Jeff Beck: 5 Things To Know About Legendary Guitarist Dead At 78

Jeff Beck, founder of the Jeff Beck Band and The Yardbirds, passed away from a sudden illness on January 10, with his family releasing a statement the following day.

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  • Jeff Beck was a legendary guitarist.
  • He toured with Johnny Depp in recent weeks.
  • Jeff died suddenly Tuesday of viral meningitis.

Jeff Beck, the legendary guitarist who toured with embattled actor Johnny Depp in recent weeks, has died at the age of 78 after a sudden illness. “On behalf of his family, it is with deep and profound sadness that we share the news of Jeff Beck’s passing,” a statement posted to his official Twitter account on Wednesday, January 11 read. “After suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis, he peacefully passed away yesterday. His family ask for privacy while they process this tremendous loss.” Jeff passed away on Tuesday, January 10.

Here are five things about the musician.

Jeff Beck
Everett Collection

He’s considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time

According to Rolling Stone, Jeff was considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time, ranking fifth on their prestigious list of 100. He was also highly decorated as an artist, garnering no fewer than eight Grammy Awards and even more nominations during his high-profile career.

Jeff is a 2-time Hall of Famer

The iconic guitarist has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame not once, but twice. The first was with The Yardbirds back in 1992. He was again honored, this time on his merit as a solo artist, in 2009. At his 1992 induction, he reportedly quipped, “Someone told me I should be proud tonight … But I’m not, because they kicked me out. … They did … F*** them!”

On April 4, 2009, he was inducted as a solo artist, with Jimmy Page presenting the award and Beck performing his iconic hit “Train Kept A-Rollin” with Jimmy, Ronnie Wood, Flea, and several Metallica band members.

He counts many famous musicians among his friends

Jeff Beck
Guitarist Jeff Beck died on Tues, Jan 9, 2023. (Everett Collection)

Jeff counts many of rock’s most iconic names among his friends and associates. He made two albums with Rod Stewart, and played guitar for singers including Cyndi Lauper, Joss Stone, Wynonna Judd, Ozzy Osbourne, and Macy Gray, among others. In fact, he was featured on the title track of Ozzy’s latest album Patient Number 9, recently released in June of 2022.

He was touring with Johnny Depp

According to The Daily Mail, just weeks ago, Jeff had finished his transatlantic tour with Pirates of the Caribbean actor Johnny Depp — who was fresh off his infamous defamation trial with ex-wife Amber Heard when they performed. They were promoting their debut album 18. 

In October of 2022, The Chicago Sun Times dubbed the duo an “entertaining combination” in live performance.

Jeff was born in England

The famed English guitarist was born in Surrey, England, on June 24, 1944. And although he became famous across continents, his home country decorated him just as proudly as the U.S. did. In 2014, the British Academy decorated him with the Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contribution To British Music. According to The Sun, he lived in Wadhurst, East Essex, with his elusive wife Sandra Cash at the time of his death.