Jeff Beck’s 19 Best Guest Appearances

Jeff Beck played nicely with others—many others—throughout his 60-year recording career, though some bandmates might say “nicely” wasn’t always the case.

Nevertheless, Beck’s musical life put him together with dozens of other musicians, as a band member (from Screaming Lord Sutch & the Savages to Yardbirds to Beck, Bogert & Appice), who leads two Jeff Beck groups and employs a corps of top-shelf players as solo artists. The guitarist, considered by some to be the greatest electric player of all time, was also a guest, especially after his two-time Rock & Roll Hall of Fame reputation was established with the Yardbirds.

Since the late ’60s, Beck has lent his skills to no fewer than three dozen recordings by other artists, a lineup that includes likely contenders and surprises like Diana Ross, Kate Bush, Seal and Kelly Clarkson. There’s a whole lot of Beck out there, but we’re revisiting some of his six-string cameos in the list below of Jeff Beck’s 19 Best Guest Performances.

Stevie Wonder, “Lookin’ for Another Pure Love” (1972)
Beck had recorded an album’s worth of music at Motown’s Studio A in Detroit during 1970, working with the Funk Brothers as well as his drummer Cozy Powell. That material has never been released, but the guitarist appeared on Motown via Stevie Wonder‘s Speech book, plays on the deep cut “Lookin’ for Another Pure Love.” Wonder returned the favor in the 1975s Blow by Blowplays uncredited clavinet on Beck’s version of his “Thelonious,” one of two Wonder covers on the album.

Stanley Clarke, The journey to love (1975)
Beck was in full jazz fusion in the mid-’70s, so he was a fitting choice to be part of the Return to Forever bassist’s third solo album. Beck features on the title track and the cheekily titled “Hello Jeff,” then returned to Clarke’s world for 1978’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll Jelly” Modern Man.

Rod Stewart, Camouflage (1984)
The original Jeff Beck Group pair revived their on-and-off relationship for Rod Stewart13th solo album where Beck plays on “Infatuation”, “Bad for You” and a cover of Todd Rundgren“Can we still be friends.” The former was a Top 10 hit and the album went gold, but Beck opted out of a planned tour with Stewart that summer. However, they would reunite the following year, coming together for a hit cover of the Impressions’ “People Get Ready” at Beck’s Flash album.

Tina Turner, “Private Dancer” (1984)
Dire StraitsMark Knopfler had intended the title track of Turner’s comeback album for his bands Love over gold album, but felt the lyrics wouldn’t sound right from a male singer. So Straits’ manager Ed Bicknell hit it off Tina Turner‘s manager Roger Davies for everyone’s benefit. Beck contributed the guitar solo, while the rest of Dire Straits, sans Knopfler, re-recorded their parts for the Turner version.

Vanilla Fudge, Mystery (1984)
When Vanilla Fudge regrouped for their first album in 15 years, Beck was present, although for contractual reasons he is credited as J. Toad.

Mick Jagger, She’s the boss (1985) and Primitive cool (1987)
With The Rolling Stones on a hard break, Mick Jagger tapped Beck—who was twice considered for membership—as the lead guitarist of choice for his first two solo albums. He is on six tracks for She’s the boss and the entirety of its follow-upalthough he ended up not touring as part of Jagger’s solo band.

Malcolm McLaren, Walt’s darling (1989)
The one time Six guns manager and muso impresario threw a lot at the wall here, including Beck joining Bootsy Collins on “House of the Blue Danube (An Instrumental)” and Gina Ce on “Call a Wave.”

Jon Bon Jovi, Blaze of Glory (1990)
Beck is all over the place Bon Jovi‘s companion solo album to the film Young Guns IIfeaturing on seven tracks, including the chart-topping title single.

Buddy Guy, “Mustang Sally” and “Early in the Morning” (1991)
Chicago bluesman Guy was a hero to many on the British scene in the 60s, so Beck – along with Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler – were only too happy to help with Guy’s comeback album, Damn Right I’ve Got the Blues. Beck plays on Sir Mack Rice’s “Mustang Sally”, then teams up with Yardbird predecessor Clapton on “Early in the Morning”.

Roger Waters, Murdered to Death (1992)
Beck’s ringtone was a good fit for the former Pink Floyd the bassist third solo albumwho serves as lead singer, appearing on five of its tracks, including lead single “What God Wants, Pt. 1.”

Kate Bush, “You’re the One” (1993)
Bush didn’t run up the hill on her The red shoes album, but her guitar army on the album included Clapton, Prince and, on its closing track, Beck’s distinct tone.

Paul Rodgers, “Rollin’ Stone” (1993)
Beck helped another old friend, Available and Bad self singer Paul Rodgerson Muddy Waters Blues: A tribute to Muddy Watersrocks on this classic from the Waters repertoire.

ZZ Top, “Hey Mr. Millionaire” (1999)
The title of their collaboration on ZZ Top‘s XXX album likely applied to both Beck and the Little Ol’ Band From Texas’ three members. It’s, unsurprisingly, a comfortable fit, and the two acts combine again on “Rough Boy” and “Sixteen Tons” from ZZ Top’s Live: The world’s biggest hits in 2016.

The Pretenders, “Legalise Me” (1999)
Beck and PretendersChrissie Hynde made an association that led to him playing on this track from the band’s 1999 set, Viva El Amorand then joined Hynde for 2001’s “Mystery Train”. Good Rockin’ Tonight: The Legacy of Sun Recordspp. They would also periodically join each other on stage over the years.

Joe Cocker, “I (Who Have Nothing)” (2004)
Beck was part of the guest list at another British stalwart Joe Cocker‘s all-covers album Heart & Soul, plays on this English-language cover of the soulful Italian staple “Uno Dei Tanti”.

The Yardbirds, “My Blind Life” (2003)
Although he had slammed the band pretty hard at its 1992 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction for firing him, Beck was happy enough 11 years later to contribute to Birdland, a new album by a reconstituted Yardbirds led by original members Chris Dreja and Jim McCarty. Clapton also came back, while other six-stringers Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Queen‘s Brian May, SlashJeff “Skunk” Baxter and Toto‘s Steve Lukather also entered.

Imelda May, “Black Tears” (2017)
The Irish singer May was a big part of Rock ‘n’ Roll party, Beck’s 2011 live album celebrating Les Paul. He did a favor by visiting this key number from Life Love Fresh BloodMay’s fifth album.

Dion, “Can’t Start Over Again” (2020)
Wanderer’s Blues with a friends album was just that, Beck was among a great many friends – i.a Bruce Springsteen, Billy Gibbons, Van Morrison and others – help on the set.

Ozzy Osbourne, “Patient Number 9” and “A Thousand Shades” (2022)
Some of Beck’s last recordings were made for Osbourne‘s 2022 albumincluding its Grammy Award-nominated title track.

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