Since time and space are limited it is impossible to include all events, all moods and all attitudes of Jeff or anyone else connected at any given time. Despite our numerous historical references to abscences of recording group or concert tour continuity (as is the case with many artists in search of an ever changing and spiritually evolving work) Jeff Beck has indicated in interviews that there have been alot of good moments; the "Truth" Lp, "Blow By Blow"'s success, jamming with Jimi Hendrix, Albert Lee and Stevie Ray Vaughn, also the live shows with "There And Back" and his current band.
So we are asking you to enjoy this fanzine not for the completeness (it's not and never can be), accuracy (we try but we are only human), journalistic angle (there is none), or controversy (Jeff is a happy well adjusted adult and we all love the sound of his guitar), but rather for the effort involved to further the listenership to one Jeff Beck.
"What is life but a spectrum and what is music but life itself."Billy Cobham
In compiling the discography (which actually has been a never ending project since 1984) the following people should be thanked; Danny Cowan, Gene Franklin, Jeff Tamarkin, Frank Reda, John Walsh, Sven Gusevick, Dick Wyzanski and Pete Bassett.
Some books, magazines, etc. were useful especially; "Rock Record 2nd Edition" - Terry Hounsome(Blandford Press) "The Yardbirds" - John Platt, Chris Dreja and Jim McCarty (Sidgewick & Jackson), "Jimmy Page Recordings" - David Terralavoro (unpublished manuscript). As well as some Record Collector and Trouser Press magazines.
Many thanks to; Ed Chappero, Geoff Wall, Ben Fisher and Kenny Sexton. And especially Ralph Baker and Jeff Beck.
By the time I typed up the 13 page discography on Mr. Beck, I discovered some more changes. Ralph Baker, Beck's manager has provided alot of news to my colleague Dick Wyzanski and the conversation they had has provided most of this "Current News" column.
By the time Beck had recovered (four months later) Appice and Bogert were already in a band - Cactus. By suggestion of Mickie Most (whom Beck likes to call "Mickie Mouse"), he agreed to at least try jamming with ELTON JOHN (not as well known as he would become a few years later). Beck's position as a replacement didn't occur because the two didn't see eye to eye. Beck was late for rehearsal and Elton John roasted him.
The next thing Beck did was play on some sessions for SCREAMING LORD SUTCH. Beck and Nicky Hopkins played on a song "Gutty Guitar" on "Screamin'Lord Sutch and Heavy Friends" Lp produced by Jimmy Page. Most of these songs (including "Gutty Guitar") are available on a reissue of this Lp but titled "Smoke and Fire". On this Lp however, Beck is credited to have played on "Would You Believe" and "Brightest Lights", the former is not available on the original Lp. Beck is only credited on "Gutty Guitar" on the original, but "Brightest Lights" credits that "heavy friends" are on it. (If anyone else has more information about Beck's appearance on these please write me.) Beck said about that session (as told to Stuart Grundy and John Tobler): "When that record came out with me on it, I was suprised and annoyed, although I don't know why, because I volunteered and I must have known what I was doing. When you're that age, you do anything and everything just to try to get on. I vaguely remember recording it, in some sleazy studio up a side alley."
The next thing Beck did was plan recording an album of Motown songs but he needed a band first. Mickie Most would be the producer and the musicians were Cozy Powell on drums and James Jamerson on bass. In a 1984 Modern Drummer magazine interview, Cozy Powell spoke about the audition for his part: "The big break came when Jeff Beck asked me to come down and have a play. He had alot of guys that were tapping away at this little Hayman drum kit that was there. I brought my Ludwig kit down, the old red double bass drum kit, and set it up right in front of him. When it was my turn I thought 'I'm just going to go for it, and if I don't get the job, at least I will have left my mark. I've got nothing to lose.' Jeff was the sort of guy who would just be standing there saying 'Next'. A drummer has got to be in charge of the band, so I just started one of the tunes and he put the guitar halfway through it and said 'You've got the job'."
