Jeff Beck once named the “biggest unsung hero of all time”

Jeff Beck

In the eyes of many fans, Jeff Beck is the pinnacle. The late musician undoubtedly earned his place among the Mount Rushmore of those who ever picked up a guitar. However, his personal hero was someone, Beck felt did not receive the recognition they deserved.

Throughout his illustrious career, Beck was fortunate to share the stage with a variety of his idols and guitarists who changed the perception of music. Despite his numerous accomplishments, including being asked to add his magic touch to songs by Roger Waters, Kate Bush and Tina Turner, there was one elusive figure Beck never met.

1950s rock ‘n’ roll raised Jeff Beck. His musical forefathers laid the groundwork for him to later pursue his dreams and propel the genre to unprecedented heights.

However, without the generation that came before them, there would be no Jeff Beck or Jimmy Page. In addition to being former members of The Yardbirds, both artists had a desire to pursue a career in music. Their admiration for Cliff Gallup, who rose to prominence with Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps, fueled their musical aspirations.

During the 1950s, the technical wizard stood out from his peers, and Gallup was a huge inspiration to Beck. Despite his immense talent, the guitarist stepped away from the spotlight in the 1960s. He took a regular job in the real world and turning his music into a hobby on the local band circuit in Virginia.

Unfortunately, Gallup died of a heart attack in 1988. It prevented him from enjoying a career revival and denying Beck the opportunity to express how much he valued the guitarist. Even if he was unaware, Gallup’s collaboration with Vincent had an indelible impact on a whole generation of artists who would not have achieved their goals without his guidance.

In an interview with Guitar World, Beck explained why he felt a connection to Gallup. He also wished they were in the same scene. “I was getting so depressed by ’65 because I was 10 years too late to be around the Gene Vincent, Cliff Gallup thing, and I bitterly resent that,” he told the crowd.

Beck elaborated on Gallup, saying, “He’s the biggest unsung hero of all time, and then he dies. No. He had no idea I existed. I’d be in awe of him, and he’d be sitting there, wishing he could be fishing.”

“I would have preferred to hear one syllable. His tone would have satisfied me: ‘Fu*k off’ or something. I didn’t even get that, unfortunately,” he added.

Furthermore, while discussing the song ‘Race With The Devil’ by Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps, Beck once said: “Gene’s guitarist Cliff Gallup was an absolute genius. “There isn’t another word to describe him.”

“I read an interview with him once where he claimed that he never planned out what he was going to play. The idea that he came up with the two guitar breaks on this song on the fly is incredible. “It took me months and months of practice to get anywhere near what he did,” he said.

Beck’s hours spent attempting to emulate Gallup improved his craft and proved worthwhile. Nonetheless, the Englishman regretted that he could never express his gratitude to the unsung rock revolutionary.

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