My mum loved classical and jazz music. She first introduced my sister and I to the sounds of the '30s and '40s, but it was my sister's connection with a college pal that really cemented my future. She introduced me to Jimmy Page and we became inseparable. Jamming with Jimmy and then later joining him in the Yardbirds was the start of my musical journey--but I never forgot that connection I felt hearing Les play for the first time.
In the 1980's, I was asked to perform at a show in a Perkins Palace in Pasadena. Les Paul was also playing there. He later invited me up to his hotel room for English tea and cakes--which was lovely, but I was more interested in the secret prototype of the 'Les Paul' white guitar with a swan neck microphone attached to it that was in the room. He saw me looking at it!
My respect, friendship, and admiration of Les led to the Tribute Shows that Imelda and her band performed with me last June, on what would have been Les' 95th birthday. Playing at the Iridium felt like the perfect place to "salute" the legendary man who had performed there every Monday night until he passed away.
I met Imelda through her husband and guitar player, Darrel Higham. I went to see her perform one night at Ronnie Scott's club in London. Man, her voice just blew my mind. She sounds so similar to Mary Ford in her day! Imelda's style and looks reminded me of the perfect '50s girl but with a modern edge. Her husband Darrel and the rest of her band fit this style of music perfectly. We had such a great time at the Iridium over those two nights that we all decided taking this "party" on the road would be a blast. I hope everyone comes out to listen to some great tunes.
I won three Grammy® awards last week, I never saw that coming! Two of them were for Best Rock Instrumental and Best Pop Instrumental. I couldn't believe it! Someone told me afterwards that only one other person had won in both of these categories and it was Les! Isn't that something... I'm still following in his footsteps.
--Jeff Beck's 'Rock 'N' Roll Party (Honoring Les Paul)' is out this week on CD, DVD and Blu-Ray.
- Les Paul