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Jeff Beck's Road to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

January 14, 2009 5:45 PM ET

When he joins the class of 2009 at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cleveland on April 4th, Jeff Beck will join a short list of rockers that have entered the Hall of Fame twice: The guitarist was first inducted in 1992 as a member of the Yardbirds, and now 17 years later he'll be honored for his solo career. (Coincidentally, Beck's Yardbirds predecessor Eric Clapton is the only musician to be inducted three times: With the Yardbirds, Cream and as a solo artist.)

Beck, Rolling Stone's 14th Greatest Guitarist of All Time, was coming off a two-year hiatus when the magazine profiled him in the June 24th, 1971 issue. Working on the follow-up to his classic Beck-Ola, the rocker was embroiled in record label controversy and spending time in the studio with famed Motown producer Minnie Most. Talking with writer Andrew Bailey, Beck reminisced about the night when after a gig with the Tridents, he was approached to join the Yardbirds:

"One night we'd just done a great set when this chap comes out of the audience, smoking a cigar, and asked me if I wanted to join this group. And I said, 'Naah. Fuck off, man.' And then I thought that if I had some more money, I could do more things. Then I found out that the group was the Yardbirds. I didn't like them when I first met them. They didn't say 'Hi' or anything. They were pissed off the Eric had left, they had thought that the whole Yardbirds sound had gone. That was the impression I had got. They said, 'Can you play blues?' I said, 'Wot, slow blues? Chi-ca-go blues?' They said anything. So I honked around. They said to get rid of the echo ... you don't use an echo in Chi-ca-go blues ... yeah, that's just what they said!"

For more from this interview, including Beck on the nervous breakdown that forced him to quit the Yardbirds, playing lead guitar alongside Jimmy Page and his infamous freak-out in Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up, check out the entire profile:

Jeff Beck Is Back In Action

More Rock Hall:

Metallica, Run-DMC, Jeff Beck Lead Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Class of 2009
Photos: The Rock Hall's Class of 2009
Rolling Stone's Essential Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Coverage

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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