Jeff Beck (Wallington (England), June 24, 1944) is a rock guitarist who played in various influential bands in the 60s and 70s.
When Eric Clapton exchanged The Yardbirds for John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers in 1965 (because The Yardbirds exchanged their blues influences for other horizons), Beck replaced him. He played until then in the band The Tridents, which had brought it no further than many performances and some demos. Beck made a big impression at The Yardbirds with his progressive sound effects such as distortion and feedback, which can be heard on the Yardbirds hits Heart full of Soul (1965) and Shapes of Things (1966).
Beck remained part of The Yardbirds for only 18 months. He left the band during an American tour at the end of 1966. At the beginning of 1967 he formed his own Jeff Beck Group with bassist Ron Wood (from The Birds), drummer Ainsley Dunbar (from John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers) and singer Rod Stewart (from Steampacket). Before the first single was recorded, Dunbar was replaced by Micky Waller.
Producer Mickie Most wanted to turn Beck into a pop idol and had him (despite the presence of Stewart) lead vocals on the first two ‘commercial’ singles. The first, Hi ho silver lining, was a modest hit. The B-side was an adaptation of Bolero van Ravel under the title Beck’s Bolero with Keith Moon on drums and contributions from Yardbird’s buddy Jimmy Page. The second single, Tallyman (written by Graham Gouldman), did not do much, but on the B-side the impressive voice of Rod Stewart could be heard. Although the song was titled Rock my plimsoul and was attributed to “Jeffrey Rod” (Beck and Stewart), it was no more than an adaptation of the blues song Rock me baby, best known for B.B. King.