[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