Jeff Beck, Guitar God - Dies at the age of 78
It never stops, shows no mercy and has no pity on us when it comes to giving us a break or breather from its unrelenting march, like lava spewing from an active volcano.
It is hard enough to process any loss of those we love but in this case, the trauma and mental exhaustion that it brings with it is simply unsustainable since this is not only a loss of one individual but of countless entities that this person was associated with. You see when this great guitarist passed it triggered an immense amount of loss and grief as you fingered through your album collections and found group after group and song after song that lured you into loving music and shaped your musical taste and perception of the world you lived in by chronicling each moment and tying it to a song and lyric of the day.
Who knew that the man born Geoffrey Arnold Beck would go on to become royalty in the eyes of the music world and the throngs of adoring fans and peers who just marveled at his work as masterful in his fingering on the frets of his guitar as was Picasso with his paint and brush strokes on canvas.
He had a Heart Full of Soul, told the world who the hell he was and was proud to be, elevated our consciousness to a new place and took us Eight Miles High when we were in our college dorms. He told us what he would do For Your Love, gave us insights we had not considered when explaining to us the Shape of Things to Come and illustrated how a nemesis of most guitarist, feedback, could be harnessed to make it a powerful and beautiful as the feeling of breaking a wild horse and shouting out to the world, I Am a Man.
His life was fast lane and his career a Train the Kept A Rollin', as he racked up many Grammy Nominations and won Best Rock Instrumental Performance in 1985 and 1989, The British Academy Television Award for Best Original TV Music in 1993 as well as the Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Award in 2009 and the trifecta with the Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals, Best Pop Instrument Performance and the Best Award for Rock Instrumental all in 2010. This man was Simply the Best and while he was rated the 5th greatest by Rolling Stone in their Top 100 Greatest guitar heroes, he could well have been Number One and no one would have contested that rating. When you hit the top 10 you are dealing with small nuances and popularity contests and all participants are equally quantified to reign supreme.
He was a musicians musician and played on albums by Mick Jagger, Tina Turner, Morrissey, Jon Bon Jovi, Malcolm McLaren, Kate Bush, Roger Waters, Donovan, Stevie Wonder, Les Paul, Zucchero, Cyndi Lauper, Brian May, Stanley Clarke and ZZ Top. Say his last name and add the chart number you wanted to the track he was working on. In a world of mediocre, he was and still is money in the bank when it came to hit making. His projects where he was a member or the lead all were noteworthy and made noise while receiving critical acclaim. His projects, Jeff Beck Group and Beck, Bogert & Appice (featuring bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice, two yankees who had played together in Vanilla Fudge and Cactus, were brilliant and were simply Heaven to any young boy or girl who listened as he seduced a generation with his manipulation of the sine waves and sounds of his guitar playing back off the original signal from the amp. If you ask me, who did not know him? No one is the answer!
Jeff even played with Stevie Wonder in return for Stevie agreeing to write something for Jeff.
He was the A in AOR and made Album Oriented Radio a fixture on the FM dial as we all tuned in and were turned on. I remember his albums Beck-Ola and Blow By Blow which mesmerized me made me love him even more.
Today, we are closing a sad door on a style of playing and passion that only a few have and even fewer have maintained to this day where one hit wonders and few moments of greatness in the art of musicianship exist. There will be future generations that follow him and try to capture his spark but it will be very long time until this light of a Million Candle Power of talent graces us ever again.
Thank you Jeff for what you gave us and the a master class in Class 101 and showing us just how much you loved us by giving us your best whenever you picked up your Fender Stratocaster and played the same for one as you would for tens of thousands.or thousands.
All I can say for those of you already in Heaven is "People Get Ready" there's a true light of goodness coming your way!
The Great Jeff Beck, Guitar god, blues-rock innovator, and two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, has died at the age of 78 from bacterial meningitis!
God Bless you Jeff!