A Minute With: Jeff Beck revisits rock's glory days

Wed Mar 9, 2011 7:15am EST
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By Dean Goodman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Jeff Beck is partying like it's 1959.

The British guitar icon, fresh from his three Grammy wins (one more than Eminem and Justin Bieber combined), is hitting the concert circuit later this month to promote a new CD and DVD tribute to rock 'n' roll pioneer Les Paul.

"Rock 'N' Roll Party" is a live recording of a show that Beck headlined last year at the Iridium, a New York jazz club where Paul played every Monday for 14 years before his death in 2009, aged 94.

With Irish rockabilly singer Imelda May handling most of the vocals, Beck led a band that dusted off old '50 hits popularized by Paul and his partner Mary Ford, including "How High the Moon" and "Vaya Con Dios." They also performed other popular songs from the era like Eddie Cochran's "Twenty Flight Rock" and the Shadows' instrumental "Apache."

The theater tour begins March 24 in Washington, D.C. Beck spoke to Reuters about early rock music and Les Paul.

Q: There's obviously a retro sound to the album. Do you subscribe to George Harrison's somewhat self-deprecating belief that rock 'n' roll started going downhill in about 1962?

A: "There's some truth in that. Apart from Jimi Hendrix and some Motown and some Stax, and the British pop scene, I've got a problem with that. I've got a big problem."

Q: Why is that?   Continued...

<p>Musician Jeff Beck accepts his award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California February 13, 2011. REUTERS/Lucy</p>