In 1965, Jeff Beck replaced Eric Clapton in the legendary band The Yardbirds. Jeff Beck joined Jimmy Page. Jeff Beck toured with the band and recorded one album with the Yardbirds before being fired from the group. After leaving The Yardbirds, Jeff Beck went on to form the Jeff Beck Group. Over the years, in the 1960s and early 1970s, Jeff Beck worked with various famous musicians in different formations such as the Beck, Bogert & Appice band.
It was in 1974 when Jeff Beck released his solo album, Blow By Blow, that Jeff Beck’s fame went beyond the die-hard rock fan. Blow by Blow was a platinum-selling album that hit number 4 on the Billboard Top 200 album charts. It which was an amazing feat for an instrumental rock album. The record was also produced by the renowned George Martin who had become legendary in the music world because of his work with The Beatles.
Our Top 10 Jeff Beck songs list attempts to define some of the best material that Jeff Beck recorded throughout his career. We have excluded any of The Yardbirds material since we wish to have enough room to present some great Jeff Beck tracks. This is only a small sampling of some extraordinary guitar-based instrumentals that sound like no other artist but Mr. Jeff Beck.
# 10 – What Mama Said
We open our Top 10 Jeff Beck Songs list with Beck’s foray into electronic music for at least one album. While some hardcore Jeff Beck fans may have been taken back a bit, the album is just another showcase for Jeff Beck’s extraordinary guitar work in a creative exploration of multiple music genres. Released on the Who Else album in 1999.
The song What Mama Said was the albums opening track. The song was composed by Jennifer Batten, Jeff Beck, and Tony Hymas. The album was produced by Jeff Beck, and Tony Hymas. Musicians on the album included Jennifer Batten on guitar and guitar synthesizer, Mark John on guitar, Tony Hymas on keyboards, Jeff Beck’s old friend and Miami Vice composer and legendary keyboardist Jan Hammer on keys of course, Simon Wallace on synthesizer, Steve Alexander and Manu Katch on drums, Randy Hope-Taylor and Pino Palladino currently of The Who on bass, Bob Loveday on violin and Clive Bell on flute.
# 9 – Superstition
Jeff Beck joined with Tim Bogart and Carmine Appice to record one kicking album. Jeff Beck’s interpretation of Stevie Wonder’s iconic keyboard riff is to die for. The album entitled Beck, Bogert & Appice was released in 1973. It is the group’s only album that they released together as a power trio. Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” has been covered by many artists including Stevie Ray Vaughan’s killer version released in 1987.
# 8 – Led Boots
Jeff Beck’s tribute to Led Zeppelin and his former bandmate Jimmy Page was perfectly titled. The song was released on Jeff Beck’s Wired album in 1976. “Led Boots,” was the album’s opening track. The Wired album was the follow-up to his groundbreaking Blow By Blow album that was released two years earlier. The album was produced by the famed Beatles producer George Martin. This was an album that was much loved by critics and fans. We wish we could put this entire album on this list, but there are just so many more great Jeff Beck songs to get to.
# 7 – Beck’s Bolero
Speaking of Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck’s former bandmate composed the wonderful song Beck’s Bolero which was released on Jeff Beck’s first solo album entitled Truth. The album was released in 1968. The track also featured The Who’s Keith Moon on drums. How could you not love that? The Truth album also featured other legendary rock and roll such as John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin, Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood, Nicky Hopkins, Aynsley Dunbar and Jimmy Page
# 6 – Scatterbrain
In the number six position on our Jeff Beck songs list, we turn to his classic 1970s album entitled Blow By Blow. The song “Scatterbrain,” was the closing track on side one. The song would become an instant favorite among Jeff Beck fans. This track was fueled by the best of 1970s jazz and rock. Great guitar solos, killer arrangement and production, lavish jazz chords, killer riffs, and everything else we loved about the Steely Dan jazz fusion meets the blues-rock era that crossed so many genres. Jeff Beck was right in the middle of it with his two spectacular albums Blow By Blow and Wired.
# 5 – Pull It
We simply loved the Loud Hailer album. The dynamic record was released in 2016. The album also featured the United Kingdom’s Carmen Vandenberg & Rosie Bones. Carmen and Rosies youthful spirit brought an artistic edge to the album that made for a wonderful Jeff Beck record that sounded both modern and vintage.
# 4 – Guitar Shop
Our favorite Jeff Beck album cover has always been the cover that graced the Jeff Beck’s Guitar Shop album. The smoking record was released in 1989. The album featured Jeff Beck on guitar, Terry Bozzio on drums and Tony Hymas on keyboards. Guiar Shop was the album’s opening track.
# 3 – Freeway Jam (Live with Jan Hamme Group)
This great track was released on two albums. The studio version appeared on the Blow By Blow album. The live version appeared on the Live with Jan Hammer Group. Take a listen to both versions and see if you disagree with our choice.
# 2 – Blue Wind
“Blue Wind,” was the opening track on side two of Jeff Beck’s 1976 album Wired. The song was written by Jan Hammer. This great track starts out with a high hat riff that is met by Jeff Beck’s iconic guitar lick, It just keeps getting better as we get deeper into the track, This was the sound of Jeff Beck in the mid-1970s.
# 1 – Nessun Dorma
This breathtaking ballad was released on Jeff Beck’s 2010 album Emotion & Commotion. Jeff Beck’s guitar work on the track defined an artist who understood the meaning of choice. The album was simply stunning in its scope of performances and song selections. The guest performances including Joss Stone, Imelda May, and Olivia Safe made for an album for the ages. The track “Nessun Dorma,” won Jeff Beck a Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.
The Emotion & Commotion album was produced by Steve Lipson and Trevor Horn. The sponge Nessun Dorman was composed by the legendary Italian Composer Giacomo Puccini. The piece of music was originally part of the opera entitled Turandot. Luciano Pavarotti had recorded the song in the 1990s.
Top 10 Jeff Beck Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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Has anybody heard “18” yet with Beck and Johnny Depp? It is simply astonishingly good and quite emotional as well.