With 2023 just a few weeks old, we’ve already, sadly, reported the deaths of several soul and soul connected stalwarts. Today there’s news of two more soul connected passings – JEFF BACK and DENNIS BUDIMIR – both men guitarists with very different CVs, but each impacting musical culture.
British guitar man Jerf Beck died on Tuesday 10th January. He was aged 78 and his family announced the news thus: “On behalf of his family, it is with deep and profound sadness that we share the news of Jeff Beck’s passing. After suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis, he peacefully passed away yesterday. His family asks for privacy while they process this tremendous loss.”
Beck, a two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, is one of a very few true rock icons – a guitar innovator who revolutionized how the guitar could be played. Sadly, to most he’s best known for his trite pop hit ‘Hi Ho Silver Lining’ – a song guaranteed to fill floors late at night any mainstream disco.
What many don’t know, however, is Jeff Beck’s links with Motown. Detroit mythology has it that Berry Gordy wanted to sign Beck (around the time he signed Kiki Dee) but for whatever reason it never happened. Beck himself was a big Motown fan (what serious 60s UK musician wasn’t?) and in 1970 he decamped to Detroit to record an album at the famed Snakepit at Hitsville. What was recorded was never released – again the stuff of music mythology.
In 1972 Jeff was back at Motown, invited by Stevie Wonder to work with him on ‘Talking Book’. Again myth kicks in. We read that one day the guitarist was beating out a rhythm on the Snakepit’s famed drum kit when Stevie walked in . He liked what he heard and said he’d write a song around the fill. That song was ‘Superstition’ and he gave the song to Beck to record. At that time the guitar man was working with bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice, who had played together in Vanilla Fudge and Cactus. That power trio waited a while before cutting it and in the meantime, Stevie cut his own version and the rest….
Wonder eventually gave his ‘Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers’ to Jeff Beck while the guitarist’s name can be seen on the ‘Talking Book’ credits. His playing graced “Lookin’ for Another Pure Love’.
Dennis Budimir’s name isn’t as well known as Beck’s but the Los Angeles born guitarist played on more hit records than Jeff Beck and (arguably) more than most musicians. Budimir became a professional musician in his teens working with jazz players as they passed through L.A.. After a stint in the army, jazz gigs dried up and he became a session player, becoming a key part of L.A.’s famed Wrecking Crew. He went on to work with a veritable who’s who of stars – people like Brina Wilson, George Harrison, Quincy Jones, Dusty Springfield, Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Getz , the Carpenters, the Fifth Dimension and many, many more.
Reports suggest that Dennis passed away on Tuesday 10 December, aged 84. No further details are to hand.