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The Night I Accepted Jeff Beck’s Award…

jeff beck

[Gigi Shapiro has spent her professional life in the music industry, working alongside the biggest producers, promoters, and artists in the business. She has some awesome stories, which we share here in an ongoing series.]

Around 1991, I was working with New York City producer/composer/engineer Jed Leiber. Jed is the son of Jerry Leiber (of the prolific Leiber-Stoller songwriting team, who wrote huge hits for Elvis and many more). Jed happened to be working with and was great friends with Jeff Beck. And so, I got the chance to “stand in” for Beck at a major awards show: I accepted the “Gibson Guitar Award” of the year for him since he was in London at the time. He wanted someone to accept on his behalf. Jed didn’t want to do it and asked me if I would step up. So there I was on the stage at the Hard Rock as the awards were being handed out, sitting alongside B.B. King and Max Weinberg (people in the audience were probably wondering who the heck I was). I was so nervous and B.B. King noticed it. He leaned over and said, “Relax young lady- just picture everyone out in the audience naked and it will calm you down!” Then he handed me a “Lucille” guitar pin that he had in his pocket. He was so kind.

The acceptance speech (sort of) that Beck had told me to give on his behalf was, “Although I play a Strat, I accept this Gibson award. Thank you! ” Then I took the award home where it remained in my apartment for a year — until Jeff came to the states and asked for it back.

He was really nice when I told him I was about to go to London for the first time. I’d won the trip by being the “25th caller” on the contest line for New York’s legendary radio station, WPLJ. In fact, I was so skilled at working speed-dial (having had one of the first push-button phones; thanks, Mom!) that – over the years — I’d won something like 200 albums and prizes, and three trips from various local radio stations. It got to the point that, because of me, some stations initiated a rule that you could only win once a month.

Anyway, so I’d won this trip to London. Jeff personally arranged for me to get into some cool places, like the legendary “Stringfellows” and “Browns” clubs. The people at those clubs were actually expecting me and I was escorted in like I was Liza at Studio 54. That was a totally amazing experience. So thanks, Jeff Beck!

-The CS Team

Photo of Jeff Beck via Getty Images

 

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72 comments on “The Night I Accepted Jeff Beck’s Award…

  1. Avatar
    Di Dunn Thompson

    I have Loved Jeff Beck since WAY back when….my first taste of him was on the “Jeff Beck Group” album with Ice cream cakes… had me hooked right then and there…. wore it out he is amazing, and never got the recognition I thought he deserved

  2. Avatar
    Raymond G Paret

    I really enjoyed the story by Gigi ESPECIALLY since I was at that event – I had been a consultant for Gibson Guitars Artist Relations for many years – I really liked the side story about B.B. King – keep those stories coming Gigi – I know that you have so many of them!

  3. Avatar
    Gayle DePoli

    Another cool life experience to share. Let alone with Jeff Beck!

    • Avatar
      gigi205

      Gayle- you have worked with everyone -and your memory is mindboggling. Thanks for sharing your stories with me and liking this. G

  4. Avatar
    Shaun L Kelly

    I know a lot of people in the music business, but no one as better stories about the industry than Gigi. This is a gem of a tale concerning one of my favorite musical heroes – the great Jeff Beck; I can’t wait to read more from her down the road! Wow.

    • Avatar
      gigi205

      I love to read your music stories and the obscure ones are my favorite! What a great writer you are. G

  5. Avatar
    Bob Conover

    Gigi has been in the wings of so many magical moments in musical history!

  6. Avatar

    Great story, Gigi! Encore!

  7. Avatar
    Benny Landa

    Wow! This is very cool Gigi! Congrats and Jeff Rules!!

  8. Avatar

    Gigi is like a real-life Zelig!

    • Avatar
      Mark McEwen

      Great read, such a great tale. And so well written! You GO girl!
      Mark McEwen

      • Avatar

        Mark, You have seen some of the best and at the “A&E Live by Request” shows you hosted I bet you have some amazing stories.. All the best to you xx G

  9. Avatar
    Richard TBear

    Love Jeff Beck forever I got to open for him in Florida once. If they listed Gigi in the music business dictionary should be under “how can I help”. She is one of the most gracious and genuine people I’ve come across in the barbed wired world of record executives.

    • Avatar

      Thanks Richard, I have loved you and your music since I was a teenager! Your new music is fabulous – can’t wait for the world to hear it with a “who’s who” of the most talented musician playing with you on it!

  10. Avatar
    Bruce Kettelle

    Hey CS team. It took me a moment to figure out this was written by Gigi, you might include a “By” line. Love to see the way Jeff paid her back for sitting in for him.

    • Avatar
      Bob Meyrowitz

      So great to hear up close and personal stories of the great musicians of our time. Keep them coming.

