Ola Englund Pays Tribute to Jeff Beck: ’Huge Blow to the Guitar Community’

This Sunday, January 15, Swedish guitarist and owner of Solar Guitars, Ola Englund, shared another one of his weekly recap videos where he looks back on all the important news from the past seven days. The first issue that Ola addressed was the passing of blues rock legend Jeff Beck.

Reflecting on Beck’s legacy and what the musician meant to the guitar community worldwide, Englund commented (transcribed by Killer Guitar Rigs):

“An absolute huge blow to the guitar community overall. I mean, Jeff Beck made a great impact on rock and blues.”

“You know, even though I’m not a rock or blues guy, there’s absolutely no denying that Jeff Beck was just a guitar hero for a lot of people. So it’s absolutely super sad to hear about this.”

On Wednesday, January 11, Jeff Beck’s official social media profiles shared the news of his passing. The representatives in Beck’s name revealed that he died a day before, on Tuesday, January 10, at the age of 78, due to “contracting bacterial meningitis.” The statement reads:

“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 ask[s] for privacy while they process this tremendous loss.”

Making his first breakthrough as a member of the Yardbirds back in the 1960s, Jeff Beck eventually became known as one of the most famous guitar-focused solo artists. Between 1968 and his passing in 2023, Beck released a total of 17 full-length studio albums.

Additionally, Beck also worked with plenty of other big names in the world of rock music and beyond. His most recent collaboration was with Ozzy Osbourne, playing on two songs off of the metal singer’s last album “Patient Number 9.”

Ozzy Osbourne - Patient Number 9 (Official Music Video) ft. Jeff Beck

Among many people to pay tribute to the legendary blues rock guitarist was also Queen’s Brian May. In his recently released video message, May looked back on one of Jeff’s pieces which he considers to be “possibly the most beautiful bit of guitar music ever recorded.” The Queen guitarist said:

“If you wanna hear his depth of emotion and sound and phrasing and the way he could touch your soul, listen to ‘Where Were You’ off the ‘Guitar Shop’ album.”

“Just Google ‘Where Were You Jeff Beck’ and sit down and listen to it for four minutes. It’s unbelievable.”

“It’s possibly the most beautiful bit of guitar music ever recorded, probably alongside Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Little Wing.’ So sensitive, so beautiful, so incredibly creative and unlike anything you’ve ever heard anywhere else.”

Where Were You - Jeff Beck

“Yes, of course he had his influences too, but he brought an amazing voice to rock music which will never, ever be emulated, or equaled.”

“Jeff was completely and utterly unique, and the kind of musician who’s impossible to define. And I was absolutely in awe of him.”

May also reflected on a collaborative piece that he and Jeff worked on called “The Guv’nor.” The song in question was released on Brian May’s 1998 solo record “Another World” and its title is actually May’s nickname for Jeff. He said:

“He came over to my place here in the studio, played it with me, and we had a laugh. And he played some incredible stuff. Again, my jaw dropped.

“I couldn’t really pick up a guitar when he was in the room, because he was so incredible, I just wanted to watch and listen. So he played on the track, and he was, like, ‘Oh, yeah, whatever.'”

May concluded by saying:

“Jeff Beck is so unique, so influential on every guitarist I’ve ever met in my life. The loss is incalculable. It’s so sad not having him in the world anymore. I still can’t quite compute it in my head.”

Plenty of other rock legends were devastated to hear the news of Jeff Beck’s passing. Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour, who was friends with Jeff, shared this statement:

“I am devastated to hear the news of the death of my friend and hero Jeff Beck, whose music has thrilled and inspired me and countless others for so many years. Polly’s [Samson, David’s wife] and my thoughts go out to his lovely wife Sandra. He will be forever in our hearts.”

1974: JEFF BECK's Guitar Setup | Five Faces of the Guitar | Classic BBC Music | BBC Archive

Joe Satriani, who often cited Jeff as one of his biggest influences, said:

“Jeff Beck was a genius, a stunning original. He was an astounding guitar player with more ways to make you go, ‘WTF was that?’ than anybody else. He was profoundly talented, and never stopped innovating on the instrument. R.I.P. Jeff.”

Among countless musicians to pen their tributes via social media channels was also Bernie Marsden, the original guitar player for Whitesnake. Looking back at his close relationship with the Beck, Bernie shared:

“It’s with great sadness I post this photo. I first saw Jeff when my band opened for the Jeff Beck Group in 1968. After that I soon realised his sheer genius, a genius that continued for all his life. Now he’s gone, the best of the best. I’m devastated.”

“I was fortunate that we became quite close, especially when the great drummer Jimmy Copley died in 2017. Jeff produced & played with Jim’s band Upp. We were regular hospital visitors & bonded in our anxieties over our dear friend. Tonight I’m raising a glass to him, Jimmy & Cozy.”

UPP feat. JEFF BECK - Down In The Dirt (1974 UK TV Performance) ~ HIGH QUALITY HQ ~

“He always warmly welcomed me at his gigs over the years, as interested in my car as he was guitars, he was very funny to hang out with and easy to be around, which is perhaps different to what his image suggested – he loved that. My deep condolences to his wife Sandra.”

Since Jeff Beck is known as a Fender Stratocaster player, the famous guitar company also paid tribute to him by saying:

“The impact Jeff Beck had on music is immeasurable. The Fender Family is deeply saddened by his passing, and we’re keeping his loved ones in our thoughts during this difficult time. Thank you, Jeff, and may your legacy continue to pave the way for generations to come.”

Photos: Shannon Kringen (Jeff Beck Woodland Park Zoo), S. Bollmann (The Haunted Rockharz 2015 08)

David Slavkovic

David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.

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