Beck is not only one of those artists who has stood the test of time with a career that spans over two decades, but he’s also evolved at each stop along the way.
From the early days where he experimented with lo-fi alt-rock and hip-hop lyrics to the present where he’s moved closer toward the folk route, Beck has a body of work that transcends genres. With 12 albums under his belt, including ‘Morning Phase’ released this year, the Los Angeles singer-songwriter has dropped hits like ‘Where It’s At,’ ‘Loser’ and ‘E-Pro,’ and has gone multi-Platinum — a feat that seems to be near impossible nowadays.
Aside from his own music career, Beck has been known to work with other artists that run the gamut, from Stephen Malkmus and Thurston Moore to the Lonely Island and Childish Gambino. He’s also contributed to various films, TV shows and even a video game. With such a repertoire and success, you may think that you know everything there is to know about the ‘Waves’ artist. However, there might be a few facts that you may have missed when you trolled through his Wikipedia page.
Don’t worry, Diffuser has got you covered. Here are 14 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Beck:
Born Bek David Campbell in Los Angeles, Beck’s parents were both artists in their own right. His dad was a composer, arranger and conductor while his mom was an actress, musician and involved in the Andy Warhol Factory.
Although Beck is a practicing Scientologist, his mother’s side is Jewish and he practiced some traditions as a child. In an interview with the zine, Plotz, he said Passover was always memorable. “[It was] the first time I ever got drunk. I have fond memories. We had pretty rowdy Passovers because my mom would invite all her non-Jewish friends over, and they brought a party atmosphere with them. There’s serious parts at Passover, but there’s celebratory parts too – hiding the Matzoh. I used one of the prayers from Passover in a song I did on a Christmas jam. It was a Hannukah interpretation of ‘The Little Drummer Boy.’”
Beck and his dad, David Campbell, have been working on music together for years. Since ‘Odelay,’ David is steadily credited with handling his son’s the string arrangements.
When Beck performed ‘Nausea’ on the ‘Late Show With David Letterman’ in 2006, he brought Borat, who played the Berimbau, a Brazilian instrument, as a special addition to the band.
If you thought his onstage collab with Borat was funny, Beck shows off his humor by interviewing Will Ferrell as part of his series of chats, ‘Irrelevant Topics.’ Beck and Ferrell’s chemistry was so entertaining that Beck also invited him onstage during a performance of ‘Lost Cause’ at an L.A. benefit.
In 2009, Beck started the Record Club, a project where he would cover and record an entire album in one day. ‘The Velvet Underground & Nico’ is the first album he covered along with Nigel Godrich, Joey Waronker and his brother-in-law, actor Giovanni Ribisi.
Beck has contributed songs to films like ‘The Twilight Saga: Eclipse’ and ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,’ but he showed that he could move over to another medium when he recorded three songs for ‘Sound Scapes’ — a video for Sony Playstation platforms.
Beck was one of the faces for Yves Saint Laurent’s spring 2013 collection.
Beck has produced albums for Stephen Malkmus, Thurston Moore and Charlotte Gainsbourg. But perhaps one of the more ecclectic collborations he’s done was ‘Attracted to Us’ for the Lonely Island’s 2011 album, ‘Turtleneck & Chain.’
Beck isn’t just a “two-turntables-and-a-microphone” kind of guy. In 2013, he and over 160 musicians recreated David Bowie’s ‘Sound and Vision’ — proving that not even a behemoth orchestra can overpower him.
Beck likes to turn his shows into family affairs and has invited his kids onstage — like the time his son, Cosimo, danced with his dad during ‘E-Pro’ at a show in 2012 in Santa Barbara, California.
Beck broke the barriers between hip-hop and alt-rock with ‘Loser.’ And although he’s gone the folkier route these days, he proved he’s still got some spitting skills by lending a verse on Childish Gambino’s track, ‘Silk Pillow.’
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