Famous For: Being a living legend; one of hard rock guitar’s true original pioneers, and very best players since the mid 60s. Having the same haircut since 1966. Replacing Eric Clapton in the Yardbirds. Session man to the stars: Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart, Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder — when these folks need a guitar solo played, they call Jeff.
Infamous For: Volatility and unpredictability, in both his playing and his personality. With Jeff Beck, you can always expect the unexpected. Being reclusive for years at a time. Building hot rod cars. Jeff seems to like building his rods at least as much, if not more than creating music. Seems like he only comes out of hiding when he gets the itch to play or runs low on “rod money.” Jeff’s earned tons of critical acclaim, but has routinely dodged mega-success. Though he certainly lives well enough in a manor in the English countryside, compared to his closest peers, Page and Clapton — two of the the world’s wealthiest and most famous rock stars, Beck is a cult hero and a relative pauper. Similarly he’s frequently been left watching from the outside, as other players have cashed-in on guitar innovations he pioneered. But Jeff has always marched to his own beat. He seldom produces commercial music. He typically only stays in one musical genre long enough to knock it on its ass, before he’s on to something new. He now often goes five years or more between new albums. In the music industry, there are financial consequences associated with such career moves.