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The only two bands Jeff Beck said he liked in the 80s

Jeff Beck


The only two bands Jeff Beck said he liked in the 80s

Born in Wallington, Surrey back in 1944, the legendary guitarist Jeff Beck started his musical career at the age of 20, in 1964 and in the following decades he became one of the most influential guitar players of all time. He first achieved fame as a member of The Yardbirds and then fronting his own band The Jeff Beck Group.


He sadly passed away in 2023 at the age of 78 but had a long career and was lucky enough to see the evolution of music up-close. But he wasn’t a big fan of what happened with music in the 80s. As he said in an interview with Classic Rock in 2006, there were only two bands he liked back then.

The only two bands Jeff Beck said he liked in the 80s

ZZ Top

“The 80s weren’t my time. I liked Prince and ZZ Top’s Eliminator and that was about it. I wasn’t going to try to sell anything about me, whether it was old, new, or surreal, tomorrowland music, because it was hopeless. The whole musical playground was a joke. The record label execs were more important than the acts; even the bloody retailers were snorting coke and telling you how to play guitar. Bollocks to that,” Jeff Beck told Classic Rock.

Beck was a really good friend of the ZZ Top guys and had the chance to play with them live multiple times. Both acts also toured together more than once over the decades. The album “Eliminator”, mentioned by Jeff Beck, is ZZ Top’s most successful album. It sold an estimated amount of more than 11 million copies worldwide and had multiple hits. Some of them were “Legs”, “Gimme All Your Lovin'”, “Sharp Dressed Man” and “TV Dinners”.

Talking with Guitar World in 2014, Beck was asked about why he loved ZZ Top. He replied, saying that they went against what you would expect a Rock band to be.

“Just think about how people went for Billy’s sound and the band’s image. ZZ Top went completely against the grain of all one would expect iconic rock to be. That’s what I love about them—they are this wonderful quirky backfire.”

“Billy’s tone is great, and so are his songs. You wouldn’t really expect these bearded guys to write all these great tunes about cars and girls,” Jeff Beck said.


As mentioned by Beck, the other artist he liked in the 80s was the singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Prince. Although he started his musical career in 1975, it was in the 80s that he released his most famous albums. Some of them were “1999” (1982) and of course, “Purple Rain” (1984).

He wanted to perform with Prince at some point but that sadly never happened. He said that in an interview with Sky Arts 1 in 2013 (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage). “I love Prince, I always thought that it would be a pretty tasty sort of partnership,” Jeff Beck said.

The partnership didn’t happen but Jeff Beck performed Prince’s classic “Purple Rain” live back in 2016 with Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler. They covered the track during Beck’s special concert that celebrated the 50 years of his career. It served as a tribute to Prince, since he passed away a few months before at the age of 57.

A curious connection between the two musicians is that they had the same bass players for a while in their bands. They were Tal Wilkenfeld and Rhonda Smith.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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