Jeff Beck, Legendary British Guitarist Dies Aged 78

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Jeff Beck, Legendary British Guitarist Dies Aged 78

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Jeff Beck. Photo by Watal Asanuma/Shinko Music/Getty Images.

Legendary British guitarist, Jeff Beck has died suddenly after contracting bacterial meningitis. He was 78. 

The news sent shockwaves through the music world after representatives announced Beck’s death on Tuesday (Jan 11).  A statement on Twitter reads, “On behalf of his family, it is with deep and profound sadness that we share the news of Jeff Beck’s passing,” it reads. “After suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis, he peacefully passed away yesterday. His family ask for privacy while they process this tremendous loss.”

Beck was born in England in 1944 and first found notoriety as a member of the Yardbirds. He played with the group from 1965-66 after replacing Eric Clapton in the lineup, which also included fellow British guitar legend, Jimmy Page

The Yardbirds scored a string of Top 10 hits in the U.K. during Beck’s tenure, including Heart Full of Soul, Evil Hearted You, and Shape of Things

The Yardbirds | 'Shapes of Things' [1966]

Beck was on innovator of early rock, pioneering the use of feedback, distortion and fuzz that would define decades of heavy rock to come, heard in band like Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath and more.   

After being scratched from the Yardbirds’ lineup, Beck formed his own solo band the Jeff Beck Group with Rod Stewart on vocals and Ron Wood playing bass –  who would go on to join Faces together. The Jeff Beck Group cracked the Billboard Top 20 with a series of albums, including 1968’s Truth, 1969’s Beck-Ola and the eponymous Jeff Beck Group in 1972.  

Jeff Beck Group | 'Beck's Bolero' 

Beck has remained a prolific fixture of rock for decades, hailed by critics, fans and peers alike to b one of the greatest guitarists of all time. He won seven Grammy awards and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice, as both a member of the Yardbirds in 1992 – where he famously quipped “Somebody told me I should be proud tonight, but I’m not – because they kicked me out. They did!…” during his induction speech – and as a solo artist in 2009. Most recently, Beck released a collaborative album 18 with actor Johnny Depp in 2022. 

His contribution to music is immeasurable, quantified only by the outpouring of emotion from fellow music legends worldwide. 

Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page wrote, “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.”



A post shared by Jimmy Page (@jimmypage)

Rod Stewart remembered the guitarist with admiration, saying, “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. Jeff, you were the greatest, my man. Thank you for everything. RIP.”


Ozzy Osbourne also shared his grief on social media with a statement saying, “I can’t express how saddened I am to hear of Jeff Beck’s passing.  What a terrible loss for his family, friends & his many fans. It was such an honor to have known Jeff & an incredible honor to have had him play on my most recent album, ‘Patient Number 9”. Long live Jeff Beck.”


RIP Jeff Beck.


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