Jeff Beck Details His Two-Way Deal With Stevie Wonder
Jeff Beck recently joined BBC Radio 2’s Johnnie Walker for an interview and recalled the time he made a two-way deal with musician Stevie Wonder.
In July 1972, the Jeff Beck Group released their fourth and final studio album, ‘Jeff Beck Group.’ This album had a strong soul influence, and five of its nine tracks were covers of American artists. Among others, ‘I Got To Have A Song’ was Beck’s first of four Stevie Wonder covers.
The supergroup evolved from the Jeff Beck Group to Beck, Bogert & Appice in April 1973 and released the self-titled album. Although critics acclaimed their instrumental skills, the album wasn’t well-received, except for the cover of Stevie Wonder’s hit song ‘Superstition.’
It was apparent that Jeff Beck admired Wonder’s music, so he wanted to collaborate with the musician. Wonder also wanted Beck to play on his ‘Talking Book’ album. In the recent interview with BBC Radio 2’s Johnnie Walker, Beck recalled that they made a two-way deal that allowed him to play as a guest on ‘Talking Book’ and Wonder to write him a song.
Beck said he played his parts for the album and began playing the drum lick of ‘Superstition’ when Wonder was away for lunch. When Wonder came back, he was impressed with Beck’s drum playing. So, they began recording the song and created the demo that day. According to Beck, this was an exhilarating moment for him.
During the conversation, Jeff Beck said the following:
“It was a two-way deal that Motown had agreed with Epic to allow this to happen with me playing on as a guest on Stevie’s ‘Talking Book’ album. Then, he would write me a couple of songs to balance it out. I did my bit on his record, and then he went off for lunch. I grabbed the opportunity of sitting behind Cozy Powell’s drum kit, who was my drummer at the time.
I started playing the only lick I knew, which was the beginning of ‘Superstition.’ In came Stevie, and he shouted out, ‘Don’t stop!’ And I said, ‘Stevie, it’s Jeff. I don’t play the drums!’ He said, ‘Yes, you do!’ Then he started playing in the back. I went, ‘Oh my god, I’m just playing with Stevie Wonder!’ He stopped me in my tracks, said ‘Right,’ and jumped on the drums and did the entire drum part of ‘Superstition.'”
You can watch the interview below.