Throughout his career, the late Jeff Beck was one of the go-to musicians for guest spots and collaborations. His list of cameos was vast, with appearances that covered a multitude of decades, genres and artists, from Diana Ross to Ozzy Osbourne.
Below are just a dozen of his best collaborations.
Stevie Wonder - Talking Book (1972)
On Talking Book Wonder played most of the instruments himself, but delegated ‘stunt’ guitar on Lookin’ For Another Pure Love to Beck, who had long admired. As ther guitarist floats a solo at the two-minute mark, listen out for the bandleader’s encouragement: “Do it, Jeff!” Beck had appeared on the album on the condition that Wonder write a song for him. The result? Superstition.
Roger Waters - Amused To Death (1992)
Beck sprayed guitar genius over seven tracks on Roger Waters’ dystopian concept album. “I don’t know how he does it,” said the Floyd man. “He’s incredibly technically gifted in ways the rest of us can’t even begin to think about.” Uriah Heep's Mick Bix told us, "The fact that Jeff Beck, my favourite rock guitarist, plays on it made it a winner right from the off."
Tina Turner - Private Dancer (1984)
Beck didn’t mess about on the title track, written by Dire Straits man Mark Knopfler. “Christ, that was swift," he said. "I added some screeching guitar and she had her biggest album ever.”
Stanley Clarke - Journey To Love (1975)
The US fusion heavyweight bassist brought in A-grade musos from Chick Corea to John McLaughlin, but Beck smoked them all with his fiery lead break on Hello Jeff. "One of my favourite players I ever played with is Jeff Beck," Clarke told us. "He has this sensitivity, he plays melody like few others can on guitar."
Malcolm McLaren And The Bootzilla Orchestra - Waltz Darling (1989)
House Of The Blue Danube’s classically-inspired mash-up of synth-funk and high orchestra was a curious beast, and Beck’s dirty/clean solos, allied to the bass of funk giant Bootsy Collins, were every bit as schizophrenic.
Kate Bush - The Red Shoes (1993)
Kate Bush had never laid herself so bare as on lovesick finale You’re The One, and Beck’s outro solo had a similar sense of catharsis, as well as a tone that took listeners back to his late-60s work. It's quite something to stand out on an album that also featured Eric Clapton and Prince.
Mick Jagger - She’s The Boss (1985)
Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards was always scornful of Jagger’s solo career, and it probably didn’t help his mood that the singer brought in the technically superior Beck to trade licks on the hot-buttered funky title track. "I was always thinking: 'I wonder if I could play in that band?,'" Beck told us. "I seemed to fit the style, loved the blues and all the rest of it. I kept my eye on them. And lo and behold Mick calls me up and wants me to do an album. And that was the first time I met him."
Brian May - Another World (1998)
Standout track The Guv’nor was written especially for Beck, but he sat on it for a year before tracking his solo. “You know he’ll make something brilliant out of it,” said May, “and that’s what makes the wait worthwhile.” Also appearing on the album were Cozy Powell, Ian Hunter and late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins.
Duff McKagan - Believe In Me (1993)
The fan-boy bassist coaxed twin cameos from Beck, on the bratty rocker Swamp Song and the juddering electro-funk of (Fucked Up) Beyond Belief. It wasn't the first time he'd worked with Beck, who appeared onstage with Guns N' Roses at a Paris show in 1992. “When I was 11 or 12 in 1976, I saw the Rocks Tour and Jeff Beck was opening for Aerosmith," said McKagan after the show. "At that age, you know Aerosmith and Jeff Beck were my heroes and I was on the stage today with those very same people, and I told myself back then ‘I’m gonna be there someday.'"
Jon Bon Jovi - Blaze Of Glory (1990)
We could take or leave the title track’s hokey cowboy references, but Beck’s peach of a slide solo was essential, taking an already epic song and turning it into something that was defiantly his in just 30 seconds. Punch it into Google and you can find an isolated version.
The Pretenders - Viva El Amor (1999)
Punky thrasher Legalise Me didn’t exactly push the virtuoso guitarist – until he breaks the route-one monotony with the whammy-wrestling lead break at 2:14. Prior to the recording, lead Pretender Chrissie Hynde told Beck a story about meeting him when was just 16, when he took her friend's Corvette for a spin, and that youthful playfulness shows up in the solo.
John McLaughlin - The Promise (1995)
Cue up opening instrumental Django, on which the two maestros trade lazy licks over a scuttled beat like something straight from The Fast Show’s Jazz Club. Two decades earlier, Beck had supported McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra, whose drummer Narada Michael Walden had ended up playing on Beck's classic Wired album.