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Mary Manley
Mary Manley
Mary Manley is a writer for Sputnik’s Washington, DC, bureau focusing on US politics, pop culture and other breaking news. Before moving to Washington, DC, Manley attended the University of Maine to study art and literary theory and criticism.

Iconic Rock Guitarist Jeff Beck Dead at 78 After Contracting Bacterial Meningitis

The rock and roll legend was well known for his guitar skills and inspired generations of musicians by transforming blues, jazz and rock and roll.

He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice, and first rose to prominence as a guitarist for the Yardbirds alongside fellow established guitarist Jimmy Page in the 1960s.
Legendary guitarist Jeff Beck died after “suddenly” contracting bacterial meningitis, representatives confirmed on Wednesday. He was 78.

His family confirmed his death on Twitter, writing: “On behalf of his family, it is with deep and profound sadness that we share the news of Jeff Beck’s passing. After suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis, he peacefully passed away yesterday. His family ask for privacy while they process this tremendous loss.”

After playing with the Yardbirds, Beck went on to front his own band named the Jeff Beck Group. He pioneered jazz-rock and experimented with fuzz and distortion effects while opening doors for heavier subgenres like psychedelic rock and heavy metal. The eight-time Grammy winner even had each of his fingers insured for £700,000.

Musicians began posting to Twitter after news of Beck’s death broke. Black Sabbath guitarist Tommy Iommi wrote that he was “shocked” to hear the “very sad” news, adding: “Jeff was such a nice person and an outstanding iconic, genius guitar player – there will never be another Jeff Beck. His playing was very special & distinctively brilliant! He will be missed.”

The rock legend was ranked fifth in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.”

“Jeff Beck is the best guitar player on the planet,” Joe Perry, the lead guitarist of Aerosmith, told The New York Times in 2010. “He is head, hands and feet above all the rest of us, with the kind of talent that appears only once every generation or two.”

Steve Hackett, the lead guitarist of Genesis, also wrote on Twitter that Beck had been a “powerful influence on myself and many others.”

Beck, who was born in 1944 in Wallington, south London, sang in a church choir as a boy before he started playing the guitar as a teenager. He then went on to replace Eric Clapton in the Yardbirds on Page’s recommendation, and left the band after 20 months.

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