Top Songs – Rolling Stone

jeff beck essential songs

never had a characteristic song of the way his peers and bandmates at some point Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton did, but the genres that Jeff Beck throughout his career he explored the changes in rock and rock guitar for decades. One of rock’s most physical technicians, who seemed to enjoy struggling with his instrument, Beck made a name for himself with the pop of British Invasion. But not content to stay there, he moved on to the trendy blues-rock of the late ’60s and then to the harder boogie and fusion of the next decade. The settings changed, but his style remained constant: notes that could cut like a razor, but also revel in the melody of a song. Here are the best songs of him.

“Heart Full of Soul” (1965)

The two great fuzz guitar riffs of 1965 were recorded just a few weeks apart, and Jeff Beck got there first, laying down his decade-defining sitar imitation line on this hit before Keith Richards stomped his own pedal to ” (I can’t get any) satisfaction.” For the solo, Beck simply repeated the melody of the verse, a move that worked just as well for him as it did for Kurt Cobain 26 years later. —BH

Yardbirds, “Jeff’s Boogie” (1966)

“You had to know ‘Jeff’s Boogie,’” Stevie Ray Vaughan once said. “And no one knew that it was actually the Chuck Berry song ‘Guitar Boogie’.” it’s full of blindingly ahead-of-its-time playing and thumping harmonics. —BH

the garden birds“Walk” (From Blow1966)

There are plenty of unforgettable moments in Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1966 film. Blow, one of which is the scene where David Hemmings’ character traps the Yardbirds in a club while trying to solve his photographed murder. Keith Relf breaks up the vocals while a young Jimmy Page plays, but Beck gets frustrated with his amp and destroys his guitar. “When Antonioni said that he wanted me to break my guitar, he gave me a fit,” he says. told us in 1971. “I said, ‘Wait a minute, that’s a Townshend thing.'” He also recalled seeing the film for the first time: “I was completely embarrassed. He had a fucking boner in the photo, man! It’s hot under the lights, after all, breaking down in those tight pants.” – AM

Beck’s Bolero” (1967)

This mad-genius deceptively short instrumental proto-prog is the work of a period supergroup, featuring The Who’s Keith Moon on drums, future Led Zeppelin member John Paul Jones on bass, frequent Rolling Stones collaborator Nicky Hopkins on piano and Beck swapping guitars. with Page, his Yardbirds bandmate and future Zeppelin mastermind. It begins with Page strumming an acoustic while Beck takes the melody to the electric, before ascending to resonant psychedelia and an all-time classic hard rock blast. —BH

Jeff Beck Group, “I’m Not Superstitious” (1968)

When Led Zeppelin first debuted, some rock fans (including rock critic John Mendelsohn, who threw them away in Rolling Stone), he saw them as an inferior scam of the jeff beck group. Tracks like this powerful version of Willie Dixon’s blues classic, first recorded by Howlin’ Wolf, help explain why, with Beck squawking triumphantly on a stereo pair of wah-wah guitar tracks throughout. —BH

Jeff Beck Group, “You Rocked Me” (1968)

A year before Zeppelin put it in their hands, the Jeff Beck Group recorded a fuzzy version of Willie Dixon’s 1962 blues classic, “You Shook Me,” which featured future Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones on organ. . “I was terrified because I thought they would be the same,” Jimmy Page said. “But he didn’t even know that he had done it, and he didn’t know that we had done it.” We’ll take Page at his word that his bassist didn’t mention this to him, and it has to be said that Jeff Beck’s take is clearly superior. — AG

Beck, Bogert, Appice, “Superstition” (1973)

The result of a jam session with Beck and Stevie Wonder, “Superstition” was recorded before Wonder’s own version on talking book, and became the signature song for Beck’s short-lived trio with rhythm section Vanilla Fudge of Carmine Appice and Tim Bogert. It’s still fun to hear Wonder’s monstrous clavinet part played on Beck’s guitar instead. —DB

“Because We’re Done As Lovers” (1975)

Beck’s skills as a technician often overshadowed just how emotional his playing could be, and there’s no better example in his catalog than his instrumental version of Stevie Wonder’s 1975 ballad. blow by blow. Her guitar plays cajole and finally cry. —DB

“Blue Wind” (1976)

For a period in the mid-’70s, Beck reinvented himself as a fusion enthusiast, working with producer George Martin and, on occasion, keyboardist Jan Hammer. Written by Hammer and included in 1976 cablingthe incredibly rubbery and tumultuous “Blue Wind” proved that Beck could fly up and down the fretboard as much as any of the leading fusion musicians of the day, but with added fury and sting. —DB

jeff beck and Rod Stewart“People Get Ready” (1985)

Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart took two very different paths when the original Jeff Beck Group broke up in 1969, but they got back together 16 years later to cover Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready” on Beck’s LP. Flash. stewart said Rolling Stone in 2018 that her voice and Beck’s guitar playing were a “match made in heaven,” and that’s very evident on this cover, which ended with their latest studio collaboration. —AG

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“A Day in the Life” (1998)

He beatles‘ “A Day in the Life” is the kind of masterpiece that’s hard to cover in a meaningful way. One exception came on George Martin’s obscure 1998 LP. In my life, where Jeff Beck tackled the song without a vocalist, recreating the vocal melody on his guitar. It is an impressive example of his virtuosity, and was the climax of his concerts for the last quarter century of his career. —AG



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