104 Facts About Beck


Beck rose to fame in the early 1990s with his experimental and lo-fi style, and became known for creating musical collages of wide-ranging genres.


Beck has musically encompassed folk, funk, soul, hip hop, electronic, alternative rock, country, and psychedelia.


Beck has released 14 studio albums, as well as several non-album singles and a book of sheet music.


Beck moved to New York City in 1989 and became involved in the city's anti-folk movement.


Beck released the country-influenced, twangy Mutations in 1998, and the funk-infused Midnite Vultures in 1999.


Beck is a four-time platinum artist; he has collaborated with several artists and has made several contributions to soundtracks.


Beck was born Bek David Campbell in Los Angeles on July 8,1970, the son of American visual artist Bibbe Hansen and Canadian arranger, composer, and conductor David Campbell.


Beck moved to California at age 17 and met David Campbell there.


Beck's maternal grandfather, artist Al Hansen was of Norwegian descent and was a pioneer in the avant-garde Fluxus movement.


Beck was born in a rooming house near downtown Los Angeles.


Beck was sent for a time to live with his paternal grandparents in Kansas; he later remarked that he thought "they were kind of concerned" about his "weird" home life.


Beck obtained his first guitar at 16 and became a street musician, often playing Lead Belly covers at Lafayette Park.


The first contemporary music that made a direct connection with Beck was hip hop, which he first heard on Grandmaster Flash records in the early 1980s.


When he was 17, Beck grew fascinated after hearing a Mississippi John Hurt record at a friend's house, and spent hours in his room trying to emulate Hurt's finger-picking techniques.


Shortly thereafter Beck explored blues and folk music further, discovering Woody Guthrie and Blind Willie Johnson.


Beck later said that although he felt school was important, he felt unsafe there.


Beck's brother took him to post-Beat jazz places in Echo Park and Silver Lake.


Beck hung out at Los Angeles City College perusing records, books, and old sheet music in the college's library.


Beck used a fake ID to sit in on classes there, and he befriended a literature instructor and his poet wife.


Beck worked at a string of menial jobs, including loading trucks and operating a leaf blower.


Beck began as a folk musician, switching between country blues, Delta blues, and more traditional rural folk music in his teenage years.


Beck began performing on city buses, often covering Mississippi John Hurt alongside original, sometimes improvisational compositions.


Beck was in a band called Youthless that hosted Dadaist-inspired freeform events at city coffee shops.


In 1989, Beck caught a bus to New York City with little more than $8.00 and a guitar.


Beck spent the summer attempting to find a job and a place to live with little success.


Beck eventually began to frequent Manhattan's Lower East Side and stumbled upon the tail end of the East Village's anti-folk scene's first wave.


Beck was roommates with Paleface, sleeping on his couch and attending open mic nights together.


Daunted by the prospect of another homeless New York winter, Beck returned to his home of Los Angeles in early 1991.


Back in Los Angeles, Beck began to work at a video store in the Silver Lake neighborhood, "doing things like alphabetizing the pornography section".


Beck began performing in arthouse clubs and coffeehouses such as Al's Bar and Raji's.


Beck met someone who offered to help record demos in his living room, and he began to pass cassette tapes around.


Schnapf saw Beck perform at Jabberjaw and felt he would suit their small venture.


Beck expressed a loose interest in hip hop and Rothrock introduced him to Carl Stephenson, a record producer for Rap-A-Lot Records.


In 1992, Beck visited Stephenson's home to collaborate with him.


Beck felt that "Loser" was mediocre, and only agreed to its release at Rothrock's insistence.


The drummer set fire to his cymbals; the lead guitarist "played" his guitar with the strings faced towards his body; and Beck changed the words to "Loser" so that nobody could sing along.


Odelays conception lies in an unfinished studio album Beck first embarked on following the success of "Loser", chronicling the difficult time he experienced: "There was a cycle of everyone dying around me," he recalled later.


Beck was constantly recording, and eventually put together an album of somber, orchestrated folk tunes; one that, perhaps, "could have been a commercial blockbuster along with similarly themed work by Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails and Nirvana".


