Jeff Beck, the legendary guitarist best known for his work with the Yardbirds, the Jeff Beck Group and as a solo artist, has died. He was 78.
Beck’s death was confirmed in a statement to his social media channels, which said the following:
“On behalf of his family, it is with deep and profound sadness that we share the news of Jeff Beck’s passing. After suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis, he peacefully passed away yesterday. His family ask for privacy while they process this tremendous loss.”
On behalf of his family, it is with deep and profound sadness that we share the news of Jeff Beck’s passing. After suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis, he peacefully passed away yesterday. His family ask for privacy while they process this tremendous loss. pic.twitter.com/4dvt5aGzlv— Jeff Beck (@jeffbeckmusic) January 11, 2023
Beck’s influential career began in the 1960s where he hopped from band to band and did work as a session guitarist. His big break came when he joined the Yardbirds in 1965 replacing Eric Clapton on the recommendation of his friend, Jimmy Page, who was initially offered the spot in the band. Beck’s time with the Yardbirds was brief and he was fired from the band in 1966 over no-showing a number of dates on their U.S. tour.
In 1966, he recorded the instrumental “Beck’s Bolero,” which was his first solo track. Beck was backed on the song by a murderers’ row of musicians including the aforementioned Page, John Paul Jones, Keith Moon and Nicky Hopkins.
In 1967, Beck formed The Jeff Beck Group. A number of musicians were part of the band, but the best-known lineup was its first iteration which included a pre-Faces Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood. The band’s first album, 1968’s Truth, was billed as by Jeff Beck, but three albums bear the name The Jeff Beck Group: 1969’s Beck-Ola; 1971’s Rough and Ready; and 1972’s Jeff Beck Group.
The Jeff Beck Group broke up in July 1972. Shortly thereafter, Beck would join forces with bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice to form the aptly named Beck, Bogert & Appice. Together, they released one self-titled album in 1973.
The bulk of Beck’s career came as a solo artist during which he won eight Grammy Awards. In 2022, his final studio release was 18, an album he recorded with Johnny Depp.
Over the years, Beck has been named to countless “Best Guitarist” lists and has long been regarded as one of the best, most influential players of all time. He’s a two-time inductee of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Beck was first inducted in 1992 as a member of the Yardbirds and as a solo artist in 2009.