Jeff Beck hopes to make a 'Commotion' at Grammys

Updated: 2011-02-12 09:33


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Jeff Beck hopes to make a 'Commotion' at Grammys

If all goes well on Sunday, Jeff Beck could double his Grammy collection to 10.

The British rock guitarist's latest album "Emotion & Commotion" will compete in four categories, and he also picked up a nod for his work on a Herbie Hancock project.

Beck, a somewhat reclusive type once described as "the lone-cat gunslinger supreme" by Mojo magazine, will temporarily bury his disdain for awards shows and show up at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards ceremonies in Los Angeles on Sunday.

"I'm pretty much a hypocrite because I've been throwing abuse and other various objects at the screens of various functions like the Grammys and the Golden Globes and the Oscars," he told Reuters in an interview.

"But with five (nominations), I thought I'd better put in an appearance."

The 66-year-old musician, who stands alongside Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page as one of most influential living guitarists in rock, will also perform a Ray Charles song at a related music-industry tribute to Barbra Streisand on Friday.

Beck's "Emotion & Commotion" will compete for best rock album, a tough field including Muse, Pearl Jam, Neil Young and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Two of its tracks, the popular aria "Nessun Dorma" and the original tune "Hammerhead," are in separate instrumental categories. A third, a cover of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell On You" featuring Joss Stone, is a contender for rock vocal performance by a duo or group.

The album generated a Grammy for Beck last year when he won for his instrumental cover of "A Day in the Life."

Another Beatle-related track, a seven-minute all-star cover of John Lennon's "Imagine" for Hancock's "The Imagine Project," rounds out Beck's 2011 Grammy quota.

His first release in seven years, "Emotion & Commotion," was a deliberate attempt to return to the mainstream after a trio of albums he now dismisses as "Planet Zork music."

"Who Else" (1999), "You Had It Coming" (2001) and "Jeff" (2003) consisted of unfinished songs full of esoteric, house and hard-edged techno grooves. Traditional verse-chorus-verse structures, melodies and hooks were left by the wayside.

Beck, who blames himself for his irresponsibility, retreated to his 16th century farm house and his collection of hot rods in southern England, and eventually realized he'd better make another album to pay his bills.

Clocking in at an economical 40 minutes, "Emotion & Commotion" mixes a few originals with a wide selection of covers. Besides Stone, other guest vocalists include jazz singer Imelda May and opera singer Olivia Safe.

It has sold 94,000 copies in the United States, up from 65,000 for "Jeff" and on par with "You Had it Coming," according to Nielsen SoundScan. "Who Else?" sold 129,000 copies, but that came out just before the music industry started collapsing.

Beck hopes some additional Grammy success will renew interest in "Emotion & Commotion" especially as he tours to promote both that album and an upcoming CD and DVD tribute to guitar icon Les Paul.

"From what I understand the people that have heard it and have got bitten after a few plays, they just love it. So if they love it, perhaps we should push it a little bit harder to get a few more people to enjoy it," he said.


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