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Jeff Beck covered a lot of stylistic ground on 2010 album "Emotion & Commotion." And his five Grammy nominations-the most for any artist in the rock field and the most for any British musician this year-reflect that diversity.
The hard-hitting "Hammerhead" is up for best rock instrumental performance, while his rendition of Puccini's opera staple "Nessun Dorma" gained a nod for best pop instrumental performance and a bluesy cover of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell on You" (with Joss Stone) is in the running for best rock performance by a duo or group with vocals. That's on top of nominations for best rock album and for best pop collaboration with vocals for his work on Herbie Hancock's cover of John Lennon's "Imagine."
"I'll give anything a shot," says Beck, whose album debuted in March at No. 11 on the Billboard 200, the former Yardbird's highest chart bow. "I always thought I had to knock down buildings. I always thought that's what people liked. And when you're young and aggressive, you want to blow down buildings. It's taken me a while to learn or to realize that as long as I impress with the delivery of the thing, people could give a shit where I'm playing. They seem to be just as happy watching me play other things. It's that great unknown that keeps everything exciting."
Out of 10 previous nominations, Beck has won five Grammys, all for best rock instrumental performance: "Escape" in 1986, "Jeff Beck's Guitar Shop With Terry Bozzio & Tony Hymas" in 1990, "Dirty Mind" in 2002, "Plan B" in 2004 and a live rendition of the Beatles' "A Day in the Life" in 2010.