Jeff Beck, 1944-2023: the guitar world pays tribute

Jeff Beck
(Image credit: Lionel FLUSIN/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Yesterday (January 11), it was announced that Jeff Beck, one of the most influential rock guitarists in history, passed away at the age of 78.

Regarded by fans and peers as one of the greatest guitar players of all time, Beck leaves behind a profound legacy, having inspired countless musicians through his unique and ever-evolving blend of blues, jazz and rock ‘n’ roll, which he delivered via his trademark fingerpicking approach.

In wake of the news of Beck’s passing, countless guitar stars, musicians and fans have all taken to social media to pay their respects to one of music’s all-time greats, honoring his memory as a friend and paying tribute to the indelible impact he had on the music world.

Guitarists Jimmy Page, Joe Satriani and Joe Bonamassa all offered heartfelt tributes, with the Led Zeppelin guitarist writing, “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,” he continued. “Jeff I will miss you along with your millions of fans. Jeff Beck Rest in Peace.”

Jeff Beck

(Image credit: David Wolff - Patrick/Redferns via Getty Images)

Satriani, meanwhile, posted a lengthy statement in tribute of Beck, saying that the late guitar legend had “an enormous impact on my guitar playing, my musicianship and my soul”.

“When I was a beginner, I would spend hours trying to jam along with his solo albums,” Satch said. “I found his approach to the instrument so inspiring. I was fascinated with his unusual arrangements and his aggressive guitar tones. 

“He always stood out as a unique player,” he continued. “He was always, purely “Jeff Beck”. His solo albums were all groundbreaking, “ahead of their time”, and paved the way for me and so many other guitarists around the world. 

“I hope he knew how much I admired, revered and respected him. When I finish writing this I will go and listen to Jeff’s Where Were You a few times and thank him for giving us so much beautiful music.”

Sir Rod Stewart, with whom Beck played with as part of The Jeff Beck Group, wrote, “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.”

Others to write statements in memory of Beck include David Gilmour, Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Jack Bruce, John Mayer, Joe Perry, Johnny Marr, Sammy Hagar, Mick Mars, Mike McCready, The Edge, and many more.

Some of those tributes can be found below.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.