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Jeff Beck's quiet life in Tunbridge Wells: The low profile rockstar who brought Johnny Depp to town

Kent Live logo Kent Live 26/06/2022 Mary Harris

He's been spotted at Sainsbury's in Tunbridge Wells and he's reportedly an occasional letter writer to his local council. These might seem rather mundane activities for one of the greatest guitarists of all time.

But Jeff Beck lives quite the typical life you'd expect of other local residents - well, when he's not touring the world and taking to the stage. He famously replaced Eric Clapton as the Yardbirds’ lead guitarist in 1965 on the recommendation of Jimmy Page.

He went on to form The Jeff Beck Group, which featured Rod Stewart on vocals and Ron Wood on bass. He has appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone three times, and is often called a "guitarist's guitarist".

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He has earned wide critical acclaim and his list of awards including receiving the Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance six times and the Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music. He has also been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice: as a member of the Yardbirds in 1992 and as a solo artist in 2009.

What's also a little more rock and roll than perhaps a trip to Sainsbury's in Tunbridge Wells is his close friendship with Johnny Depp, who has joined him on his Jeff Beck Tour 2022. Mr Depp was on stage with his friend almost immediately after successfully suing his former wife Amber Heard for defamation at a trial in the USA.

And it is down to Mr Beck that Mr Depp has been showing an interest in what is going on in Tunbridge Wells or nearby. It is understood Mr Depp has been staying at Mr Beck's home in Partridges Lane in Wadhurst, East Sussex.

Documents show the last time the property was sold was 2005, so Mr Beck has been a long-term resident in Wadhurst. Mr Depp's stay sparked excitement locally but in fact the Hollywood mega star had already stayed at the sprawling country estate of Mr Beck and his wife Sandra.

It was reported in the national media last year Mr Depp, the star of films such as Fantastic Beasts and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, had been taken under the wing of Mr Beck after his divorce from Ms Heard and a previous defamation courtroom showdown in London.

The two were understood to be writing and recording together in Mr Beck's studio. But the pair were friends before then, having played together at the Crossroads Music Festival in Dallas, Texas before a short tour in the USA.

Excitement mounted when the news broke Mr Depp visited Folly Wildlife Rescue in Broadwater Forest in Tunbridge Wells, where Mr Beck is a patron. Mr Beck became a patron after he and Sandra needed the services of Folly after a fallow fawn had become caught in fencing on their property.

Hollywood star Johnny Depp was seen cuddling up to a badger at Folly Wildlife Rescue in Kent. © Folly Wildlife Rescue/Facebook Hollywood star Johnny Depp was seen cuddling up to a badger at Folly Wildlife Rescue in Kent.

Over the years, the couple of been very supportive of Folly, organising "numerous" fundraising events and actively promoting Folly's work. But this week when Folly revealed Mr Depp had become a patron of the charity, the excitement reached fever pitch.

There was speculation about whether Mr Depp would move to the area to be near his friend, particularly as he had taken on an important role at Folly Wildlife Rescue.. And with the news that not only was Mr Depp going to stay on for the remainder of the Jeff Beck Tour, but the two were going to put out an album together, it seems certain the pair will be spending plenty of time together.

Spotted by fan

A Beck fan once saw him in Sainsbury's in Tunbridge Wells when he saw an old dark blue Ford hot rod (a hot road is usually an old or classic American car which has been rebuilt or modified) parked nearby which grabbed his attention as he had seen Mr Beck on a video, washing a car like this.

Have you spotted Johnny Depp or Jeff Beck around Tunbridge Wells? Or had any other celebrity sightings? Join the conversation in the comments below.

"Next thing I see a vaguely familiar looking bloke pushing a trolley with nothing but four cartons of beer in it. I put two and two together and sure enough it was him. I was dumb struck. All I could think of saying was “I’m a big fan, what kind of car is it?” he looked at me like the idiot that I was and said ‘38 Ford” and loaded the beer in and that was it. Later on I thought of all the things I could have said and asked him then kicked myself," said the fan.

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