This instrumental track was recorded in 1966 by Jeff Beck (lead guitars), Jimmy Page (12 string rhythm), John Paul Jones (bass), Keith Moon (drums) and Nicky Hopkins (piano). I had the extended version of this with backwards guitar at the end as the flip side of Beck’s single, Hi Ho Silver Lining (1967). However it is best known as a track on Beck’s album Truth (1968), minus this end bit. Here is the complete track.
The following is paraphrased from Douglas J Noble’s article written based on his interview with Beck: So how did Jimmy Page come to write ‘Beck’s Bolero’? ‘Well, with some difficulty and largely without me! ….. I went over to Jim’s house and he had this 12-string Fender and he loved the idea of using a bolero-type rhythm for a rock record. He was playing the bolero rhythm and I played the melody on top of it, but then I said, “Jim, you’ve got to break away from the bolero beat – you can’t go on like that for ever!”. So we stopped it dead in the middle of the song – like the Yardbirds would do on ‘For Your Love’ – then we stuck that riff into the middle……I was using a Les Paul for the lead guitar and for the backwards slide guitar through a Vox AC30 – it was the only amp I had and it was covered with beer! Actually, I think it was the beer that gave it it’s sound! You can hear Moon screaming in the middle of the record over the drum break. If you listen after the drum break you can only hear the cymbal afterwards ’cause he knocked the mic over! Wonderful!’
As I understand it, the track was recorded with all musicians playing at the same time, as Beck is reported to have said there was ‘leaking’ into one another’s microphones. He also suggested that there were 3 or 4 songs came out of it of which only Bolero saw the light of day and one other had a finished melody. No others were released.
Unfortunately there are no videos of the song, or photos of the session, so I have created a slide show for it. Comments are invited on this video but please no ‘my guitarist is better than your guitarist’.
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