Beck was introduced to the Dust Brothers, producers of the Beastie Boys' album Paul's Boutique, whose cut-and-paste, sample-heavy production suited Beck's vision of a more fun, accessible album.


The combined buzz gave Odelay a second wind, leading to an expanded fan base and additional exposure Beck enjoyed but, like several executives at Geffen, was bewildered by the success of Odelay.


Beck hired the producer Nigel Godrich, who had produced Radiohead's 1997 album OK Computer.


Beck was later awarded Best Alternative Music Performance for Mutations at the 42nd Grammy Awards.


For Beck, it was a return to the high-energy performances that had been his trademark as far back as Lollapalooza.


Beck lapsed into a period of melancholy and introspection, during which he wrote the bleak, acoustic-based tracks later found on Sea Change.


Beck sat on the songs, not wanting to talk about his personal life; he later said that he wanted to focus on music and "not really strew my baggage across the public lobby".


In 2001, Beck drifted back to the songs and called Godrich.


Beck was playful and energetic, sometimes throwing in covers of The Rolling Stones, Big Star, The Zombies and The Velvet Underground.


Guero, Beck's eighth studio album, was recorded over the span of nine months during which several significant events occurred in his life: his girlfriend, Marissa Ribisi, became pregnant; they were married; their son, Cosimo, was born; and they moved out of Silver Lake.


Beck, inspired by the Nintendocore remix scene and feeling a connection with its lo-fi, home-recording method, collaborated with artists 8-Bit and Paza on Hell Yes, an EP issued in February 2005.


Beck described the recording process as "painful", noting that he edited down songs constantly and he perhaps recorded the album three times.


In 2007, Beck released the single "Timebomb", which was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance.


Beck had known Danger Mouse casually before, as many of his former musicians ended up working with Danger Mouse's side project, Gnarls Barkley.


Beck's focus on smaller, more quixotic projects, Beck moonlighted as a producer, working with artists such as Charlotte Gainsbourg, Thurston Moore and Stephen Malkmus.


Beck collaborated with Philip Glass, Jack White, Tobacco of Black Moth Super Rainbow, Jamie Lidell, Seu Jorge, Childish Gambino, and The Lonely Island.


Song Reader, a project Beck released in December 2012, is 20 songs presented only as sheet music, in the hopes that enterprising musicians will record their own versions.


When sent a book of transcribed sheet music for that album, Beck decided to play through it and grew interested in the world before recorded sound.


Beck aimed to keep the arrangements as open as possible, to re-create the simplicity of the standards, and became preoccupied with creating only pieces that could fit within the Great American Songbook.


In 2013 Beck began playing special Song Reader concerts with a variety of guests and announced he was working on a record of Song Reader material with other musicians as well as possibly a compilation of fan versions.


Beck expected to release both albums independently, and released two standalone singles over the course of the summer: the electro ballad "Defriended" and the chorus-heavy "I Won't Be Long".


On January 20,2014, Beck released the track "Blue Moon", which was to be the lead single for his twelfth studio album, Morning Phase.


Shortly after Morning Phases Grammy wins, on June 15,2015, Beck released the first single titled "Dreams" off this upcoming thirteenth studio album.


However, no further word was heard from Beck pertaining to the release of the album.


On June 2,2016, almost a year after the initial release of "Dreams", Beck released a new single titled "Wow", along with a lyric video of the song and an announcement that his still untitled album would be released on October 21,2016.


On September 8,2017, Beck released the single "Dear Life", which was quickly followed up with the official release of "Up All Night" on September 18.


On July 18,2018, Beck performed the title track Colors, and the first single "Wow" on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.


On September 25,2022, Beck released a cover of Neil Young's track "Old Man" to promote a Sunday Night Football match.


In 1999, Beck contributed to a tribute album for Bruce Haack and Esther Nelson and their label Dimension 5 Records.


On June 20,2009, Beck announced that he was starting an experiment called Record Club, in which he and other musicians would record cover versions of entire albums in one day.


