When it comes to 1960s guitar heroes, Jeff Beck is often omitted. Nevertheless, to his peers Beck remains a key figure in British music; in many ways he is the guitarist’s guitarist. Finally telling his story to seasoned rock biographer Martin Power, no stone is left unturned in the course of Hot Wired Guitar’s 500-plus pages and Beck’s five decades in music.
Power doesn’t particularly show any writing flair, and his workmanlike prose is the only real weak point here. The few times that he attempts to make a joke or turn a phrase are truly cringe-worthy. But he makes up for this lack of penmanship with an attention to detail bordering on the insane. Beck himself is, of course, quoted extensively throughout and his story nuggets lend the story much needed authenticity.
His Brian May-esque trials and tribulations with attempting to build his own guitar in the 1950s are a highlight, not least when one such contraption emerged with a neck Beck describes as being four times too long. But it’s the contributions from those involved in his story that make this book a must-have for fans of Beck, with everybody from The Who’s Pete Townsend to Mike Jopp of Beck’s early band The Tridents dropping by to lend a soundbite.
Even with a biography to his name, Beck seems destined to remain overlooked, but while his story may not be a catalogue of debauchery like The Dirt, the faithful couldn’t ask for more from Hot Wired Guitar.