At least 5 or 6 songs were recorded (please refer to the discography) 2 fo which were reclaimed on the second JBG2 Lp. Beck himself spoke about those sessions in GUITAR - May 1990: "We didn't have enough material, that's why that never got off the ground. Mickie Most was in charge and he didn't get the material together. He thought we'd go over there and write something. Those guys were laughing at us, saying 'Where's your songs?' We didn't have any."
Beck also had this to say in Trouser Press November 1980 issue about the actual sessions: "Jamerson hated me, you know he didn't hate me he just hates long hair. So I couldn't worry I was on a losing streak right from the beginning, so we blundered on through the sessions, and some really good things came out."
Around this time Beck played on "Music From Free Creek" jam which he calls "Music From Ripoffsville". The Lp when released (is actually a massive jam session which occured around 1971 and wasn't released until March 1973, the reason probably due to contractual problems as some artists are listed under psuedynyms. Beck is credited as "A.N.Other"). In an interview to Steve Rosen for the "Beck Book" (published in Japan only in Japanese also) Beck said about the session: "They must have planned it like a robbery. I was in New York for one night signing a deal with CBS and I was looking for a bass player and a drummer and somebody knew that I was looking and sniffing around clubs. I got drunk as a skunk in this club and this guy said, 'Hey, do you want to jam with this great bass player and drummer?' And I said, 'Yea, where?' And I went down to this studio, staggered in the door, guitars all plugged in, and they were sort of faking a recording session. I picked up a guitar, blew four or five licks and they recorded the whole f***ing thing."
Beck was also involved with playing on a "one off" single B-side by a band called THE HOLY SMOKE which featured ex-Yardbird members Jim McCarty and Paul Samwell-Smith. Sometime in 1971 a compilation record by CLAPTON, BECK and PAGE was released titled "Guitar Boogie" which is actually those songs recorded in 1965. This was the first time those songs were released in the US. (The album has since been reissued, and years later under different names such as "White Boy Blues" and more recently in Aug. 1991 "All Night Long")
With obscure sessions out of the way, it was time for Beck to get back on the road and do his own thing. His new band would be called the JEFF BECK GROUP (so from here on I will refer to it as "JBG II", most fans call this band "The 2nd phase JBG"). The member lineup was Alex Ligertwood (vocals), and soon to be replaced by Bob Tench, Max Middleton (keyboards), Clive Chaman (bass) and Cozy Powell (drums). Their first album was titled "Rough and Ready". Beck later dismissed the album as "a piece of junk" in a DISC May 5, 1973 interview. In the US on the Billboard charts it hit #46. (Collectors please note: The reissue Lp and the CD version of this album includes "Rayne's Park Blues" retitled "Max's Tune" and credited to Max Middleton. At this point I am unaware of the reason why, but you can be sure you'll find out why in another issue.)
The JBG II band toured in Europe and on some early dates Cozy Powell was replaced by Mitch Mitchell due to illness. In 1972 they released their second album "Jeff Beck Group" and was produced by Steve Cropper who said, "When Jeff Beck is playing there is no room for another guitarist." The album (which fans refer to as "the orange album" because of the orange on the cover) hit #16 on the US Billboard charts. The JBG even made an appearance on "Top of the Pops" TV show in England for the song "Definately Maybe" which has some great 70's style video effects on it. They also did another tour of the US before they broke up. Beck didn't feel the band was really rockin' enough for him and he was unhappy with the lack of success. Cozy Powell in Modern Drummer said this about the band's breakup: "I didn't actually leave Jeff. The whole band was fired because Jeff was going through a bit of a funny period at the time. He just desperately wanted to play with Timmy Bogart and Carmine Appice. He wanted to do that before he formed our group, but it was impossible for contractual reasons. Eventually, the chance came. We were cutting a single with Stevie Wonder. Stevie had written a song for Jeff, "Superstition" which we cut. There was a big argument in the control room. Our bass player had a go at Jeff in front of all the Motown heads - Stevie and all."