On September 4,2009, Beck announced the second Record Club album, Songs of Leonard Cohen.


On June 19,2009, Beck announced Planned Obsolescence, a weekly DJ set put together by Beck or guest DJs.


Also in 2009, Beck collaborated with Charlotte Gainsbourg on her album IRM, which was released in January 2010.


Beck wrote the music, co-wrote the lyrics, and produced and mixed the album.


Tobacco revealed that in making the album, Beck sent the vocal parts to him, and that they had never actually met.


In March 2010, Beck revealed that he had produced songs for the new Jamie Lidell album, Compass.


Beck contributed songs to the soundtrack of Edgar Wright's film Scott Pilgrim vs the World, which was released in August 2010.


Also in 2011, Beck produced a solo album by Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth called Demolished Thoughts.


Beck collaborated on two songs for Childish Gambino's "Royalty" mixtape in 2012.


In 2014, Beck collaborated with Sia for the song "Moonquake Lake", which is featured in the soundtrack for the 2014 Annie film.


In 2016, Beck collaborated with French electronic music band M83, providing vocals for the song "Time Wind" from their album Junk.


Beck collaborated with Lady Gaga on the song "Dancin' in Circles", from her 2016 album Joanne.


Also in 2016, during a pre-show for the Grammy Awards, Beck collaborated with the surviving members of the band Nirvana to play Nirvana's rendition of The Man Who Sold the World as a tribute to both David Bowie, who had died just 1 month earlier, and Kurt Cobain, the former lead singer of Nirvana.


In 2017, Beck appeared in the multiple award-winning film The American Epic Sessions, directed by Bernard MacMahon.


Beck recorded "14 Rivers, 14 Floods" backed by a full gospel choir, live onto the first electrical sound recording system from the 1920s.


In 2019, Beck worked with Jenny Lewis on the song "Do Si Do" from her album On the Line.


Beck collaborated with Cage the Elephant on the song "Night Running" from their album Social Cues.


In 2020, Beck collaborated with virtual band Gorillaz to create the song "The Valley of the Pagans" which appears on Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez.


In 2021, Beck collaborated with Paul McCartney to make his hit single "Find My Way" on the album McCartney III Imagined.


Beck has played many of the instruments in his music himself.


Beck has done some remixes for fellow artists, notably David Bowie and Bjork.


Beck has been known to synthesize several musical elements together in his music, including folk, psychedelia, electronic, country, Latin music, hip hop, funk, soul, blues, noise music, jazz, and many types of rock.


Beck has taken music from Los Angeles as a reference point in his songs.


Beck chose Winnipeg due to a family connection, as his grandfather gave their famility stability through his work as a street car conductor in Winnipeg.


Beck wrote most of the songs for the album in one week after the breakup.


Beck filed for divorce from Ribisi on February 15,2019.


Beck has described himself as both Jewish and a Scientologist, but no longer identifies as the latter.


Beck publicly acknowledged his affiliation for the first time in a New York Times Magazine interview on March 6,2005.


Beck sustained a spinal injury while filming the music video for 2005's "E-Pro".


Beck appears in Southlander, an American independent film by Steve Hanft and Ross Harris.


Beck performed a guest voice as himself on Matt Groening's animated show Futurama, in the episode "Bendin' in the Wind".


Beck performed in episode 10 of the fourth season of The Larry Sanders Show, in which the producer character Artie referred to him as a "hillbilly from outer space".


Beck made a very brief voice appearance in the 1998 cartoon feature film The Rugrats Movie, and guest-starred as himself in a 1997 episode of Space Ghost Coast to Coast titled "Edelweiss".


On January 22,2010, Beck appeared on the last episode of The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien as a backup guitarist for a Will Ferrell-led rendition of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird" alongside ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons, Ben Harper, and O'Brien himself on guitar.


On March 1,2014, Beck was the musical guest on a Saturday Night Live episode hosted by Jim Parsons.


Beck appeared as himself, in the 2017 film The Circle, giving a musical performance of the song "Dreams".