Jeff Beck, the influential genre-bending English guitarist who rose to fame with The Yardbirds before launching a solo career, has died at the age of 78, his family announced on social media on Wednesday. He died peacefully on Tuesday after suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis, his family said.
The British musician rose to fame as part of the Yardbirds, where he replaced Eric Clapton, before forming the Jeff Beck Group with Rod Stewart. His tone, presence, and above all volume redefined guitar music in the 1960s and influenced movements such as heavy metal, jazz-rock, and even punk, the BBC said with the news of his death.
Beck has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice – in 1992 for his work with The Yardbirds and as a solo artist in 2009. In 2015, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Beck as the fifth greatest guitarist of all time, one spot ahead of blues icon B.B.
King. In 2022, Beck released his last album: “18”, a collection of 13 songs, mostly covers, with Hollywood star Johnny Depp. “We slowly built songs that we just like. We didn't really make any design,” Beck said at the time.
Beck's death was confirmed on his official Twitter page.
"On behalf of his family, it is with deep and profound sadness that we share the news of Jeff Beck's passing," the statement said. "After suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis, he peacefully passed away yesterday.
His family ask for privacy while they process this tremendous loss." Born in Wallington, England, Beck won his first Grammy Award in 1985 with the instrumental “Escape”. He will win seven more gold-plated statuettes in his career.
Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi mourned Beck's death on Twitter, saying he was shocked to hear of his passing. “Jeff was such a nice person and an outstanding iconic, genius guitar player — there will never be another Jeff Beck,” Tony Iommi, guitarist for Black Sabbath wrote on Twitter among the many tributes.
Mick Jagger also took to Twitter to pay tribute: “With the death of Jeff Beck we have lost a wonderful man and one of the greatest guitar players in the world. We will all miss him so much”. “Jeff Beck was on another planet.
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 was one of the few guitarists that when playing live would actually listen to me sing and respond,” tweeted Rod Stewart.