Jeff Beck Group tonight. After Beck left The Yardbirds he immediately put together another band, enlisting elements from Steampacket, Creation and The Birds to form one of the most distinctive bands of the late 1960s.
It’s interesting to consider all of these members (Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood, Mickey Waller) had either worked in other bands with each other or had gained reputations as session musicians and had worked together sporadically. It speaks to the closeknit aspect of Rock history and how putting a band together like this, with this much talent in one place, was not at all unusual at the time. I’m not so sure that could happen now, but then, times and associations and the nature of performing and recording have changed so much that surely the concept of the Supergroup is far from dead.
But at the time, The Jeff Beck Group did not consider themselves to be a Super Group – most likely, because audiences, particularly American audiences weren’t as familiar with the lineage most of these artists had at the time. I mean, Steampacket were a big deal in the UK (not huge, but with a sizable audience) but were virtually unknown here. Same with The Birds and Creation.
The first time I saw The Jeff Beck Group was in 1968, doing their first U.S. tour to support the release of Truth – everybody knew who Jeff Beck was, but had only heard vague things about the rest.
Had we known what they were going to go off and accomplish with other groups only a few short years later we would have paid closer attention – but hindsight is 20/20.
But the bottom line – Jeff Beck has always been able to pick and choose who to collaborate with – he is the artist other artists want to be part of. Just think of Jeff Beck’s more recent group efforts and recruiting the likes of Tal Wilkenfeld and what a sensational bassist she is and you get the idea Beck is as vital and essential as ever.
So to get an idea of what the big deal was all about in 1968 – here is that September 1968 session for John Peel and the Top Gear program for BBC Radio 1.