Jeff Beck is 70 today. In my opinion he is the greatest living British electric guitar player. In a career spanning nearly 50 years the man just seems to have gone from strength to strength. The first two Jeff Beck Group albums are rock classics and set the template for Led Zeppelin and the flood of 1970s heavy rock bands that followed. Trailblazing as those albums were the shows he played at Ronnie Scott's in 2008 showed him at the peak of his powers and with a subtlety and imagination that was still only nascent in his playing of the mid / late 60s.
Since the 70s he's pretty much kept to his own version of instrumental jazz rock but for me he is someone who is interesting not just because of his technique or "sound" but because he just seems to have more imagination than everyone else put together. You never really know what to expect from a Jeff Beck solo. His talent is unique and slightly off the wall. I think he is the only rock guitarist to get anywhere near the kind of musical artistic creativity that Jimi Hendrix had.
Here he is at a concert I saw in the cavernous and somewhat decrepit Guildhall in Southampton in July 2009. It was a sweltering hot night but Beck put in a stunning show. Here is part of the encore. It's a breathtaking solo from a man whose powers remain undiminished.
More stranger than known
Led Zeppelin at Southampton University 1973
Page and Plant talking about the new Led Zeppelin reissues
Peter Green - "A Mind To Give Up Living" - The Blues of despair...
Ten Years After - Swing In 1969
The Rolling Stones' finest hour - "Get Yer Leeds Lungs Out"...