Sharp as a Blade, Soft as a Dream: Jeff Beck's Greatest Hits

Sharp as a Blade, Soft as a Dream: Jeff Beck’s Greatest Hits

He didn’t have it signature song in the way that peers and sometimes bandmates Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton did, but the genres Jeff Beck has explored throughout his career chart the changes in rock music – and rock guitar – over the decades. One of rock’s most physical technicians, and one who seems to enjoy wrestling with his instruments, Beck made his name with British pop. But not content to stay there, he transitioned into trendy blues-rock in the late 1960s and then harder boogie and fusion in the next decade. Settings changed, but his style remained consistent: notes that could cut like a keyboard, but also savor the melody of a song. These are his greatest hits.

“A Heart Full of Soul” (1965)

The two great 1965 Guitar Fuzz tracks were recorded just a few weeks apart, and Jeff Beck got there first, laying his decade-defining sitar streak on this hit before Keith Richards hit his own pedal for “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” “. For the solo, Beck simply reenacted the melody of the verse—a move that worked just as well for him as it did for Kurt Cobain 26 years later. – Bosnia and Herzegovina

Yardbirds, “Jeff’s Boogie” (1966)

“You should have known ‘Jeff Boogie,’” Stevie Ray Vaughan once said. “And no one knew it was really Chuck Berry’s song ‘Guitar Boogie.’” Beck undoubtedly owes Berry at least a debt of co-writing this song, but on the other hand, for speeding up his version almost beyond recognition, it’s full of blinding playback and pinging harmonics. – Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Yardbirds, “Picnic On” (from Explodes1966)

There are a lot of memorable moments in Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1966 film Explodes, one of which is the scene in which David Hemmings’ character catches Yardbirds at a club while trying to solve a graphic murder. Keith Relph rips vocals while playing small Jimmy Page, but Beck gets frustrated with his amplifier and destroys his guitar. “When Antonioni said he wanted me to break my guitar,” he told us in 1971, “I had a seizure.” I was so embarrassed. I had a fucking picture, man! It heats up under the lights, after all, tearing myself up in those leggings.” – Morning

Bolero Beck” (1967)

This devious, insanely insane proto-instrument is the work of a long-established supergroup, with 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 Paige, his Yardbirds bandmate and mastermind. The future of Zeppelin. It begins with Page playing vocals while Beck carries the melody to electrics, before escalating into resonant psychedelia and the classic hard rock blast of all time. – Bosnia and Herzegovina

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

When Led Zeppelin first appeared, some rock fans (including rock critic John Mendelsohn, who was famous for destroying them in Rolling Stone), consider them an inferior rip-off from Jeff Beck’s group. Tracks like this powerful take on the Willie Dixon blues classic, first recorded by Howlin’ Wolf, help explain why, with Beck squealing triumphantly over a stereo pair of flimsy guitar tracks throughout. – Bosnia and Herzegovina

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

A year before Zeppelin got their hands on it, the Jeff Beck Group cut a mysterious rendition of the 1962 Willie Dixon classic “You Shook Me” that featured future Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones on organ. “I was horrified because I thought they were going to be the same,” said Jimmy Page. “But I didn’t even know he did it, and he didn’t know we did it.” We’ll take Page at his word that his guitarist never mentioned it to him, and it has to be said that Jeff Beck is clearly the best. – AG

Beck, Bogert, Apis, “Fairy Tale” (1973)

The result of a jam session with Beck and Stevie Wonder, “Superstition” was recorded prior to Wonder’s own release on Talking bookand became the signature song of Beck’s short-lived trio with Vanilla Fudge’s Carmine Appice and Tim Bogert rhythm section. It’s still fun to hear Wonder’s monster clavinet turn played by Beck’s guitar instead. – db

“Because we ended up as lovers” (1975)

Beck’s skills as a technician have often been overshadowed by the emotionality of his playing, and there is no better example in his catalog than his musical version of Stevie Wonder’s Ballad, from 1975. blow by blow. His guitar sucks, and in the end he cries. – db

“Blue Wind” (1976)

For a period in the mid-1970s, Beck reinvented himself as a fusion gearhead, working with producer George Martin and, on occasion, keyboardist Jan Hammer. Written by Hammer and incorporated in 1976 WiredThe insanely turbulent, rubbery “Blue Wind” proved that Beck could fly up and down the fretboard as well as any of the leading fusion players of the day, but with more rage and sting. – db

Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart, “The People Are Getting Ready” (1985)

Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart took very different paths when the original Jeff Beck group disbanded in 1969, but they got back together 16 years later to cover Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready” on Beck’s LP flash. said Stewart Rolling Stone In 2018, his voice and Beck’s guitar are “a match made in heaven,” and that’s very evident in this cover, which ended with their recent studio collaboration. – AG


“A Day in the Life” (1998)

The Beatles’ “A Day in the Life” is the kind of masterpiece that’s hard to cover in any meaningful way. One exception came on the obscure 1998 George Martin LP in my life, Where Jeff Beck took up the song without a vocalist, recreating the vocal melody on his guitar. It is a stunning example of his virtuosity, and the pinnacle of his concerts were the last quarter-century of his career. – AG

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