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Watch Jeff Beck’s stirring instrumental performance of the Beach Boys’ classic Caroline, No

Johnny Depp (left) and Jeff Beck
Kindred spirits: Johnny Depp (left) and Jeff Beck (Image credit: Malcolm Connolly)

Happy birthday to guitar legend Jeff Beck!

Though he is celebrating his 78th today, Beck's recent collaboration with Johnny Depp has made him feel 60 years younger.

“When Johnny and I started playing together, it really ignited our youthful spirit and creativity,” said the guitarist.

“We would joke about how we felt 18 again, so that just became the album title too.”

Speaking of his musical partnership with Beck, Depp said, “It’s an extraordinary honor to play and write music with Jeff, one of the true greats and someone I am now privileged enough to call my brother.”

Set for release in three weeks’ time, 18 (opens in new tab) comprises a host of inspired covers along with two original Depp compositions, namely This is a Song for Miss Hedy Lamarr and the aptly titled Sad Motherfuckin’ Parade.

When Beck and Depp met back in 2016, they quickly bonded over their mutual love for cars and guitars.

Building upon their unique chemistry the pair decided to embark on an album project in 2019.

Their debut appeared during the pandemic in 2020 with a well-timed release of the 1970 John Lennon solo track Isolation (opens in new tab).

I haven’t had another creative partner like him for ages

Jeff Beck

While the duo recorded a number of original compositions by Depp, they explored a plethora of covers spanning a diverse range of musical styles from Celtic to Motown.

“I haven’t had another creative partner like him for ages,” said Beck. “He was a major force on this record. 

"I just hope people will take him seriously as a musician because it’s a hard thing for some people to accept that Johnny Depp can sing rock 'n' roll.”

Jeff Beck and Johnny Depp '18' album artwork

18 is set for release on July 15 (Image credit: Rhino Records)

Suffice to say, Depp has no problem nailing such classics as The Velvet Underground’s Venus In Furs (opens in new tab), the Everly Brothers’ Let It Be Me and Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On.

On instrumental tracks such as the Beach Boys’ Caroline, No from their 1966 masterpiece, Pet Sounds (opens in new tab), Beck lets his Stratocaster do the singing.

“That entire album was great support for me in horrible times,” recalls Beck. "I’d left the Yardbirds and regretted it because I had nothing.

“I was back living with my mum and dad. I thought, right, I’m not going to sit around doing nothing. So, I bought a stereo and Pet Sounds, and I was just riveted to the spot.

“I remember it was a great big cure from losing the Yardbirds, having Jimi Hendrix stomp all over things, and losing my girlfriend. 

"All that happened in what seemed like the same day.”

Pre-order 18 here (opens in new tab).

Rod Brakes
Rod Brakes

Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar World (opens in new tab)Guitar Player (opens in new tab) and MusicRadar (opens in new tab) in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.