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Jeff Beck Says ‘There’s Something Not Quite Right’ with Brian Wilson

Kevin Winter, Getty images

Jeff Beck says he was more than a little surprised to learn that his version of ‘Danny Boy’ will be appearing on Brian Wilson‘s forthcoming solo album. After all, Beck says he’d only been idly playing the standard in the first place, not putting down a finished take.

“Well, that’s a bit naughty,” Beck tells Rolling Stone. “I had just noodled ‘Danny Boy’ at the end of a session, tuning. It was one of the few times when Brian actually looked at me, during the four-day session. [Laughs.] He said, ‘That’s the most beautiful song ever.’ And he spoke to me quite normally. He said that was the first song his mother played him. He never forgot it. And they left that version, which is a bit ragged. I didn’t pay much attention to perfection in it.”

That wasn’t the only odd thing that happened over the course of their time together.

Beck, who’s sharing stages this summer with ZZ Top, says promoters were more interested in hustling him out for planned 2013 tour with Wilson than in getting a finished collaborative recording. “The whole album is a bit of a mishmash,” he adds. “It was just weird the way they truncated the sessions in order to get me on the road with him. After I’d done the four days, instead of mixing and completing the album, they booked the tour. So there wasn’t any real fresh product to put into the show. The whole thing was a bit of a disaster, really.”

As for how they got along, Beck confirms that “Brian never said a word. It was the most bizarre thing. I don’t know what’s going on with Brian, but perhaps it’s best left alone, not mention too much about that. Perhaps he’s so cool, he never speaks to anybody. [Laughs.]”

Beck later spent five weeks on the road with Wilson, only to run into him at a favorite deli — one that the former Beach Boys star frequents several times a day. “Sure enough,” Beck says, “within five minutes, he walked in. And on the way out, I said, ‘Hello, Brian,’ he said, ‘Hi!’ And he walked straight past me. [Laughs.] It was like I never existed, we had never toured for five weeks. There’s something not quite right.”

Next: Top 10 Jeff Beck Songs

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