  11. Avatar
    Catherine T

    I love “behind the scenes”/”brush with fame” stories and this is a great one, humanizing icons like B.B. King and Jeff Beck. I know Gigi has many more to share and can’t wait to read them. Keep them coming!

  12. Avatar

    Always great to hear Gigi’s amazing recollections, as she was at the center of rock in NYC, working for Delsener and later, Phil Ramone. I worked at Epic with Jeff, as his product manager, and to have his trust was not an easy accomplishment. Obviously, Jeff trusted her, and I have a feeling Muddy might have let her accept an award or two for him, once he met her! Cool that Jeff set her up for the club scene in London! Keep the stories coming!

    • Avatar
      gigi205

      You have been in the coolest places and worked with the best of the best! Thanks for your support! G

  13. Avatar
    Rob Hall

    Very cool story! Well written. Like to hear more.

  14. Avatar
    Tom Guerra

    What a fantastic experience Gigi! To accept an award from the greatest living guitarist is mindblowing. And that was just like B.B. to try to assuage your fears and nervousness. When a person met B.B. for the first time, he made it seem like he was HONORED to meet YOU!

    Very cool story, something to tell the grandkids.

  15. Avatar
    Tom Guerra

    *for the greatest living guitarist!

  16. Avatar
    Sally Edelstein

    Wow Gigi seems to find herself at the epicenter of the music industry. Great story and I can only imagine this is just the tip of a very cool iceberg. Look forward to reading more from Gigi.

  17. Avatar
    billy kelly

    Great story GiGi: On a tangent, it reminded me of my last night in NYC before trip to Viet Nam in 1968. Some friends treated me to a night at the Fillmore East headlining BB, Albert King and some ‘kid’, Jeff Beck. For my first night back in the USA, same pals, living in SF, took me out to Fillmore West to see Santana fresh from their Woodstock ‘gig’. I had never heard of them till then. Great book-ends to a not so great book.

  18. Avatar
    Andrew G Kent

    What an amazing “inside” story of not just the greatest Guitarist/Artist to ever live….the great Jeff Beck……but told by a super knowledgeable insider in the music biz. Gigi Shapiro personifies class, integrity and truth and does it without compromising any artist’s trust!! As an insider myself to many things…I happen to know no one lived it more then her…. Gigi has a unique take as an eye witness to musical history on a multitude of levels! Hundreds….. if not thousands of stories are yet to be told!! THAT is exciting and something to look forward to!
    Thanks Gigi..you are the best!!

    • Avatar

      AG thanks for always listening and reading and responding to all of my posts. You have an amazing history as well. And your late brother Jeff Kent was one amazing musician who is greatly missed.

  19. Avatar
    Birdi Davis

    what a fabulous story. You should write a book of memoirs.

  20. Avatar
    Laurie Lowenthal

    I could listen to Gigi’s fabulous stories for hours, and have. And I still want to hear more. She is one of the few people who knows how to talk about the titans of the music industry and rock stars as the people they really are. She must have had amazing poise and a strong sense of self, because she was able to hndle herself in every situation where most of us might have lost our bearings. She is as smart and sweet as they come, and such great storyteller. I have wanted to work with her for ages, You are lucky to have her! Now I will have to start following CultureSonar.

  21. Avatar
    Melissa

    What a great experience! I enjoy hearing “real people” interactions with celebrity. Gigi has a plethora of these and I never tire of hearing about them!

  22. Avatar
    Melissa Brunschwig

    Can’t wait for the book!! Please, more articles from Gigi Shapiro!! No one has better and cooler life stories.

  23. Avatar
    Mindy Trotta

    Your stories are always so amazing. Thanks for sharing them!

  24. Avatar
    Michael G Harrington

    Great story Gigi. Now just waiting for the one where you accepted the Fender Award for a Gibson player.

  25. Avatar
    Drew Kristofik

    Gigi is a veritable treasury of music history – more stories, please!

  26. Avatar
    Ashley McLean

    I love these “behind the scenes” tales and I bet Gigi could tell a heap!

  27. Avatar

    Fantastic. Gigi always has something interesting and insightful to say. More, please.

  28. Avatar

    Great story Gigi! Love these kind of stories and hearing about the kindness of some of these amazing folks,

  29. Avatar

    What an incredible experience. Thank you so much for sharing – the way this is written I felt like I was there. Except I would have passed out and been useless. Bravo!

  30. Avatar

    Cool story from a very cool lady!

  31. Avatar
    Kati Mac

    Wow! What a great story. How incredibly cool!

