Review: Still On The Run, The Jeff Beck Story

By Kevin Porter

Still On The Run: The Jeff Beck Story, is a documentary about the legendary and extraordinarily innovative British guitarist, now available on DVD and Blu-Ray. The movie traces Beck’s 50-plus-year career from the Yardbirds in the 1960s to his iconic solo career today, and features interviews from a who’s who of musical legends such as Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Rod Stewart, Slash, Joe Perry, David Gilmour, Ronnie Wood, Beth Hart, and Jan Hammer. Two passions of Beck’s are covered throughout the movie: his guitar and the hot rods that he lovingly builds and restores. The film is directed by Matthew Longfellow.

It’s hard to describe an eight-time Grammy Award-winner, a two-time inductee into the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame, and one who is rated #5 on Rolling Stone’s list of all-time great guitarists, as under-rated, but Beck clearly has not had the commercial success or public notoriety of some of his peers, such as Clapton and Page. Certainly, a large part of it is his mercurial switching of musical styles over short periods of time, from heavy blues-rock (Truth and Beck-ola) to jazz-fusion (Blow by Blow and Wired) to rock/electronica (You Had It Coming) to swing (Rock ‘n’ Roll Party, his tribute to Les Paul) and just about everything in between. Essentially, Beck is rock’s version of the weather in some parts of the world—if you don’t like it now, wait a little bit.

A related contributor is Beck’s detours of his musical career at times, such as leaving the Yardbirds just before the band achieved popular success, and Beck’s disbandment of the Jeff Beck Group, with Rod Stewart on vocals and Ron Wood on bass, just before the band was scheduled to play Woodstock. Still another reason is Beck’s willingness to drop out of the music business for years at a time, content to work on his cars, if he felt the music industry was not receptive to the music he wanted to make. In sum, Beck has consistently strived for artistic integrity and self-satisfaction at the expense of commercial success, something much remarked upon by several of the interviewees in the film.

Source: Rock and Blues Muse