Jeff Beck, dies at 78, remembered as one of the greatest guitarists of all time

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Jeff Beck, one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time, has died at the age of 78. 

The Grammy-winning musician rose to prominence with The Yardbirds, and went on to front the Jeff Beck Group and Beck, Bogert & Appice.

Beck died “peacefully” on Tuesday after contracting bacterial meningitis, his family said. 

Beck ranked in the top five of Rolling Stone’s 100 greatest guitarists and was often described as a “guitarist’s guitarist”.

A statement posted on the musician’s Twitter page read: “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 for privacy while they process this tremendous loss.”

Jeff Beck on stage during a performance in Dallas, Texas, in 1983

Credit: Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page paid tribute to Beck as “the six-stringed warrior” and praised his “apparently limitless” musical imagination.

A chance meeting between Page and Beck led the latter to join The Yardbirds in 1965 – replacing the band’s former guitarist, Eric Clapton.

“The six stringed Warrior is no longer here for us to admire the spell he could weave around our mortal emotions,” Page wrote online.

“Jeff could channel music from the ethereal. His technique unique. His imaginations apparently limitless.

“Jeff I will miss you along with your millions of fans. Jeff Beck Rest in Peace.”

Kiss bassist Gene Simmons said Beck’s death was “heartbreaking news … no one played guitar like Jeff. Please get ahold of the first two Jeff Beck Group albums and behold greatness. RIP.”

Rolling Stones legend Mick Jagger remembered his friend as a “wonderful man” and one of the world’s greatest guitarists while Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi wrote on Twitter that he was “totally shocked”.

Iommi added: “Jeff was such a nice person and an outstanding iconic, genius guitar player – there will never be another Jeff Beck. His playing was very special & distinctively brilliant! He will be missed.”

US rock group ZZ Top said its members felt “privileged” to have shared multiple stages with Beck over the course of his lengthy career.

“We mourn the loss of Jeff Beck, a brilliant musician and friend,” the band’s official account tweeted.

“Our tours with Jeff were delights from both personal and sonic perspectives.

“We’re thankful that we were privileged to share so many stages with him over the years and will truly miss his artistry and personality.”

Beck was born Geoffrey Arnold Beck in Wallington, England to parents Arnold and Ethel Beck and developed a passion for music as a child.

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

Jeff Beck and Mick Jagger (right) pose together at the mixing desk in Wisseloord Studios, Hilversum, Netherlands while working on Mick Jagger’s solo album, Primitive Cool in 1986

Credit: Redferns

The pair first met in 2016 and began recording the album in 2019 while Depp was also playing with Alice Cooper’s supergroup Hollywood Vampires.

Beck was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice – first as a member of The Yardbirds in 1992 and later as a solo artist in 2009.

During the course of his career, he won a total of eight Grammy awards.