Musician Jeff Beck Dead at 78 Following Sudden Illness

Jeff Beck, the British guitar phenom who rose to fame with The Yardbirds, died Tuesday. He was 78.

“On behalf of his family, it is with deep and profound sadness that we share the news of Jeff Beck’s passing. After suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis, he peacefully passed away yesterday,” his family said in a statement posted Wednesday on Twitter.

“His family ask for privacy while they process this tremendous loss,” the statement concluded.

The Post reached out to a Beck rep, who declined further comment.

Born June 24, 1944, in Surrey, England, Beck is an eight-time Grammy winner and two-time inductee in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In March 1965, Beck replaced Eric Clapton and started his short but sweet 20-month ride with The Yardbirds.


Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton perform during the Crossroads Guitar Festival in Dallas.
Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton perform during the Crossroads Guitar Festival in Dallas.
Jeff Beck in 1989
Beck at his home studio in Surrey, England, in September 1989.
Jeff Beck poses with his Fender Stratocaster guitar on May 13, 2009.
Beck with his Fender Stratocaster.
Jeff Beck performing in 1986
Beck rocks the Karuizawa Prince Hotel Open Air in Nagano, Japan, in 1986.
Jeff Beck performing in 2013
Beck performs onstage during the 2013 Crossroads Guitar Festival at Madison Square Garden on April 13, 2013.
Jeff Beck plays a Fender Stratocaster guitar
Beck plays a Fender Stratocaster.
Jeff Beck performs on Nov. 27, 1983, in Dallas.
Beck takes the stage on Nov. 27, 1983, in Dallas.
Jeff Beck performing in 2014
Beck at Le Grand Rex on May 27, 2014, in Paris.
Buddy Guy, Jeff Beck and Ron Wood perform in 2010
Buddy Guy, Beck and Ron Wood play the 2010 Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival at Toyota Park on June 26, 2010, in Illinois.

Although he only made one album, “Over Under Sideways Down,” with the band, many of the group’s biggest songs — including “Heart Full of Soul,” “Evil Hearted You,” “Over Under Sideways Down,” and a cover of Bo Diddley’s “I’m a Man” — were recorded when he was a member.

Beck was fired from the group during a US tour for failing to show up, as well as his perfectionism and hot temper.

He formed the Jeff Beck Group in January 1967. The lineup endured several shakeups, but ultimately included Rod Stewart on vocals, Ronnie Wood on bass, Nicky Hopkins on piano, and Aynsley Dunbar on drums.

Beck disbanded the group the night before Woodstock 1969 — a move he later regretted.

The group reformed in 1970, eventually featuring vocalist Alex Ligertwood, keyboardist Max Middleton, drummer Cozy Powell and bassist Clive Chaman.

Beck was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with The Yardbirds in 1992 and as a solo artist in 2009. He scored six Best Rock Instrumental Performance Grammys, one Best Pop Instrumental Performance award, and another Grammy for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.

The Yardbirds in 1966
The Yardbirds, from left, Paul Samwell-Smith, Chris Dreja, Keith Relf and Jeff Beck perform on the Associated Rediffusion music TV series “Ready Steady Go!” at Studio 5 in Wembley, London, on May 27, 1966.

Beck and Johnny Depp recently completed a tour in support of their 2022 album “18.”

Rolling Stone placed Beck at No. 5 on its list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists in 2015.

“I can’t express how saddened I am to hear of @JeffBeckMusic’s passing,” Ozzy Osbourne tweeted. “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, #PatientNumber9. Long live #JeffBeck.”

“Heartbreaking news to report the late, great Jeff Back has sadly passed,” KISS singer/bassist Gene Simmons tweeted. “No one played guitar like Jeff. Please get ahold of the first two Jeff Beck Group albums and behold greatness. RIP.”

“Devastated to hear of the sudden and tragic death of legendary guitarist Jeff Beck. He was loved by everyone in the know; the guitarists guitarist! My condolences to his family & friends RIP,” British musician Paul Young wrote.

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