It could be argued that musical talent might seem a pretty common trait to possess since there are hundreds of successful acts worldwide. Each of these talented musicians might bring something new to the table, produce catchy melodies and enjoy major commercial successes. Yet, it could be said that leaving a mark on the rock scene requires more than just talent.
For Justin Hawkins, it was Eddie Van Halen whose guitar riffs could never be surpassed. He was a natural when it came to playing guitar, but in Hawkins’ eyes, his talent wasn’t the only element that made him a legend. Justin remarked that Eddie wasn’t just an ordinary guitarist since he would invent new sounds and tricks and perform with a unique approach.
Jimi Hendrix was among the few innovative rockers who managed to become cult figures in rock history. The musician is remembered for his approach to the guitar, as he had discovered new elements with the instrument. Jimi’s role in shaping the modern guitar sound is one of the primary reasons why he’s now considered a legend.
Jeff Beck also admired Hendrix’s innovative approach to guitar and admitted that a talent like Jimi’s was rare to find. Yet, he was able to name one fellow musician as the ‘closest thing to Hendrix.’ This musician surely had impressed Beck with their talent, so let’s check out who it was.
Which Musician Did Jeff Beck Consider An Equal To Jimi Hendrix?
Jeff Beck had his fair share of collaborations, from the Yardbirds to the Jeff Beck Group, but he has also teamed up with various acts as a solo guitarist. With a long career and an impressive list of collaborations, Beck has witnessed many successful musicians’ talents and shows.
In 2021, he recalled some of his personal relationships and collaborations with fellow artists to Classic Rock Magazine. Beck recollected the memories he shared with various musicians, from Jimmy Page to Ronnie Wood. Yet, when he had to name the ‘closest thing’ to Jimi Hendrix, he didn’t mention any of these talented musicians; Beck was thinking about someone else.
His pick was Stevie Ray Vaughan. When discussing Vaughan, the guitarist also recalled his initial meeting with the late musician. Jeff stated that they had met for the first time in Hawaii in 1981 during a CBS convention. Vaughan seemed a bit shabby. He was eating a KFC out of a box, and Beck joked that he ate the box as well.
A few years later, in 1989, the pair hit the road for a national tour. Jeff noted they were on the road for three months when Vaughan’s tragic fate unfolded. The musician was offered to travel with a helicopter, and even though he didn’t want to get into the vehicle, people around him managed to talk Stevie into it.
Beck stated that Vaughan was told that Eric Clapton also just got a helicopter as he was encouraged to travel with it. Unfortunately, the musician wouldn’t survive the ride, as Vaughan’s helicopter crashed in 1990. As he recalled these sad memories, Beck went on to appreciate the late musician’s talent while calling him the closest thing to Jimi Hendrix when it came to playing blues.
Jeff Beck on Stevie Ray Vaughan, their initial meeting, tour, and his talent:
“I met him at a CBS convention in Hawaii in 1981. He was a little worse for wear. He was eating KFC out of a box and then ate the box as well. We went on the road together in ’89. We were on the road for about three months. And then the tragic story was when he went in that helicopter he didn’t want to get on it.
The people around him talked him into it by saying, ‘Look Eric Clapton has just got on one.’ So off he went and never came back. I think Stevie Ray was the closest thing to Hendrix when it came to playing the blues.”
Stevie Ray Vaughan had an unfortunate end, just like Jimi Hendrix, but their tragedies weren’t the only common trait in their story. For Jeff Beck, the musician had a unique talent in guitar playing. Out of all musicians he had worked with, Beck named Vaughan as the closest talent to Hendrix.