Brian May of Queen spoke about Jeff Beck’s track, which, in his opinion, contains “the most beautiful piece of guitar music ever recorded” in a new video this week.
Beck died suddenly at the age of 78 on Tuesday (January 10) after contracting bacterial meningitis.
Ozzy Osbourne, Jimmy Page, Mick Jagger and other representatives of the rock and roll world paid tribute to Beck, and Jack White also shared on Instagram footage of their collaboration in 2002 at London’s Royal Festival Hall, where Beck joined The White Stripes on stage.
Now May has also shared a video dedicated to the late guitarist. In the video, he talks about the song, which is “the most beautiful piece of guitar music ever recorded.”
Referring to “Where Were You” from Jeff Beck’s Guitar Shop, May said, “If you [want] to hear the depth of his emotions, sound and phrases and how he can touch your soul, listen to “Where Were You”. from the album “Guitar Shop”. Just Google “Where are you, Jeff Beck”, sit down and listen to it for four minutes. It’s unbelievable.”
He continues: “It’s probably the most beautiful piece of guitar music ever recorded, possibly alongside Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Little Wing’. So sensual, so beautiful, so incredibly creative and unlike anything you’ve ever heard anywhere else. Yes, of course, he influenced him too, but he brought an amazing voice to rock music that will never, ever be imitated or equaled.”
“…Jeff was a completely and completely unique musician who cannot be identified. And I was absolutely delighted with him.”
Check out May Beck’s tribute below:
May also spoke about his memories of working with Beck on a song called “The Guv’nor”.
He recalled: “He came to me here in the studio, played with me, and we had a laugh,” recalls May. “And he played incredible things. My jaw dropped again. I couldn’t pick up the guitar when he was in the room because he was so incredible that I just wanted to watch and listen. So he was playing on the track, and he’s like, “Oh, yeah, whatever.”
“…Jeff Beck is so unique, he has so influenced every guitarist I’ve ever met in my life. The loss is incalculable. It is so sad that he is no longer in the world. I still can’t count it in my mind.”
A statement from Beck’s representatives confirmed his demise earlier this week. “On behalf of his family, it is with deep sadness that we announce the news of Jeff Beck’s passing,” the statement said. “After a sudden infection with bacterial meningitis, he died peacefully yesterday. His family is asking for privacy while they are going through this huge loss.”
Beck has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice in his career – once with the Yardbirds in 1992 and again as a solo artist in 2009. Speaking at the last ceremony, he said: “I play the way I play because it allows me to come up with the most painful sounds possible. That’s the point now, isn’t it? I don’t care about the rules.
“In fact, if I don’t break the rules at least 10 times in every song, then I’m not doing my job well.”
His induction in 2009 was done by Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, who initially recommended him to join the Yardbirds. “You listened to Jeff along the way and said: “Wow, he’s getting really good, Jeff,” Page mused at the time. “Then you would listen to him a few years later and he would get better and better and better, and he still went all the way.
“He leaves us mere mortals just wondering and having so much respect for him. Jeff’s whole guitar style is completely unorthodox to the way he was taught, and he really developed a whole style, expanding the electric guitar and turning it into something with sounds and techniques that were completely unheard of before. It’s just an amazing feat, believe me.”
Page concluded, “He’s done so much for rock and roll and always will.”