Jeff Beck is one of the world’s greatest guitar legends—his peers Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page both are certainly better known and more commercially successful—but he’s undeniably one of the most fascinating, dedicated, enigmatic and influential artisans that ever played guitar.
During his Sixties stint in the Yardbirds Beck helped define the new sounds of hard rock and heavy metal. Then when bands like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath rose in popularity during the Seventies, he radically shifted directions, blazing a new path as a jazz-rock fusion pioneer. In the late Eighties and early Nineties when the instrumental shred-rock guitar phenomenon was at its peak, he released the eclectic Jeff Beck’s Guitar Shop, a note-for-note tribute to rockabilly guitarist Cliff Gallup of Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps (Crazy Legs), and an Asian-inspired original score to a television drama about the Vietnam War (Frankie’s House). At the dawn of the new millennium he released three albums that went in a decidedly more electronic direction, although these efforts also dug deep into modern blues and Celtic airs while Beck expanded his unique lyrical, vocal playing style.