VIDEO: Watch US star Beth Hart's emotional and heartfelt tribute to the memory of her great friend, Sussex guitar legend Jeff Beck
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You can see the very special magic Beth and Jeff had by searching YouTube for “Jeff Beck & Beth Hart – I'd Rather Go Blind – Live 2017.” It’s a superb video. As Beth says, Jeff will always be on her mind: “He was astonishing and I don't just mean like, yeah, he was an astonishing performer. It wasn't just his talent either. It was who he was, you know, like as a person. To me of anyone Jeff Beck is the ultimate of who sets the bar on how to live because as much as he cared and loved his music, he loved his wife just as much and he loved animals just as much and nature and building and restoring those cars and the way he took care of his health and the way he treated everyone…. He was so phenomenal and loving and you'd hang out with him and it would be like hanging out with someone in the seventh grade. He'd be in his 70s but he'd have energy like someone in the seventh grade. He had that enthusiasm. And no matter who you were, it wouldn't matter. It wouldn’t matter who was in the room working with him. If you played a note, he'd go ‘Wow, that's awesome, you know.’ He was just the most beautiful guy in the world and what a massive loss for the world.”
That duet, which you can enjoy on YouTube, is a very special memory: “I was very, very lucky, very, very lucky indeed to get to even know him or even shine his shoe.
“He was kind; he was so sweet to invite me to do that (duet); I couldn't believe it and you know the weird thing is that I get nervous all the time about pretty much everything, like even going to the grocery store. I get nervous and I always get nervous before I perform. The only time in my life I never got scared to step out on stage was that night at the Kennedy Center with Jeff, and it was the weirdest thing because I remember standing there and my manager was there and my husband was there and they never get nervous or weird. But they were both very nervous. I had never seen them nervous before, but I looked at them and I went up to them and I said ‘You guys, it's OK. This isn't about us, man. This is about honouring Buddy Guy and we're playing with Jeff Beck! It's like this is a beautiful gift.’ And then they both relaxed and I wasn't scared. I just felt really grateful to be there.”
For her most recent album, Beth honoured another UK musician, by channelling the legendary voice of Robert Plant on A Tribute To Led Zeppelin.
“I didn't want to do it at first,” Beth recalls. “I turned it down. I'd been working with this producer who had made a recording for me and he had already recorded a symphony collaging Led Zeppelin music for a Broadway show that fell through. But the whole orchestration had already been recorded and he said to my manager ‘Talk to Beth and see if she would be interested in laying vocals to something that has already been done.’ I said no. I just thought it would sacrilegious and that people would hate me and then everything got shut down with the pandemic and I was watching our ex-president doing his thing every day and I just got very angry with the whole thing and I called Rob and I said to him ‘Send the recordings.’ And so I did them.”