Jeff Beck tragically died on January 11th leaving behind a great legacy. The artist was a legendary guitarist and songwriter, who rose to fame with the Yardbirds, later fronting the Jeff Beck Group and Beck, Bogert & Appice. He was known for creating music and blending his own Jazz twist with his rock and roll skills. Rolling Stones even ranked him top 5 on their 100 greatest guitarist list and was dubbed as one of the most influential guitarists in rock.
The artist proved how much of a star he was after receiving the Grammy award for best Rock instrumental performance six times as well as best pop instrumental performance once. He was even inducted into the Hall of Fame twice, once as a member of The Yardbirds in 1992 and as a solo artist in 2009.
Here are our top 10 favorite songs.
1. “Beck’s Bolero”
The classic Beck’s Bolero was recorded in 1966 while Beck was still with the Yardbirds. But the song actually came out 10 months later in front of his first solo album, it was the B-side of his first single, “Hi Ho Silver Lining.” Yardbird’s Jimmy Page wrote and reportedly helped to produce it, Keith Moon was on drums, John Paul Jones was on bass, and Nikki Hopkins was on keyboards.
2. “Freeway Jam”
Easily one of my favorite songs in the bunch! The 1975 hit was released on Beck’s album Blow by Blow which was written by Beck’s keyboard player, Max Middleton. Although the original song didn’t do that well, it was the live version, released in 1977 on the album Jeff Beck With the Jan Hammer Group Live that made its rounds on radio stations. The live version is from a performance at the Philadelphia Spectrum on October 9, 1976, and leads the album running a total of 7:11!
3. “Hi Ho Silver Lining”
Written by Larry Wise and Scott English, the song was first released as a single back in March 1967 by The Attack. A few days later after it was released, Beck decided to drop his own version, which hit the top 15 in the singles chart in the United Kingdom.
Written by the popular Stevie Wonder, Beck decided to record his own version of “Superstition” in 1970 becoming a commercial success. One can listen to Beck’s guitar as he turns the song into a dark track, giving it his own twist.
5. “Sad Motherfkin’ Parade”
From his 2020 studio album with Johnny Depp, the song was written by both he and Beck which features wild sounds and epic vocals by the actor himself. The album, 18, also features other songs by John Legend, Marvin Gaye, Velvet Underground, and more.
6. “Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers”
“Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers” was released on Beck’s second studio album, Blow by Blow, and is actually an instrumental song dedicated to Roy Buchanan. That being said, it also gives thanks to Stevie Wonder, who is the original writer of the song.
Back previously cited his collaborator Jan Hammer as inspiration for “Hammerhead,” hence the title of the song. The song also gives a subtle note to Jimi Hendrix with its touching intro. The track was produced by Steve Lipson and actually gave back his six Grammy awards for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.
8. “Happenings Ten Years Time Ago”
The song was released in 1966 as part of The Yardbird’s album Roger the Engineer. It was written and recorded in 1966 and is actually considered one of the most popular songs, and was the first to feature a dual-league guitar lineup featuring Beck himself and Jimmy Page.
9. “People Get Ready”
Beck decided to put his own twist on this 1965 song, which was originally sung by The Impressions. It was a title track from their album People Get Ready and is the group’s best-known hit reaching number 3 on the Billboard R&B charts. It also went on to reach number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was named the 24th greatest song of all time by Rolling Stone magazine. Safe to say that Beck knew how to put his own spin on this one.
10. “Space Boogie”
Last but not least, the 1980s hit was released on Beck’s Ford Studio album, There & Back which helped the album hit number 10 on the US Billboard jazz albums chart. The album featured several instrumental rock songs with a touch of jazz fusion which was Beck’s signature move.
Rest in peace, Jeff Beck