In Praise Of Jeff Beck

In Praise Of Jeff Beck
Authored By John Nicholson

I first saw Jeff on the 'There And Back' tour at Newcastle City Hall. He was brilliant. But he was also absolutely unique. No-one else sounded like him, no-one played music the way he played it.

At that time he was emerging from his jazz-fusion phase, a phase I loved. As someone who grew up listening to the Mahavishnu Orchestra, that kind of music was already part of my DNA and of course Jeff had recorded with Jan Hammer, a connection to Mahavishnu in itself. 

When I first heard the Yardbirds playing 'Shapes Of Things' and 'Over Under Side Ways Down' I was five or 6 years old and it was Jeff's guitar which not only stood out, but which even a young kid could tell was different from everything else. 

When I was in my early teens I bought 'Truth' and 'Beck-ola' because I loved Rod Stewart's voice and there was Jeff again, pretty much inventing what became heavy blues rock. 

That he passed away aged 78 was a shock. It's a decent age but even so, a vegetarian for about 50 years, he wasn't high on everyone's list for the next rock n roll casualty. We were lucky to have lived in the same world as Jeff and to hear his fantastic music. 

Travel well, sir., travel well

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