Stevie Wonder has paid tribute to guitar legend Jeff Beck, who passed away Tuesday at the age of 78.
“He was a great soul who did great music,” Wonder told the Detroit Free Press. “I’m glad that I was able to meet him and have him in my life, giving some of his gift to my music.”
Wonder and Beck met in 1972 as Wonder was recording Talking Book, the follow-up to his classic Music of the Mind. They wound up working together on some tracks.
“I really didn’t know too much about him,” Wonder said. “But then I heard him play in New York. We were working on ‘Lookin’ for Another Pure Love’ (in the studio) and I said to him, ‘Why don’t you play on this?’ He thought that would be great. He laid one part down, then another part and another part. It was just amazing.”
Wonder added, “It was just a wonderful thing, the whole deal. … It was great. He put his touch on it. It was just really cool.”
This relationship led to both Wonder and Beck recording the classic “Superstition.” In fact, it was Wonder who encouraged Beck to record the tune, which appeared on the 1973 self-titled debut of Beck’s band Beck, Bogert & Appice.
Wonder’s version wasn’t supposed to be Talking Book‘s lead single, but the label insisted, and it wound up being released before Beck’s and went on to be a huge hit. While some have suggested it caused tension in their relationship, Wonder says that’s not true. In fact, the pair came together to perform it at a 2009 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame concert.
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