Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant pays tribute to Jeff Beck’s “enormous” musical talent

Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant said Jeff Beck’s “talent was enormous” as he recalled the “boundless energy and enthusiasm” the late guitarist brought to projects.

The singer joins the titans of the rock music world in paying tribute to Beck following news of his death aged 78 after contracting bacterial meningitis.

Sir Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood also recalled playing alongside the “pioneering” guitarist, and Alice Cooper described him as “the greatest of all time”.

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Jeff Beck died aged 78 after contracting bacterial meningitis (Yui Mok/PA)

Beck has worked with countless musicians throughout his career, including Plant, with whom he performed on tracks released under a band called The Honeydrippers, a post-Led Zeppelin side project for Plant, in the 1980s.

In a statement to the PA news agency, Plant said: “This is tragic news. Hard to understand. Jeff always seemed timeless, constantly evolving.

“He approached project after project with boundless energy and enthusiasm. He emerged at an extraordinary time. He took his place side by side with the virtuosos of the time, his buddies.

“The scene was on fire, he introduced a cool template that went from Yardbird to Bolero to Truth, Beck-Ola with Rod (Stewart) the perfect foil… the singer and guitarist syndrome, lots of sparks, great results.

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Former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant has paid tribute to the late Jeff Beck (Matt Crossick/PA).

“He’s been brewing magic in all the ages past, always ready for the next, unknown, unlikely collision, back in time to pay homage to Cliff Gallup, forward to Johnny Depp.

“His gift was enormous. He was fun, challenging and eager. My feelings are with Sandra today. RP.”

The pioneering musician first rose to prominence with rock band The Yardbirds, before going on to have a successful solo career fronting Beck, Bogert & Appice and The Jeff Beck Group.

Cooper recalled opening for The Yardbirds earlier in his career paying tribute to Beck.

In a statement to PA, he said: “When I was 16, The Spiders, who became the original Alice Cooper band, opened for the Yardbirds.

“That night I saw the greatest guitarist I’ve ever heard.

“Half a century later, Jeff Beck is still the greatest guitarist, PERIOD – the greatest of all time.

“He was a friend and there will NEVER be another Jeff Beck. Ye.”

Sir Rod, who had a career breakthrough after joining the Jeff Beck Group in 1967, described the guitarist as “on another planet”.

Sharing a picture of the pair on Instagram, Sir Rod added: “He took me and Ronnie Wood to the US in his band, the Jeff Beck Group, in the late ’60s and we haven’t looked back since.

“He was one of the few guitar players who actually listened to me sing and answer live when I was playing.

“Jeff, you were the greatest man. Thank you for everything. REST IN PEACE.”

Jeff, you were the greatest man. Thank you for everything. REST IN PEACEMr Rod Stewart

Wood, a key member of the Rolling Stones, also shared pictures of them, along with other famous faces including Johnny Depp and Slash.

“Now Jeff is gone, I feel like one of my brothers has left this world and I will miss him dearly,” he wrote.

“I send my condolences to Sandra, his family and everyone who loved him. I want to thank him for all of our early days together in the Jeff Beck Group as we conquered America.

“Musically we broke all the rules, it was amazing, groundbreaking rock ‘n’ roll! Listen to the incredible track “Plynth” in his honor.

“Jeff, I will always love you. God bless.”

Born Geoffrey Arnold Beck in Wallington, Surrey, to parents Arnold and Ethel Beck, Beck developed a passion for music from an early age.

A chance meeting with Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page prompted Beck to join the Yardbirds in 1965 – replacing the band’s former guitarist Eric Clapton.

Clapton, who later appeared alongside Beck on a number of occasions, including co-headlining at The O2 in London in 2010, also paid tribute to his fellow great guitarist.

He shared a photo of Beck on Twitter and simply wrote, “Forever and ever.”

Beck’s stint with the Yardbirds was short, lasting nearly two years, before he embarked on a solo career, releasing his debut solo single, Hi Ho Silver Lining, in 1969.

After initially having limited success as a solo artist, Beck formed The Jeff Beck Group, originally consisting of Sir Rod on vocals, Wood on bass, Nicky Hopkins on piano and Aynsley Dunbar on drums.

He was twice inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame – first as a member of The Yardbirds in 1992 and later as a solo artist in 2009 – and has won eight Grammys over the course of his career.

Beck has played with countless other industry heavyweights, including Nile Rodgers, with whom he collaborated on the album Flash, and Sir Mick Jagger – he played on the Rolling Stones singer’s 1987 solo album Primitive Cool and went on to work with the likes of Roger Waters and Jon Bon Jovi together.

Beck also contributed to Hans Zimmer’s score for the film Days Of Thunder starring Tom Cruise.

His career continued as he spent the 2010s touring extensively, including with former Beach Boys member Brian Wilson.

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Johnny Depp at the Royal Albert Hall, London, performed alongside Jeff Beck last year (Image: Raph Pour-Hashemi/PA)

He made headlines last year when he announced a collaborative album with Johnny Depp shortly after the end of the Hollywood actor’s defamation battle with ex-wife Amber Heard.

The couple first met in 2016 and began recording the album in 2019, while Depp also played with Cooper’s supergroup Hollywood Vampires.

In 2022, Beck released a full-length album titled 18, which saw Depp and the pair play a number of live performances together.

His family’s statement, posted on Twitter and Instagram on Wednesday announcing his death, said: “On behalf of his family, it is with deep and deep sadness that we share the news of Jeff Beck’s passing.

“He passed away peacefully yesterday after suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis.

“His family requests privacy as they process this tremendous loss.”

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/uk/led-zeppelins-robert-plant-pays-tribute-to-jeff-becks-enormous-musical-gift-42281253.html Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant pays tribute to Jeff Beck’s “enormous” musical talent

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