Jeff Beck, a guitar virtuoso who pushed the boundaries of blues, jazz and rock ‘n’ roll, influencing generations of shredders along the way and becoming known as the guitar player’s guitar player, has died at 78 according to reports.
He died Tuesday after “suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis,” his representatives, who did not say where he died, said in a statement released Wednesday.
Tributes have trailed his passing including by Tony Iommi, guitarist for Black Sabbath, who wrote on Twitter, “Jeff was such a nice person and an outstanding iconic, genius guitar player — there will never be another Jeff Beck,”
“Jeff Beck is the best guitar player on the planet,” Joe Perry, the lead guitarist of Aerosmith, told The New York Times in 2010. “He is head, hands and feet above all the rest of us, with the kind of talent that appears only once every generation or two.”
Beck was among the rock-guitarist pantheon from the late ’60s that included Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix. Beck won eight Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice — once with the Yardbirds in 1992 and again as a solo artiste in 2009. He was ranked fifth in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.”
Beck’s guitar work can be heard on the soundtracks of such films as Stomp the Yard, Shallow Hal, Casino, Honeymoon in Vegas, Twins, Observe and Report and Little Big League. Beck recently completed a tour supporting his album with Depp, “18” and was heard on Ozzy Osbourne’s “Patient Number 9” album.
He played guitar with vocalists as varied as Luciano Pavarotti, Macy Gray, Chrissie Hynde, Joss Stone, Imelda May, Cyndi Lauper, Wynonna Judd, Buddy Guy and Johnny Depp. He made two records with Rod Stewart — 1968′s “Truth” and 1969′s “Beck-Ola” — and one with a 64-piece orchestra, “Emotion & Commotion.”