Top 10 Jeff Beck Songs

Like his Yardbirds bandmate Eric Clapton, the late Jeff Beck had a long, varied career playing the roles of sideman, band member and group leader.

Unlike Clapton, Beck usually recorded more than one album with his various projects. His best work could typically be found under his own name. Once he left the Yardbirds, Beck and his guitar remained the star of the show, even when he recruited pals like Keith Moon, Rod Stewart and Ron Wood to play on his records.

In addition to showcasing some of the greatest fretwork ever recorded, our list of the Top 10 Jeff Beck Songs often features rock’s biggest and most important names.

  • 10

    ‘I Can’t Give Back the Love I Feel for You’

    The Jeff Beck Group

    From: ‘Jeff Beck Group’ (1972)

    Beck recorded his fourth album in Memphis with producer Steve Cropper, the great session guitarist who played on so many of the terrific R&B singles that came out on Stax Records in the ’60s. Jeff Beck Group is one of his most soulful, and this instrumental cover of a song penned by Ashford & Simpson is a sweet highlight.

  • 9

    ‘Going Down’

    The Jeff Beck Group

    From: ‘Jeff Beck Group’ (1972)

    Memphis musician Don Nix played sax in the Mar-Keys with Jeff Beck Group producer Steve Cropper. He also wrote “Going Down” in the late ’60s. Since then, everyone from bluesman Freddie King to the Who and Led Zeppelin to Pearl Jam has played it. Beck’s version features a tame vocal by his singer Bobby Tench, but the searing guitar solo soars.

  • 7

    “Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers’

    Jeff Beck

    From: ‘Blow by Blow’ (1975)

    Along with its cover of the Beatles’ “She’s a Woman” (see No. 9 on our list of the Top 10 Jeff Beck Songs), Beck’s 1975 album also included a pair of cuts penned by Stevie Wonder. The best is this moody, brooding ballad that builds over nearly six minutes to one of the guitarist’s most lyrical and celebrated solos. Blow by Blow reached No. 4, Beck’s all-time best.

  • 6

    ‘Goodbye Pork Pie Hat’

    Jeff Beck

    From: ‘Wired’ (1976)

    Beck followed up 1975’s Blow by Blow (see No. 9 on our list of the Top 10 Jeff Beck Songs) with another record produced, at least partially, by George Martin. But unlike its predecessor, Wired is more of a jazz-fusion outing than a bluesy-jam excursion. The highlight is Charles Mingus’ jazz standard, one of Beck’s most subtle and impassioned recordings.

  • 5

    ‘Freeway Jam’

    Jeff Beck

    From: ‘Blow by Blow’ (1975)

    “Freeway Jam” was one of Beck’s most popular songs, and for good reason: The solo he fired off was one of his very best. The song was written by Max Middleton, the keyboardist Beck worked with in the Jeff Beck Group as well as on his first two solo albums, Blow by Blow and Wired. It’s a grand instrumental showcase for the LP’s core quartet.

  • 4

    ‘I Ain’t Superstitious’

    The Jeff Beck Group

    From: ‘Truth’ (1968)

    Willie Dixon’s classic was originally recorded by legendary bluesman Howlin’ Wolf in 1961. But it’s Beck version with the Jeff Beck Group – including Rod Stewart on vocals and Ron Wood on bass – that stung the hardest. Everyone played to win, especially Stewart, who delivered one of his best-ever performances. But no doubt about it: The song belonged to Beck, whose piercing guitar stabbed at every single line.

  • 3

    ‘Beck’s Bolero’

    The Jeff Beck Group

    From: ‘Truth’ (1968)

    First of all, there’s the band playing on Beck’s first solo single, which was recorded while he was still in the Yardbirds: Keith Moon on drums, John Paul Jones on bass and Jimmy Page, who wrote the song, on 12-string guitar. Then there’s the song itself, a three-minute, three-part instrumental based on Ravel’s classical-music piece that’s loaded with guitar effects: slides, dual solos, distortion and a hyper-drive ending that barely catches its breath before swinging back to its original inspiration. Guitar heroism begins right here.

  • 2

    ‘Happenings Ten Years Time Ago’

    The Yardbirds

    From: 1966 single

    Beck and Page played on only a handful of Yardbirds songs together. This was the first, a Top 30 hit with a chugging guitar riff. “Happenings Ten Years Time Ago” is also notable for featuring one of Beck’s few vocals on record. He’s the voice behind the mumbled spoken section that carries on during the fuzzy guitar solo.

  • 1

    ‘Heart Full of Soul’

    The Yardbirds

    From: 1965 single

    The Yardbirds’ second Top 10 hit (their first, “For Your Love,” was released a few months before and featured Eric Clapton on guitar) marked one of Beck’s early career highlights. He not only mimicked a sitar during the familiar riff that rings throughout the song, he also busted out one of the first distortion-heavy solos ever recorded.


Author: showrunner