Today we lost an absolute legend. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist Jeff Beck died Tuesday (Jan. 10) at the age of 78.
The news was confirmed by Beck’s publicist, who issued a statement that reads, “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 ask for privacy while they process this tremendous loss.”
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 ask for privacy while they process this tremendous loss. pic.twitter.com/4dvt5aGzlv— Jeff Beck (@jeffbeckmusic) January 11, 2023
The guitarist was born Gregory Arnold Beck on June 24, 1944 in Wallington, Surrey, England. Inspired by the guitar at an early age, the musician learned to play the instrument as a teenager on a borrowed guitar after several attempts at trying to build his own instrument.
While attending the Wimbledon College of Art, he began playing in several different groups. Among them was Screaming Lord Sutch and the Savages who released the single “Dracula’s Daughter” / “Come Back Baby” for Oriole Records. In 1963, he formed the band Nightshift and recorded the single “Stormy Monday” for the Picadilly label. Other early Beck bands included The Rumbles and The Tridents. By 1964, he garnered work as a session guitarist and in 1965 was recruited to follow Eric Clapton in The Yardbirds on the recommendation of Jimmy Page.
After splitting with the Yardbirds, Beck went on to perform solo until he formed the Jeff Beck Group with Rod Stewart on vocals, Ronnie Wood on bass, Nicky Hopkins on piano and Aynsley Dunbar on drums. The group recorded a pair of albums before dissolving in 1969. As the ’70s arrived, Beck gathered a second group of musicians, once again recording under the moniker The Jeff Beck Group.
Beck recorded 14 studio albums, with the most recent being 2016’s Loud Hailer. He was also part of four collaborative albums, including a 2022 record with Johnny Depp titled 18. Beck also made a notable contribution last year to Ozzy Osbourne‘s Patient Number 9 album performing on the title track.
The guitarist received eight Grammy Awards, while being nominated for 16 Grammys. He won for the songs “Escape,” “Dirty Mind,” “Plan B,” “A Day in the Life,” “Nessun Dorma” and “Hammerhead,” while also victorious for the Jeff Beck’s Guitar Shop With Terry Bozzio & Tony Hymas record.
Beck was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, as a member of The Yardbirds and also as a solo artist.