Sir Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood remember ‘groundbreaking’ guitarist Jeff Beck

Sir Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood, who conquered the US in the late 60s with Jeff Beck and The Jeff Beck Group, have led tributes to the rock veteran following his death at the age of 78.

In online tributes the pair said Beck had been “on another planet” and that they had made “groundbreaking” music together.

The renowned guitarist’s death was announced by his family in an online statement on Wednesday.

Beck died “peacefully” on Tuesday, after contracting bacterial meningitis, the statement said.

The trailblazing musician first rose to prominence with rock band The Yardbirds and went on to have a successful solo career, fronting Beck, Bogert & Appice, and The Jeff Beck Group with Sir Rod and Wood.

Sharing a picture of the pair to Instagram, Sir Rod wrote: “Jeff Beck was on another planet.

“He took me and Ronnie Wood to the USA in the late 60s in his band the Jeff Beck Group and we haven’t looked back since.

“He was one of the few guitarists that when playing live would actually listen to me sing and respond.

“Jeff, you were the greatest, my man. Thank you for everything. RIP.”

The singer joined The Jeff Beck Group in 1967, which marked a breakout moment in his career.

Jeff Beck Teenage Cancer Trust
The trailblazing musician first rose to prominence with rock band The Yardbirds and went on to have a successful solo career (Yui Mok/PA)

Wood, also known as a key member of The Rolling Stones, also shared pictures of them, along with other famous faces including Johnny Depp and Slash.

“Now Jeff has gone, I feel like one of my band of brothers has left this world, and I’m going to dearly miss him,” he wrote.

“I’m sending much sympathy to Sandra, his family, and all who loved him. I want to thank him for all our early days together in The Jeff Beck Group, conquering America.

“Musically, we were breaking all the rules, it was fantastic, groundbreaking rock ’n’ roll! Listen to the incredible track ‘Plynth’ in his honour.

“Jeff, I will always love you. God bless.”

Beck was born Geoffrey Arnold Beck in Wallington, England, to parents Arnold and Ethel Beck and developed a passion for music as a child.

A chance meeting with Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page led Beck to join the Yardbirds in 1965 – replacing the band’s former guitarist Eric Clapton.

Clapton, who later performed alongside Beck on a number of occasions including co-headlining shows at The O2 in London in 2010, also paid tribute to his fellow guitar great.

He shared a photo of Beck to his Twitter and simply wrote: “Always and ever.”

Beck’s time with the Yardbirds was short, lasting close to two years before he embarked on a solo career, and released his first solo single, Hi Ho Silver Lining, in 1969.

After initially finding limited success as a solo artist, Beck formed The Jeff Beck Group, originally consisting of Sir Rod on vocals, Wood on bass, Nicky Hopkins on piano and Aynsley Dunbar on drums.

He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice – first as a member of The Yardbirds in 1992 and later as a solo artist in 2009.

During the course of his career, Beck won a total of eight Grammy awards – the first in 1985 for his song Escape, which scooped the award for best rock instrumental performance.

A second Grammy came with Jeff Beck’s Guitar Shop with Terry Bozzio and Tony Hymas, and a third for Dirty Mind from the You Had It Coming album in 2001.

Beck released Live At Ronnie Scott’s in 2009, which earned him a Grammy for A Day In The Life and he later scooped two additional Grammy awards for his 2010 solo album Emotion & Commotion.

Ivor Novello Awards – London
Beck was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice – first as a member of The Yardbirds in 1992 and later as a solo artist in 2009 (Yui Mok/PA)

He also won a Grammy for best pop collaboration with vocals for Imagine, his collaboration with Herbie Hancock.

Beck has played with countless industry heavyweights including Nile Rodgers with whom he collaborated on the album Flash, and Sir Mick Jagger – playing on the 1987 album Primitive Cool and later working with the likes of Roger Waters and Jon Bon Jovi.

Beck also contributed to Hans Zimmer’s score for the film Days Of Thunder, starring Tom Cruise.

Beck’s career continued as he spent the 2010s touring extensively, including with former Beach Boys member Brian Wilson.

Last year he made headlines when he announced a collaborative album with Johnny Depp shortly after the Hollywood actor’s defamation battle with ex-wife Amber Heard drew to a close.

The pair first met in 2016 and began recording the album in 2019 while Depp was also playing with Alice Cooper’s supergroup Hollywood Vampires.

In 2022 Beck released a full length album, titled 18, with Depp and the pair played a number of live gigs together.

His family statement announcing his death, posted to Twitter and Instagram on Wednesday, read: “On behalf of his family, it is with deep and profound sadness that we share the news of Jeff Beck’s passing.

“After suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis, he peacefully passed away yesterday.

“His family ask for privacy while they process this tremendous loss.”