Artist and Musician Biographies


Here is a YouTube Mix of music by Beck.

The 1990s saw an entirely new integration of styles never before heard in rock music. One such artist who combined an almost countless array of genres and who defies classification is Beck. The son of a blues musician (David Campell) and former Andy Warhol superstar, Bibbe Hanson, Beck Hansen was born in 1970, in Los Angeles.

A singer, songwriter and guitar player, Beck started his career with the breakthrough X-generation anthem "Looser" in 1993. His work combines Rap, Funk, jazz, sampling, vocal distortion, psychedelic, techno, blues, and rock into a multitude of sound effects and layers of styles. The overall effect of this transcends eclectic into something that is quite original.

In 1996, Beck released the album titled "Odelay", which gained both critical acclaim and commercial success. "Odelay" was listed as album of the year in most major critical polls, and received a Grammy Nomination for Album of the Year.

One of the few artists to successfully go beyond stylistic boundaries, Beck has carved out a unique style that is danceable, yet reminiscent of the mellow groove of bands such as Led Zeppelin. His lyrics are quirky and often nonsensical, yet his ability to produce albums that combine such unrelated styles as folk and funk put him in a category that is almost indecipherable. His music and lyrics are sexy yet ambiguous, addressing a new music order that dictates nonspecifically.

The instrumentation that slyly recalls the sound experimentation of John Cage is perhaps no coincidence in consideration of the fact that his grandfather is one of the founding members of the visual art movement Fluxus that included such artists as Joseph Beuys. Certainly it is undeniable that this familiar influence was rooted in the early performance and conceptual works of artists who themselves created a new definition of art through their avant-garde experimentation.

His music has a multitude of rough edges, yet is produced to polished marble sheen. Although it often seems random, it is direct and hits the mark of 1990s music that blurs all boundaries of classification. After his debut release Mellow Gold, critics considered him as a one hit wonder band, although after four albums Beck has proven his ability to remain on the cutting edge of alternative music. See a recent discography of Beck's recordings.

Page author: A.E.