Sometime in the summer of 1972, Beck formed another band. It consisted of Tim Bogart (bass), Carmine Appice (drums), Kim Milford (vocals) and Max Middleton (keyboards). They toured from August to October 1972 in the US. At some shows they would even announce the song "Superstitous" as "our latest single". (It never came out under that band lineup and in a Zoo World magazine article it was mentioned that the song appeared as a B-side of a Kim Milford single in Holland.)
One fan, (who asked to remain nameless if I use his review) said this about the concert he witnessed at Gailic Park, Bronx, New York: "Beck showed up late. It was after dark and the aura of seeing all too familiar hometown boys Appice and Bogert didn't set too well with the alcholic influenced crowd. Beck was brilliant as ever but the songs were not well rehearsed. It's easy to see why Milford never made it as a vocalist and Bogert played one of the most long boring bass solos ever."
Milford and Middleton didn't stay in the band so the remaining band just went by the name BECK, BOGERT AND APPICE. They recorded an album in England, but were unhappy with the sound. So they would redo it in several studios in the US. This time they would rerecord Stevie Wonder's "Superstitous". Beck had appeared on Stevie Wonder's "Talking Book" Lp as a favor for "Superstitous". (Beck played on other songs including "Tuesday Heartbreak" but were not released as pointed out in the "Current News" column. One of those songs is going to be included on "Beckology".)
When BBA's self titled Lp came out it was kind of a surprise to hear Beck singing a song ("Black Cat Moan") after six years. The album hit #12 on the US Billboard charts. "Superstitous" was a single but went nowhere. When Stevie Wonder reclaimed the song he had a huge hit with it.
BBA toured Europe, the US and Japan. In Japan 2 concerts were recorded for release on a live album, which sadly was only released over there. (Years later when the CD craze started it would be available on CD over there too.)
On July 3, 1973 Beck joined David Bowie on stage at the Hammersmith Odeon concert. He jammed on the song "Jean Genie" which included a Beatle's "Love Me Do" medley with it. Supposedly Beck had been invited to play onstage as a present to Bowie's guitarist Mick Ronson. It wasn't even his birthday! Beck told Cynthia Foxx on KMET radio Los Angeles, CA in 1985 that he was given this horrible looking doll by Ronson which was supposed to resemble him.
The songs were never used on the live album years later because Beck demanded a large sum of money, but they are avaiable on a Bowie bootleg Lp. (The song was released on the live official album it's just that Beck's parts are edited out. Also, at the time the segment was shown on Don Kirschner's "In Concert" TV show in the US and some countries in Europe.)
Back to BBA, they were planning to record a second studio album. Some of the songs were performed in concert. Jimmy Miller (who produced Traffic, the Rolling Stones among others), also produced this 2nd studio album. It was never released (some songs were not in their completed form) BBA broke up soon after. Beck said they were to understructured and he didn't like Tim Bogert's long bass solos. About BBA's breakup Beck said in Guitar magazine: "Without blaming anybody, I think BBA needed discipline. We were just three maniacs, it went all day off stage and on stage. If we would've sat down and thought about it, if somebody said 'look lads you're going to have ten million selling albums if you do the right things' maybe we would have done it. But that was never to be, never no way."
