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‘A unique genius’: live industry mourns Jeff Beck

The business has paid tribute to the legendary British guitarist, who has died aged 78 after contracting bacterial meningitis

By James Hanley on 12 Jan 2023

Jeff Beck


image © Simon Fernandez/Flickr

The music world is mourning Jeff Beck following the guitar great’s death aged 78.

A statement released on behalf of his family said that Surrey-born Beck passed away peacefully on 10 January after contracting bacterial meningitis.

The multi award-winning 2x Rock and Roll Hall of Famer rose to fame in the 1960s after succeeding Eric Clapton as a member of the Yardbirds, and went on to front the Jeff Beck Group and Beck, Bogert & Appice, before enjoying success as a solo artist.

Last year, Beck played a number of dates with the actor Johnny Depp, including at the Montreux Jazz Festival, and the pair recorded the collaborative album 18, released in July 2022.

“I doubt very much that in my lifetime I will see a better musician”

Beck’s longtime agent Phil Banfield of Wasserman Music tells IQ: “I represented Jeff for almost 40 years as his agent. He was a genius on the guitar, the closest you were ever going to get to Hendrix.

“Every concert I went to – be it in Europe, Australia, Japan, or South America – I, along with the audience, was mesmerised. He made the impossible look easy and I doubt very much that in my lifetime I will see a better musician.”

Promoters Kilimanjaro Live and Triple A Entertainment teamed up to present Beck’s two dates at London’s Royal Albert Hall in May last year.

“We were fortunate to have promoted him on many occasions and he delivered every time,” says Triple A’s Pete Wilson. “Our live world has lost a unique genius.”

“A gentleman; the greatest of guitar heroes and such an honour to work with,” add Kili’s Stuart Galbraith and Alan Day.

“Watching him play night after night was always a joy. He was the Guitarist’s Guitarist”

In recent years, Beck was represented by CAA on the live scene.

Harvey Goldsmith, who became Beck’s manager in 2009, posts on Facebook: “So saddened by the news of Jeff Beck passing. So many good memories. Watching him play night after night was always a joy. He was the Guitarist’s Guitarist. RIP a legend.”

An array of his former collaborators and other music legends including Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood, Stevie Van Zandt, David Gilmour, U2, Jon Bon Jovi, Brian Wilson, ZZ Top, Ozzy Osbourne and Joe Satriani have taken to social media to pay tribute.

“With the death of Jeff Beck, we have lost a wonderful man and one of the greatest guitar players in the world,” writes Jagger on Twitter. “We will all miss him so much.”

“Jeff Beck was on another planet,” adds Stewart. “He took me and Ronnie Wood to the USA in the late 60s in his band the Jeff Beck Group and we haven’t looked back since. He was one of the few guitarists that when playing live would actually listen to me sing and respond. Jeff, you were the greatest, my man. Thank you for everything.”

Beck is survived by his wife Sandra Cash.

 


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