Is it possible to be both a guitar god and a mere mortal? Jeff Beck, the trailblazing guitarist and Grammy-winner who died January 10 at the age of 78, went for both.
For his dynamic solos and melodic leads, Beck’s name quickly came to join the six-string pantheon alongside Clapton, Page, and Hendrix. Yet his musical restlessness and peripatetic career – his stint with the Yardbirds lasted less than two years – meant that he never fell in with a venerable hit factory like the Stones, nor did he emerge as a pop fixture on the radio. His bandmates over the years included such legendaries as Rod Stewart, Keith Moon, and Ron Wood. But he was almost too interested in music to be a conventional rock star; his dedication was to the instrument, not the idiom.
Among the many remembrances of Beck published in the wake of his death, the most effusive and reverent are the ones from fellow musicians. Which seems like something he’d appreciate.