Jeff Beck was one of the great guitarists of the era. Born in Surrey in June 1944, he later studied at Wimbledon Art College. His first live appearances were at Eel Pie Island in Twickenham but in March 1965 he joined
The Yardbirds in a stint lasting through until November 1966 when he left to form his own group, having by then established himself as one of Britain's top rock guitarists.
Shortly after forming his new band he enjoyed a hit single with the completely out of character Hi Ho Silver Lining. Recorded during a drunken studio session it became an all time classic and a very popular party record. Produced by Mickie Most, as was all his Columbia material, the 'A' side was recorded with sessionmen. The flip featured
John Paul Jones and
Nicky Hopkins. After this he put together his own Jeff Beck Group (Rod Stewart (vcls), Ron Wood (bs) and
Aynsley Dunbar (drms)) which featured on the flip side of the Tallyman 45. The 'A' side, which was a minor hit, was recorded with sessionmen.
The first two albums were patchy but excellent in places. Musically they comprised a sort of bluesy hard rock. They built up a live reputation, mostly by touring in the States. Love Is Blue, a rather bizarre instrumental recorded with sessionmen gave them another UK hit. Nicky Hopkins, who joined the group in October 1968 in preference to
Led Zeppelin, played on the flip side to this. Micky Waller also replaced
Aynsley Dunbar on drums.
The group never really fulfilled its potential because of internal tensions that emerged and a self-destructive tendency to cancel tours and gigs at the last minute. When
Rod Stewart and Ron Wood quit to join
Quiet Melon and then
The Faces, Beck was all set to join former Vanilla Fudge member Tim Bogert and Carmine Appice in a new venture,
Beck, Bogert and Appice, but a bad car crash put Beck out of action for eighteen months. Meanwhile Bogert and Appice had formed Cactus, so Beck put together another Jeff Beck Group with Clive Chapman (bs), Max Middleton (piano),
Cozy Powell (drms) and Bob Tench (vcls). They signed to Epic and recorded the Rough And Ready and Jeff Beck Group albums, which both made the American Charts. Musically they veered towards jazz/funk/rock fusion. Whilst Americans bought them in vast quantities, British audiences weren't roused. Beck wasn't entirely satisfied with either album and when Cactus split up he did actually join
Beck, Bogert and Appice. When this venture folded in 1974 little was heard of Beck until Blow By Blow was released in March 1975. Produced by
George Martin, he was assisted on it by sessionmen Richard Bailey (drms), Philip Chen (bs) and Max Middleton (keyb'ds). It sold very well in the States rising to No 4 in the Charts there. The follow-up, Wired, was also produced by George Martin and recorded with sessionmen, including Jan Hammer, whose band Beck later joined.
Beck is one of rock's finest guitarists. Indeed few have surpassed him for imagination and inventiveness and he deserved much greater success than he actually achieved.
"You Shook Me " 2:28
"Let Me Love You Baby " 6:00
"Morning Dew " 4:48
"Jeff's Boogie " 5:26
"Blues Deluxe " 7:46
"Hi Ho Silver Lining " 4:58
"The Sun Is Shining " 7:15