Jeff Beck, one of rock music’s most enduring icons, has died at the age of 78, his family have announced. On Jeff Beck’s official website, a message left for fans 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 asks for privacy while they process this tremendous loss.”
The six time Grammy award winning musician began his career hopping between a number of acts around London before being recruited by the Yardbirds in 1965 to replace then guitarist Eric Clapton, who would make his own mark forming seminal rock act Cream shortly thereafter. Despite only being with the band for 20 months, much of their UK chart success occurred around Beck’s involvement in the band.
He was fired by the band for what they described as his explosive temper, difficulties being a perfectionist and constantly no-showing appearances throughout his tenure with the Yardbirds. However, Beck would go on to continue his time in the limelight with the formation of The Jeff Beck Group in 1967, which featured a young Scottish vocalist by the name of Rod Stewart assuming front man duties.
He became a musician’s musician, known for his seamless blending of moody blues and rock and roll, and found himself throughout his career working with artists as far and wide as David Bowie, Kate Bush and German film composer Hans Zimmer. Most recently, Beck had been performing alongside actor Johnny Depp, including the release of collaborative album 18 in July 2022 - this would be his final studio album.
Former bandmates have already taken to social media to express their condolences, including one time bandmate and Led Zeppelin lead guitarist Jimmy Page, who took to Instagram to post “the six stringed Warrior is no longer here for us to admire the spell he could weave around our mortal emotions. Jeff could channel music from the ethereal. His technique, unique. His imaginations apparently limitless. Jeff I will miss you along with your millions of fans. Jeff Beck Rest in Peace.”
Sir Rod Stewart also joined in with his condolences, also taking to Instagram to write “He took me and Ronnie Wood to the USA in the late 60s in his band the Jeff Beck Group and we haven’t looked back since," he wrote. "He was one of the few guitarists that when playing live would actually listen to me sing and respond. Jeff, you were the greatest, my man . Thank you for everything. RIP."