Jeff Beck Tribute

My Respects to Jeff Beck

Jeff Beck died on 1/11/2023. This was a sad day, certainly for his family and those close to him, but also for the many guitar players around the world that loved and admired his music and were influenced by his guitar playing. I am one of those guitar players. Jeff Beck helped shape my approach to guitar and music; in youth and as an adult.

His long career was marked by perpetual reinvention and he remained at the top of his game until his last day at the age of 78. Jeff Beck had a music career on his terms, he could confidently say “I did it my way”. Or maybe this Robert Frost quote is more fitting:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

As Guitar World recently printed:
“Jeff Beck was the player other greats seemed to most commonly point to when asked who they believed to be truly worthy of the title – he was truly the guitar hero’s guitar hero.”

As I was writing this I contemplated the word “hero” and how it is thrown around; kind of like how the word “amazing” is so often used. The term “guitar hero” has been around for a while but in the broader sense most people associate the word “hero” with acts of bravery and selflessness not guitar.

Perhaps Jeff Beck did experience what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey where “a hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”

Putting the word “hero” aside, I think what Jeff Beck ended up presenting to the world was his original voice. He was brave to discover, and rediscover, who he was and expressed it musically through the guitar. Any outside influences were processed through his filter and still came out sounding complete and unique to him.

For where I am at today, this is my biggest take away or lesson. Thank you Jeff Beck. Here is one last quote (from an unlikely source) that sums it up for me:

“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else”. -Judy Garland

On 3/11/18 I had the honor of opening for a rock legend: Carl Palmer the drummer from the “super group” Emerson, Lake and Palmer (ELP). The night could not have gone better. My music was very well received by the audience and Palmer’s ELP Legacy sounded great.
Carl Palmer is highly respected among drummers; in many ways as Jeff Beck is to guitar players. Since the time I was a teenager to today, Jeff Beck has been and influence on my playing and an inspiration for what is possible with the guitar, as a tool for unique human expression.
At the show I humbly paid my respects to Jeff Back by performing a cover of his classic tune “Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers”. I have posted a video of the performance to share with you. 

“Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers”