Four years ago, Jimmy Page inducted his former Yardbirds bandmate Jeff Beck into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist. The Led Zeppelin guitarist spoke very warmly about Beck’s brilliant career. “We go back to our very early teens,” he said. “He leaves us mere mortal just wondering and having so much respect for him. Jeff’s whole guitar style is totally unorthodox to the way that anyone was taught. He’s developed a whole style of expanding the electric guitar with sounds and techniques that were totally unheard before.”
Prior to that, the old friends last appeared together at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame when the Yardbirds were inducted in 1992. Beck’s speech that night was only 15 seconds long. “I have done other music after the Yardbirds,” he said. “Someone told me I should be proud tonight, but I’m not. They kicked me out. They did. Fuck them.” The speech was tongue-in-cheek, though the band did actually throw him out in the summer of 1966, and he wasn’t laughing back then.
Beck took the honor slightly more seriously in 2009. “I’ve been naughty all my life and I don’t deserve this at all,” the guitarist said. “I shall continue to be naughty, I think . . . There’s so many people that have helped me, and I’d like to extend a huge thanks to them, and a huge thanks to those that didn’t.” With that, he raised his middle finger and ran it through his hair.
Beck then joined his band for a short set that culminated with his 1967 single “Beck’s Bolero.” Page played guitar on the original, and he came back out to play it with Beck for the first time in decades. During rehearsal they stuck to “Beck’s Bolero,” but shortly before going onstage they decided to throw a bit of Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” into the middle of the tune. “It felt like a chunk of the Yardbirds, a chunk of Zeppelin, a chunk of me,” Beck said backstage.
He also told Rolling Stone that he’d love to tour with Page someday, but it has yet to happen. It’s a pretty great idea. This performance shows the former bandmates have a pretty great chemistry. It wouldn’t be an arena act, but it could easily pack large theaters all across the country. Also, Jimmy Page hasn’t hit the road in many years. It’s time he got back out there.