7. Never Alone (Emotion & Commotion, 2010)
“Jeff Beck, another guy on my list who I wanted to learn just a little bit more about. I saw this release coming up, and I picked it up. It rocked. This is not your typical rock cd. Jeff Beck is a guy whose taken guitar on a much more insane level.”
See more: Jeff Beck Albums Ranked
6. Big Block (Jeff Beck’s Guitar Shop, 1989)
“This record sounds sometimes funk/big band, sometimes blues, sometimes hard rock, overpowered by very artificial fat drums and rhythmic keyboards. The best bits are where the keyboards are absolutely floating. The main attraction remains Beck’s miscellaneous guitar sounds. Beck’s guitar sound is varied and he gives a good exhibition here, sometimes approaching the Fripp’s sound”
5. Nadia (You Had It Coming, 2001)
“Worth it alone for the amazing ‘Nadia’, on this album Beck completely streamlines his style down to repetitive and catchy riffs which really showcase how good he is at phrasing and bends without being a ridiculous display of technicality.”
4. She’s a Woman (Blow by Blow, 1975)
“The oddball voice box-guitar effect on “She’s a Woman” is a strange approach – I never understood why a seasoned player like Beck, with all his connections, couldn’t find someone to lay down a vocal or two on this record- tracks like this one seem to beg for it.”
See more: Dire Straits Albums Ranked
3. Hammerhead (Emotion & Commotion, 2010)
“Jeff Beck is a living guitar legend who had brought to us so many inspirations as well as expectations. In this album, he continues to show courage to break the music bondage of himself and try something new. However, the reinvention of the classics does not prove to be so successful to me.”
2. A Day in the Life (Live: B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, New York, 2003)
“Jeff Beck’s music avoids any labels. Calling this simply ‘instrumental rock’ would be horribly inaccurate. The guitar guru gives us a tasteful blend of rock, pop, blues and classical music”
1. Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers (Blow by Blow, 1975)
“The Stevie Wonder collaboration, “Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers” is another high point, Beck’s golden tones just slicing through the mellow shuffle. This is by far the best performance by Jeff Beck.”