It would be accurate to condense this review into one simple sentence: here’s everything you could possibly want to know about Jeff Beck, and then some. To take the example further, if one had to use but one word to describe the book, it would be “dense.” But because the book deserves more, we’ll add that even reclusive Jeff himself would be proud.
This is an amazing work covering every facet of Beck’s musical journey from the beginning to 1980, when his output curtailed considerably, by his own choosing. Among the highlights are a complete day-by-day listing and documentation of more than 1,000 live appearances, including comprehensive coverage of The Yardbirds U.S. tours, extensive excerpts of press coverage, recording session information, commentaries on songs performed in concert, along with U.S. and U.K. sales and chart information. And it’s heavily illustrated with a 16-page color section with previously unpublished photos, separate appendices on TV and radio appearances, and a guitar “axeology” with listings of all identifiable instruments used by Beck during this period. Vintage junkies will be interested in the latter, and all will marvel at the amount of information packed into these pages.
If ever a model existed for documenting the work of modern rock performers, this is it. Astounding in both scope and factual data, this book is both a history of Beck and his bands, and a history of rock music in the ’60s and ’70s. This book presents an astounding amount of researched material.
Jeff’s Book: A Chronology of Jeff Beck’s Career, 1965-1980
Rumford RI: Rock ‘n’ Roll Research Press 2000, Softbound 240 pages, ISBN 0-9641005-3-3, $29.95.
This review originally appeared in VG‘s June ’01 issue.