Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Beck's Bolero

Jeff Beck provides this week's musical interlude with a performance of the classic "Beck's Bolero" from a 2006 show at Japan's Fuji Speedway.

One of the greatest rock instrumentals of all time, "Beck's Bolero" is credited as having been written by Jimmy Page. How'd that happen? Beck explains:

'Well, with some difficulty and largely without me! He had heard me play in the studio after hours - in those days there was a lot of naughty recording sessions going on late at night. We would do this crap single for someone in about ten minutes 'cause they didn't have enough money to pay for the studio, then we'd leave the gear set up and have some fun! I fell in love with Jim's playing 'cause we spoke the same language - we probably still do but I dunno. I think we're both still steeped in the old days. We were out to get the most out of the studio, bending the rules like using slap echo - doing all the things you weren't allowed to do on a session.

'It was decided that it would be a good idea for me to record some of my own stuff like 'The Nazz are Blue' with a view towards making a solo album - this was partly to stop me moaning about the Yardbirds. I went over to Jim's house and he had this 12-string Fender and he loved the idea of using a bolero-type rhythm for a rock record. He was playing the bolero rhythm and I played the melody on top of it, but then I said, "Jim, you've got to break away from the bolero beat - you can't go on like that for ever!". So we stopped it dead in the middle of the song - like the Yardbirds would do on 'For Your Love' - then we stuck that riff into the middle.

As a bonus, check out the first Jeff Beck Group (featuring Rod Stewart) demolishing "Shapes Of Things", the Yardbirds hit that Beck played on when he was with that group. Both tracks come from the LP Truth, which nearly 40 years later is still suitable for cranking up to maximum volume and scaring the crap out of your neighbors.