The live album is a very good documentation of BBA in action. Beck also found time to play for other artist's sessions. One session he did far Pete Brown included Max Middleton and Jack Bruce "Spend My Knights In Armour" was planned as a single but not released until 1987. In 1974, Beck did a few sessions; Eddie Harris, Badger and even The Rolling Stones. Dick Wyzanski spoke to Beck in 1975 at the CBS "Blow By Blow" Beck/McGlaughlin party after the Avery Fisher Hall Beck concert and Beck told him: "The Eddie Harris sessions were incredible, especially jamming with (fellow guitarist) Albert Lee. I hope you like them." On the Badger and Rolling Stones sessions, "They wanted me!". Actually the Stones sessions was just Beck playing with them. They wanted him to join when Mick Taylor left the band. Beck told Cynthia Foxx on KRMT radio in California in 1985: "I played with them and it was awful. It was really awful. I mean there was just no energy there and not enough scope for me to play the way I wanted to play. Mick (Jagger) was sort of strumming around and they're all a bit slow. I mean lovely. That's what they are. They resigned themselves to the fact that I was going to join but it didn't mean that at all. And I remember having to get my road manager after the session was finished and we wrote a note saying, 'Sorry lads I got to go home.' We slipped it under their door and ran off." In BAM magazine, November 1985, Beck said: "I think we played about 10 hours of 12 bar blues, I couldn't handle it, because my mind wasn't into that way of doing things. I was working a million miles an hour in comparison to the way they were. They were quite happey to sit there with their feet up playing 12 bar blues." Keith Richards had this to say to Charles Shaar Murray in the NME music paper about Beck playing with the Stones: "We didn't do any songs, we just played and sometimes the tapes were rolling and sometimes they weren't." Charles Shaar Murray then asked: "So how was it?". Keith: "You know Jeff, sometimes 'e was brilliant and sometimes it was rubbish. Ronnie (Wood) can tell you more about Jeff Beck than I can anyway."
Just for the record it was Ronnie Wood who got the job as guitarist. The songs that were recorded are mostly practicing songs and instrumentals, some with vocals. The songs appeared on a bootleg Lp "Reggae and Roll", the songs that feature Beck include; "Black and Blue Jam", "Sexy Night" and "Come On Sugar". They were recorded between December 1974 and March 1975 in Germany.
Beck had started recording a solo album in 1974. This time the music was jazz/fushion. He had Carmine Appice play on it then his manager wanted Carmine's name on the cover as big as Beck's name instead of a mere mention in small print inside the liner notes. Beck did not agree and to solve the problem they just didn't use Appice's parts. The album produced by George Martin (who used to produce the Beatles) was titled "Blow By Blow". Beck had two Stevie Wonder songs "Theloneous" and "Cause We Ended As Lovers". The former one was given to Beck in 1973 but he never recorded it right away. The album was an instrumental fushion record with the exception of "She's A Woman" which uses a voice bag. "Blow By Blow" when released would hit #4 on the US Billboard charts.
At this time Beck was really into Stanley Clarke's music. When he toured to promote "Blow By Blow", he performed Clarke's song "Power" in concert. (It's available on bootleg too.) Clarke heard about this and was knocked out by it. When Beck was around the area eh dropped by his Long Island home and introduced himself. The two immediately began a friendship and Beck ended up playing on a few of his records. They even toured together (more on this later).
Beck's touring band for the "Blow By Blow" tour included Wilbur Bascomb (bass), Bernard Purdie (drums) and Max Middleton (kybds). He originally wanted Richard Bailey (drums) who had played on the album, but Beck objected to his young age (18). "Blow By Blow" gave Beck both artistic and commercial success. At this time Beck joined Billy Preston for a taped segment on "Midnight Special" TV show. Beck had in mind a supergroup lineup which included Preston, Max Middleton and Ollie Brown (drums). They performed "You Know What I Mean", "Cause We Ended As Lovers", then Preston performed "Nothing For Nothing", another Preston tune, unknown as yet and Buddy Miles's "Them Changes". While performing "Cause We Ended As Lovers", the producers of the show botched up 4 takes of the song and Beck refused to do another one. (If you ever get a chance to see the clip, it's hilarious, Beck doesn't even bother to play on the correct portion fo the guitar neck at times.) Apparently Buddy Miles was the drummer while Preston was performing his songs, Ollie Brown just played percussion during this set. Beck would play Billy Preston's self titled Lp, one song, "Bad Case Of Ego", released in 1976. A second "Blow By Blow" tour occured in the US later in the year. Beck played in between Aerosmith and Rod Stewart and The Faces.
