In the mid-1960s, The Yardbirds revolutionized modern rock by turning super guitar players into superstars. The group -- which made the jagged shift from traditional blues to psychedelic rave-ups -- was the launching pad for Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page. Several Yardbirds songs, including "Shapes of Things," "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago" and "Over Under Sideways Down" are considered mini-masterpieces of mid-'60s rock guitar -- prime examples of the power of perfectly placed notes.
The Yardbirds, the band that spearheaded the British Blues Boom of the 1960s and brought the world Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page, will tour the Northeast starting February 1 in Buffalo, New York.
Like any year-end list, this wasn't an easy one to compile. Of course, stellar documentary pieces by way of Cameron Crowe (Pearl Jam Twenty) and James Moll (Foo Fighters: Back And Forth) made the job a little easier, as did the fact that AC/DC, Slash and Rush continue to be among the best live acts on the planet.
As an editor at GuitarWorld.com, I listen to tons o' music -- all sorts of weird stuff. One day in the summer, I even found myself listening to an album made by a bunch of nuns chanting in Latin. I'm still not sure why that happened. Anyway, the point is, amid the beatings my ear drums withstand on a daily basis, it's easy to choose my favorite albums of the year; they're the ones I found myself listening to over and over again.
The past two years have been incredible for Imelda May. She sang on Jeff Beck's hugely successful Emotion & Commotion album, which was released in March 2010. Three months later, she performed two shows with Beck at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City. The Iridium event was released on CD and DVD in 2011 as Rock 'n' Roll Party Honoring Les Paul.
Part II of our encounter with rock's Jack of Spades takes the form of this survey of the many musical milestones in Jeff Beck's consistently astonishing career. The Yardbirds, The Jeff Beck Group, The ARMS Tour and beyond –- all are heard from in this special report.
Here's part one our interview with Jeff Beck from the January 1985 issue of Guitar World. The original story by Gene Santoro ran with the headline "Jeff Beck, The Interview: Twenty Years of Rock and Roll Power," and the story started on page 34.