The Lasting Effect That Jeff Beck And Jimi Hendrix's Music Had On Each Other

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee and Grammy award winner Jeff Beck died on January 10, 2023, and left a permanent mark on the world of music and creativity. Beck died at 78 years old and, after building his first guitar at the age of 15, spent the majority of his life with his body and soul immersed in a wide range of music (via Rock & Roll Hall of Fame).

Beck spent his teenage years in London listening to a lot of American musicians, notably Buddy Guy (per Pitchfork). Through his years as a musician, the guitar master has performed with countless incredible artists, including Buddy Guy himself in the 1990s. Early in his career, mutual respect and inspiration between Beck and the famed Jimi Hendrix were established. While both men are often hailed as the greatest guitarists ever to live, the experience of interacting with Hendrix and his awe-inspiring levels of skill on the guitar is something Beck would carry with him for the rest of his life.

The two guitar legends had a deep respect for one another

In 1968, the tumultuous state of the United States was in was impossible to ignore. Beck was playing with his band, The Jeff Beck Group, and in the hot summer months of that year, he played shows regularly in New York. In June 1968, The Jeff Beck Group played a four-day event, "Daytop Music Festival," in Staten Island, according to SI Live. The event lasted from Friday to Monday and featured such acts as The Grateful Dead and Duke Ellington.

At the time, The Jeff Beck Group was a band of musical genius, with Jeff Beck himself on guitar, Rod Stewart on vocals, and a pre-Rolling Stones Ronnie Wood on the bass (per SI Live). During the Sunday performance, Jimi Hendrix joined them onstage for the performance of a lifetime. According to Rock Celebrities, Beck considered Hendrix to be an acquaintance whom he never got the opportunity to know better. In an interview with Guitar World, Beck described how seeing Hendrix perform live for the first time in London blew his mind. "For me, the first shockwave was Jimi Hendrix," he said. "That was the major thing that shook everybody up over here. Even though we'd all established ourselves as fairly safe in the guitar field, he came along and reset all of the rules in one evening."

Both musicians were inspired to pay tribute to the other

Jimi Hendrix and Jeff Beck connected through their undeniable passion and near-formidable skills in music. Their connection was more apparent as the two both paid tribute to one another through song. Hendrix used a guitar riff of Beck's in his song "Freedom," and in a quote published by Rock Celebrities from an interview with Sirius XM, Beck said of the tribute, "He did, that means I can die happy."

Beck paid his own homage to the late Jimi Hendrix with his song "Scared for the Children." The guitar riff on the track was inspired by Hendrix's song "Angel," according to Far Out Magazine. "Ever since I learned the chords to 'Little Wing,' nobody can shut me up," Beck said of his love for Hendrix. The two may have played together and even paid special tribute to one another, but according to Beck, there's no photo that exists of the pair. There is a photo of the two in the same vicinity, though, as Beck pointed out in an interview published by Rock Celebrities. The photo in question shows Hendrix playing a guitar that happens to be Beck's, as Hendrix didn't have one at the time. This led Beck to play the bass that evening, and he was, however, just slightly outside the photo frame.

There was never any competition between Hendrix and Beck

While Jimi Hendrix and Jeff Beck skyrocketed to fame at slightly different times, in an interview with Guitar World, Beck recalled feeling no sense of competition after seeing Hendrix perform for the first time at a small club in London and getting to know him even on a relatively small scale in the years after. "I was delighted to have known him for the short time that I did," he said. "It was the magical watering hole of the Speakeasy, the club where we hung out in London, that enabled that to happen."

Both musicians are innovative and have created a world of psychedelic, transformative sound that stands the test of time and inspires passion and pleasantry throughout generations. While Beck has performed with a lengthy list of artists, including Kate Bush, Jon Bon Jovi, Roger Waters, and Johnny Depp (via Pitchfork), his path crossing with the likes of Hendrix planted a seed that would flourish for years and become a treasured part of his career.