It was around this time Beck became involved with the group Upp (who were originally were going to be called 3 Upp). Basically, they were a funky white soul group and Beck produced their album and played on it. This is the only time Beck ever produced an outside group (even to this day). Beck also played on their second album (on two songs) and joined them on a BBC broadcast "Four Faces Of Guitar". (I know this is going too far ahead of the article, but Upp were going to tour for the "Wired" tour, instead they played maybe a few shows.)
Beck started recording a new album titled "Wired" which he would stop then restart again and again. Because of this method there's a curious blend of musicians on the final album. Andi Clark (from Upp) wrote "Head For Backstage Pass", Richard Bailey and Wilbur Bascomb were both asked back to this session even though they did not join on the tour last time. Ed Green plays drums, Max Middleton and Jan Hammer play keyboards, sometimes the both of them on one song. Narada Michael Walden even plays the drums on several songs and piano on one. (Beck would also play on his album "Garden Of Lovelight" on one song.)
Prior to the "Wired" Lp, all the big fushion stars were jazz players who added rock influence to their music and who's core of fans come mostly from jazz fandom. Beck was the first rock player to go the other way. When "Wired" was released it would eventually hit #16 on the US Billboard charts. To this day "Wired" remains the highest charting instrumental album ever. (Those who disagree and think "Wait a minute, 'Blow By Blow' hit #4, keep in mind that the song 'She's A Woman' used a voice bag disqualifying that Lp as being all instrumental. In 1990 Steve Vai's "Passion and Warfare" almost ranked a tie with "Wired", it hit #18.) At the time of "Wired"'s release, Beck was jamming with Tommy Bolin in New York (April 1976), he played bass. None of these sessions were released although they've appeared on private collector's tapes. The recordings were made at Glen Holly Studios. Beck had admired Bolin as he played on "Spectrum", one of Beck's all time favorite Lps. Bolin would back up the Beck/Jan Hammer Group concert later on. Sadly, he died of a drug overdose in Miami after one concert was over.
To promote "Wired", Beck needed to assemble a band to tour. He had liked Jan Hammer's playing so he decided to ask him if he was interested. Jan Hammer had a band but there was no market for them. They agreed to all perform together. The band was going under the name, Jeff Beck and The Jan Hammer Group. They played one date unannounced at the Roundhouse in London before going on the road for the US tour which then brought them to Europe and Australia. The tour lasted until 1977. At the same time Beck had resided in the US (probably for tax purposes - if someone from England is away from their homeland for 10 months, they are ineligible to paying the huge tax which they are slapped with.) Sometime during the tour Beck joined the group Aerosmith on stage for two songs, "I Ain't Got You" and "Train Kept A Rollin'".
The Beck/Hammer Group tour didn't really please Beck. He was mad at Hammer's growing ego to become a pop star. Sometimes Hammer would just go wild playing that portable keyboard and one would think he was the main star. An album was recorded during the tour which when released (was intended to be a double album but at the time there were complaints about wasting plastic) was titled "Jeff Beck With The Jan Hammer Group Live". It hit #23 on the US Billboard charts. (The album is also available in Japan on CD) Beck did not renew a second tour with Hammer but Hammer would compose some songs for him and record/tour with him in years to come. (More in Issue #3)
The next band Beck had consisted of Stanley Clarke (bass), Tony Hymas (keyboards) and Simon Phillips (drums). Beck wanted Lenny White as drummer at first. Together they toured Europe and Japan. On this tour they performed two Jan Hammer penned songs, "Cat Moves" and "Hot Rocks" both of which appeared in 1981 on a Cozy Powell "Tilt" Lp which Beck plays on both songs. The tour lasted up until the summer of 1979. In between time Beck appeared on sessions for The Bee Gees and Peter Frampton "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band" soundtrack Lp and a few Stanley Clarke Lps. Beck didn't give any interviews at this time either. He had started recording another solo album which Jan Hammer was helping out with. The recording sessions began around November 1978. (On to Part III next issue.)