  32. Avatar
    laurie frank

    Jeff Beck may have won the award but Gigi certainly walked away with the prize. Gigi you did him proud

  33. Avatar
    Richard Cameron

    “Love this article! Gigi accepting this award for renown Jeff Beck shows he embraced her creditability, just as many of her fan base does. For those who don’t understand how this business offers opportunities that can parlay into another important journey of your career, this story proves it happens.
    As long as you are present you may receive opportunities that you are destined for. Of course Gigi was prepared. B.B. King personal moment was just icing on the cake. Moral of the story be present, be ready and life brings “Destined” opportunities as it did for Gigi. Our Broadway Global, Theatre Chat and Destined To Dance arts lovers will love this story, so I’m sharing this link to our 300,000 members to be inspired by Gigi.” Richard Cameron

  34. Avatar
    Sue Blumberg

    Love this, especially the vignette about BB King and the guitar pin.

  35. Avatar
    David Ess

    Wonderful first hand account. Please keep Gigi’s stories coming. Would love to hear how she got started in the music biz.

  36. Avatar

    MS. Shapiro Kulick has always been known for her love of music and her great ear. And it sounds right. Kulick, Beck and King just has a ring to it. COOL

  37. Avatar
    Richard Dupont

    You Rock Gigi!

  38. Avatar

    What a great experience. I remember at WLIR I met Jeff backstage once at the Nassau Coliseum and he was a very nice, almost shy soft spoken gentleman. To have spent so much quality time with him as well as accept his award for him is just an awesome experience. Looking forward to more of your music adventures! Well done!

    • Avatar
      gigi205

      Denis… I adore you and have been listening to you for as long as I can remember.. You are a great storyteller and have such a keen cool sense of what cool music is. And now I love reading your posts.. Thanks for reading this.. xg

  39. Avatar

    A night that was meant to be Gigi… Kismet!
    Who would have expected the sweet, teddy bear BB King to tranquilize you with such a hysterically vivid image?
    You Rock Gigi!

  40. Avatar
    Valerie Munz

    Gigi , my friend for decades, has the best stories ever and I am so happy she is putting them out there to share with everyone. I can’t wait to read more.

  41. Avatar
    Clayton Breazeale

    Gigi, this is so interesting and well written. I would love to go back and just be a fly on the wall. Love music and stories.

  42. Avatar
    Mike Visceglia

    Gigi’s story shows you that even though you may not be a professional musician, your love of music may lead you to unexpectedly become a part of musical history.

  43. Avatar

    Gigi is music’s answer to “Zelig.” She has rubbed elbows with the giants of the industry. Let’s hope we get to read more of her musical adventures.

  44. Avatar
    Bruce Shapiro

    Truly a wonderful and great story. As the world turns we find ourselves in amazing situations. Gigi’s love of music and kindness to others has surely taken her places above and beyond most people
    Her path in life certainly warrants more stories like these

  45. Avatar
    Lisa Safir-Barness

    Fabulous story Gigi ( as always!) I sure hope you’re writing a memoir… you are filled with these incredible stories of a magical time when the songbook of our lives was being created… just beautiful!

  46. Avatar

    Thanks so much— it really means a lot that you enjoy my stories…xxxx G

  47. Avatar

    Hey Gigi – Great story

  48. Avatar

    Personal stories like this really humanize the “stahs” and bring the past to light in a new way. Having once, as a star struck teenager, met B.B. backstage, I can reinforce your observation that the man was very kind. Thanks for this wonderful reminiscence!

  49. Avatar

    Always enjoy Gigi’s stories about the music industry. She has lived through much of the milestones that many of us have just observed from afar ! But she always viewed these stories as “how can I help” ? “Do I have a connection or relationship that I could offer this person” ? – And many of them were NOT famous, which shows her friends that Gigi treated you the same whether or not you were in fact , famous. She should be encouraged by her vast network of connections to do more writing of her experiences , nostalgic and otherwise , to share them with us mere mortals and fans of new her unique prism through which she observes the industry and her relationships within it. I’m a big fan but want her to continue telling us those stories in ever growing venues and media that we consume all over the net !

    • Avatar

      Richie- you are so thoughtful and kind to say all of those things. You have been at the center of some of the the biggest concerts and shows in music history as a Director. and I can’t wait to see what your next project is. I will never forget sitting in your living room watching a rough cut of a Who concert on a VHS tape. We have been friends and seen so much together for over 45 years. xxx Gigi

  50. Avatar
    Fred Salkind

    What an awesome experience and great story!!!!! Ya gotta love the music biz. Ya never know what’s about to happen. 🙂

  51. Avatar

    Fantastic story Gigi! What a thrill that must have been to accept Jeff’s award!

  52. Avatar

    Very cool! You write well and I am sure you have many more tales to share that are equally compelling to read. We want more!

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