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Jeff Beck - "Wired"

Jeff Beck – “Wired”

 

If you were around back in 1976 like I was you purchased Jeff Beck’s Wired because keyboardist Jan Hammer and drummer Narada Michael Walden were on it. They were already big fusion stars. Jeff Beck wasn’t. But it became very clear after a few measures of the very first tune that Beck had become fully invested in jazz-rock. For fusion fans this was a fantastic moment. A mainstream rocker had embraced fusion music and was introducing it to a much wider audience. This was something another famous rock player, Carlos Santana, couldn’t quite do. Beck, one of the world’s greatest guitarists, was still not John McLaughlin. This was a good thing for the music’s commercial potential. McLaughlin’s powerful but intricate and extended music didn’t come close to finding any radio air time. Beck’s tunes and arrangements, from Hammer, Walden, Max Middleton and others were shorter and contained more accessible hooks than Mahavishnu. So even though Beck’s inspiration was Mahavishnu, he instantly obtained radio play and easily outsold that band and anyone else playing fusion. There is not a weak cut on Wired. The album’s most enduring offering, Hammer’s head-bobbing “Blue Wind,” has remained a Beck staple ever since. Beck and Hammer had an instant affinity for each other. There is no bigger fan of the keyboardist than the guitarist Beck- who was first mesmerized by Hammer during a Mahavishnu Orchestra performance he saw in Zurich. Their collaborations were a major event in the fusion world and, on and off, continue to the present day. Wired helped make fusion safe again for the radio. But in the end even Jeff Beck couldn’t stave off the demise of the commercial viability of the first fusion wave as corporate know-nothings got their grubby little hands on the music and watered it down in a misguided attempt for greater mass appeal. Bastards!- Walter Kolosky

Jeff Beck - "Wired"

Jeff Beck – “Wired”

Released in 1976

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