British guitar master died following a short illness at 78
A literal flood of warm words accompanied the tears online from all over the rock world upon the news of Jeff Beck’s sudden passing at the age of 78.
The English guitar master, whose work in The Yardbirds, The Jeff Beck Group and as a solo artist has inspired generations of acolytes, died on Tuesday following a short illness.
“On behalf of his family, it is with deep and profound sadness that we share the news of Jeff Beck’s passing,” read a statement from his rep. “After suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis, he peacefully passed away yesterday. His family ask for privacy while they process this tremendous loss.”
Friends, bandmates, contemporaries and fans alike took to social media to express their sorrow over this immeasurable loss for fans of rock guitar, as Beck’s distinctive and fiery brand of six-stringed wizardry laid the groundwork for so many acts in rock, metal, jazz and blues alike.
“Jeff Beck was on another planet,” wrote his lifelong pal Rod Stewart, with whom Beck enjoyed some of his greatest commercial success. “He took me and Ronnie Wood to the USA in the late 60s in his band the Jeff Beck Group and we haven’t looked back since. He was one of the few guitarists that when playing live would actually listen to me sing and respond. Jeff, you were the greatest, my man. Thank you for everything.”
“Now Jeff has gone, I feel like one of my band of brothers has left this world, and I’m going to dearly miss him,” Ron Wood responded. “I’m sending much sympathy to Sandra, his family, and all who loved him. I want to thank him for all our early days together in the Jeff Beck Group, conquering America for the first time. Musically, we were breaking all the rules, it was fantastic, groundbreaking rock ’n’ roll! Listen to the incredible track ‘Plynth’ in his honour. Jeff, I will always love you. God bless 🙏❤️.”
“With the death of Jeff Beck we have lost a wonderful man and one of the greatest guitar players in the world,” Mick Jagger wrote on Facebook. “We will all miss him so much.”
“When I was 14 or 15 I saved up my lawn mowing money and went on one of my frequent pilgrimages to the local mom n pop record store a couple miles away,” revealed former Dokken guitarist George Lynch. “Ever since that needle dropped on my dad’s GE console stereo, Jeff has been a lifetime inspiration and guiding light. I loved that he never stayed in one place . He was always exploring and pushing the boundaries. and I felt all the pathos and angst of existence in his beautiful, delicate, fiery and passionate in every note in his unique musical language. I’m literally numb and in tears. This is a hard one.”
“I was totally shocked to hear the very sad news of Jeff Beck’s passing,” replied Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath. “Jeff was such a nice person and an outstanding iconic, genius guitar player – there will never be another Jeff Beck. His playing was very special and distinctively brilliant!!! He will surely be missed.”
From Brian Wilson, “I’m so sad to hear about Jeff Beck passing. Jeff was a genius guitar player, and me and my band got to see it close up when we toured with him in 2013. One of the highlights we did was ‘Danny Boy’ – we both loved that song. Love & Mercy to Jeff’s family.”
“In the pantheons of guitar players, Jeff Beck was the chosen one,” wrote Steve Vai. “He left us with so much beauty and light in our music world. I can’t imagine the landscape of contemporary guitar playing if he had never been here, but as everything comes and goes in this world, his contribution reshaped our imagination of what the guitar can do forever. Thank you master. You really did it and we so much appreciate you.”
Beck most recently released the album 18 in collaboration with actor Johnny Depp in July of 2022, followed by a successful tour launched in the wake of Depp’s court victory over ex-wife Amber Heard in a high profile defamation battle that lasted the majority of the summer. In a Twitter post, Johnny posted a video of Jeff celebrating his 78th birthday on the Road.
Jeff Beck spending his 78th birthday on the road, surrounded by his friends and being celebrated for the legend he will always be 🥺🖤 pic.twitter.com/OsDJ3dxbrJ
— 🌟🏴☠️ (@GellertDepp) January 12, 2023
We will have a deeper appreciation for the 60-year career of Jeff Beck will be posted in the very near future. But for now, all we can do is simply process this incalculable loss by remembering him the best way we can at the moment – by listening to the music.
Peaceful journey, Jeff Beck.
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