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Jeff Beck - guitar legend who pushed the boundaries of popular music

Jeff Beck

Jeff Beck, nominated by the Brighton Institute of Modern Music (whose degree courses are validated by the University of Sussex) for an honorary Doctor of Music degree, is recognised as a groundbreaking artist.

His inimitable combination of primal shredding and cool perfectionism has left a mark on everything from hard rock and jazz fusion to rockabilly and techno during the past 40-plus years.

After famously replacing Eric Clapton as the Yardbirds' lead guitarist in 1965, Beck went on to form The Jeff Beck Group, which featured Rod Stewart on vocals and Ron Wood on bass. Their two albums - 'Truth' (1968) and 'Beck-Ola' (1969) - would become musical touchstones for hard rockers in the years to come.

Constantly evolving, Beck's next move would be to form a power trio with bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice, which released 'Beck, Bogert and Appice' (1973), once again shattering people's preconceptions of what a rock guitarist was supposed to sound like.

Music has always shared space with Jeff's love of hot rods. After the success of his albums 'Blow By Blow' and 'Wired,' Beck began devoting more time to his fleet of cars, but 1985's 'Flash' kept him in the spotlight as he earned the Best Rock Instrumental Grammy for the song 'Escape.' A second Grammy came with 'Jeff Beck's Guitar Shop with Terry Bozzio and Tony Hymas', and a third for 'Dirty Mind' from the 'You Had It Coming' album in 2001.

Touring has been a big part of Jeff's career, his live shows and virtuoso solos becoming something of legend. His playing style continues to break new ground and reflect the eclectic musical mix that is his trademark. The list of people that he plays with similarly reflects his commitment to the best of the best, and his week's residency at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club saw Jeff joined by the likes of Joss Stone, Imogen Heap, The Big Town Playboys and Eric Clapton.

In 2009 Jeff was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and then guested with Stevie Wonder at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary concerts at Madison Square Gardens. He released a new studio album, 'Emotion and Commotion' in 2010, which was supported by a major world tour. After being nominated in five categories, the album won him his sixth and seventh Grammy awards.

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Last updated: Friday, 15 July 2011

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