Jeff Beck, 'The Motown Album' (1970)
Jeff Beck stands as one of the few British rockers to record in Detroit's hallowed Hitsville U.S.A. studio. "It was one of the last sessions there," Beck told Rolling Stone's David Fricke in 2010. "We were more like tourists, kids in a candy shop."
Pairing Beck's guitar with Motown session men the Funk Brothers sounds brilliant, but the collaboration got off to a bumpy start when Beck brought his own drummer, Cozy Powell. "What the hell was I doing taking a rock drummer ... into Motown?" he wondered in later years. "They hated us right away. They didn't want to know."
Ultimately this union between funk and rock never jelled. "I wanted to make a band that understood the Motown feel, then give it more oomph. But at Motown, we got further and further away from the rock part, because they didn't understand that." Costs began to mount, and eventually the Brits headed home in defeat. "It was a total missed opportunity, a catalogue of disasters."
Beck claims that 10 tracks were recorded – some penned by Holland-Dozier-Holland, the songwriting team behind Motown's greatest hits. Is there a lost smash in the mix? Only Beck knows. "I made one copy onto cassette. That's all there is."
In a happier coda, Beck returned to the Motown fold in 1972 to guest on Stevie Wonder's Talking Book. The pair jammed between takes, eventually forming the basis for the song "Superstition."