We here at Ear of Newt have, for quite some time now, purported that Jeff Beck is the world’s greatest living rock guitarist.
But the British axe master has recorded so many unbelievable tracks that it’s pretty near impossible to choose the most memorable one.
That’s why it’s cool that guitarworld.com posted a story today that includes Beck himself choosing the song he’d most want to be remembered by. Turns out it’s “Where Were You”, a tune off his 1989 Guitar Shop album.
“This is probably the best thing I ever wrote,” says Beck, “and it’s a milestone in my playing. It’s where I began to forge a unique new style. The key thing was discovering how I could use bent harmonics.
“That’s basically taking false harmonics and, by bending the whammy bar, constructing melodies and tunes with it—which is something I took even farther on my last album, You Had It Coming. The inspiration for ‘Where Were You’ was the Bulgarian female choir record Mystere des Voix Bulgares. It’s so astonishing when you hear it—it’s like a religious experience.
“When these women all hit a note together, it’s the most amazing sound you’ve ever heard. They sing these kind of broken scales with quarter-tone intervals. It’s extremely emotional music. I realized this was another tonal palette I could experiment with, because the guitar is capable of doing that, particularly with bent harmonics and the whammy bar.”
As much as we love “Where Were You”, and Guitar Shop as a whole, we’ve got a feeling that maybe Beck should reconsider. I mean, is he totally sure he doesn’t want to be most remembered for this?