From Touring Australia To His Techno Phase, Jeff Beck Moved To His Own Tune

From Touring Australia To His Techno Phase, Jeff Beck Moved To His Own Tune

In Footage , Don Walker tells the great story of Jeff Beck playing pinball on the Bondi Lifesaver in the summer of 1977.

After midnight, after burning up the cityscape, the British guitar god entered a public bar and began to play in the corner under a forbidden hairstyle of the 60s.

"She was on her own, she didn't meet anyone, she hunted and eventually she snuck out," singer-songwriter Sarah Sizzle says from a respectful distance. Those words and that image seem like a poetic epitaph as the lone monster of the electric guitar makes his shock final appearance this week at the age of 78 after suffering a sudden bout of bacterial meningitis.

"Fame kissed me on the cheek and that was it," Beck told me on his next Australian tour three decades later. "Honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way. Anonymity isn't bad."

Beck is not anonymous, he belongs to no one in rock history. That meant he avoided the pop spotlight lit by Yardbirds alums Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page; and guys like Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood, whom he fell in love with at the first recordings of the magical Jeff Beck Band (some say they invented Led Zeppelin).

The result is a rare, mesmerizing, unique quality that I see in photographs of those days. Standing over the Gibson family in a Los Angeles hotel room with a TV blaring Baron Vollman's 1968 classic, Beck glows with pure inspiration, oblivious to cameras or anyone else. Space receivers, not stars.

Part of his myth to '70s kids like me is that he agreed to join young David Bowie fans at Ziggy Stardust's final show in 1973, then insisted he be kicked out of the film. "I was embarrassed when I saw it because I was wearing these ugly white shoes and I couldn't let anyone see them," she said.

Then Mick Jagger hired him for a solo world tour in 1989: " Jack Flash won't fly away from me , I'll tell you that," he said. "We rehearsed for three weeks, then it was on the floor with Jumping Jack Flash on the tracklist. A puff of smoke went up and there I was, gone."

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