Happy Birthday, Jeff Beck

If you like classic rock of any kind you need to know Jeff Beck. He was the second guitarist for The Yardbirds, coming in to replace Eric Clapton after he’d left because the band was getting too commercial for him (Clapton was an absolute blues purist at the time). Since The Yardbirds featured as lead guitarists Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page in that order (and for a little while had both Beck and Page), people like to ask founding members, “Who was the best guitarist in your opinion?” In a recent interview, one of them said Beck was the most fun. His playing was crazy and unpredictable — he might do anything, and when it worked, it was great (okay, it didn’t always work). Beck was the first guitarist to use fuzztone, feedback, and distortion in rock guitar. Here he is covering The Beatles’ “A Day in the Life”:

And Page, Beck, and Clapton performing “Stairway to Heaven.” The other two don’t show up until about 9:30:

Author: James Rovira

Dr. James Rovira is higher education professional with twenty years experience in the field in teaching, administration, and advising roles. He is also an interdisciplinary scholar and writer whose works include fiction, poetry, and scholarship exploring the intersections of literature and philosophy, literature and psychology, literary theory, and music and literature.. His books include Women in Rock/Women in Romanticism (in development), David Bowie and Romanticism (forthcoming 2022), Writing for College and Beyond (a first-year composition textbook (Lulu 2019)), Reading as Democracy in Crisis: Interpretation, Theory, History (Lexington Books 2019), Rock and Romanticism: Blake, Wordsworth, and Rock from Dylan to U2 (Lexington Books, 2018); Rock and Romanticism: Post-Punk, Goth, and Metal as Dark Romanticisms (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018); and Blake and Kierkegaard: Creation and Anxiety (Continuum/Bloomsbury, 2010). See his website at jamesrovira.com for details.

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