Jeff Beck, one of the most influential rock guitarists of all time, has died at the age of 78. The British musician rose to fame as part of The Yardbirds, where he replaced Eric Clapton, before forming The Jeff Beck Group with Rod Stewart.
Its tone and above all volume redefined guitar music in the 60s. Beck’s style and tone influenced rock sub-genres, such as heavy metal, jazz-rock, and even punk. His death was confirmed on his official Twitter page, the BBC reports.
“On behalf of his family, it is with deep and profound sadness that we share the news of Jeff Beck’s passing. After suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis, he peacefully passed away yesterday. His family asks for privacy while they process this tremendous loss.”
When he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for the second time in 2009, he said that he plays the way he does because it allows him to invent the sickest sounds possible.
“Now, that’s the point, isn’t it? I don’t care about the rules. In fact, if I don’t break the rules at least ten times in every song, then I’m not doing my job right,” he said at the time.
Born as Geoffrey Arnold Beck on June 24th, 1944, in Wallington, Surrey, England, the musician fell in love with rock and roll as a child. He built his first guitar as a teenager.
The guy who lives next door said to him, “I’ll make you a solid guitar for five quid.” He later told Rock Cellar Magazine, adding: “Five quid, which was five hundred to me at the time. I didn’t agree, so I made it myself.”
After a short stint at Wimbledon College of Art, he went on to play with the shock-rock band “Screaming Lord Sutch and the Tridents”.
When Clapton left The Yardbirds in 1965, Jimmy Page suggested they hire Beck, and he played on hits such as “I’m A Man” and “Shapes of Things”, where his pioneering use of guitar microphonics influenced musicians like Paul McCartney and Jimi Hendrix.