In memory of Jeff Beck 1944 -2023

BY ALYN SYMS – guitarist, musician, composer

TRIBUTE TO A HERO, JEFF BECK – I’ve had a lot of guitar heroes since I started out and most of them have become a disappointment. They either lost their fire, sold out, burned out or played the same solo for 40 years, reducing their art to a formula like baked beans, same riffs different day. But one guitarist never did anything but inspire me and that was Jeff Beck. I discovered him during the British Invasion with the Yardbirds and the ” Rave Up ” they did which was really a jam and was something he was really good at. I followed him through the Jeff Beck Group and then into his solo career. I saw him for the first time at the Century Theater after he released Blow by Blow and like everyone else in the audience was mesmerized but I was also deeply inspired. I saw him every chance I got and because of him was always inspired to push boundaries, take chances and not only break existing rules of music but more importantly, break new ground. I was heartbroken to see he died today and am working on a more fitting tribute but I can tell you this, He was my North Star, a poor boy from England who conquered the world with his guitar, not from doing some sleazy song or video but by sheer talent, which by Charlie Chaplin’s definition of talent means simply, ” hard work. “
Jeff beck was the best. He once played for us, now he plays for angels…

ONE OF THE COOLEST THINGS I EVER SAW JEFF BECK DO – In 1976, at the Century Theater, Buffalo NY he was supposed to have John Mclaughlin open the show, but Mclaughlin was taking too long so Beck opened instead. But before he came out formally, he walked out onstage to check his equipment. People were calling out to him and he acknowledged them but was mainly focused on his gear. He was dressed sharp as well, in vintage rock star, jeans, a velvet blazer and snakeskin boots. What also impressed me about him was his professionalism and cool, a must for any guitar player. He took about ten minutes to double check his gear, went backstage, then came out and rocked the house. I’ve done the same thing ever since, not being concerned with the introduction, instead my focus was on my performance and checking your gear before you go out guarantees it. You’re not there to play the role, you’re there to play…


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