After the death of founding member Brian Jones Jeff Beck was approached to join The Rolling Stones. Mick Taylor had initially filled that spot but left complaining of poor treatment by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.
Beck's post-Yardbirds project, The Jeff Beck Group, originally started with Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood, although musically successful, was cementing Beck's reputation for being tempermental and difficult to work with. Stewart and Wood would finally jump ship to join The Faces. Ironically, it would be Ronnie Wood who would take the position that Beck had coveted in The Stones.
The Jeff Beck Group would go on to cycle through impressive line-ups featuring some of the best musicians in the UK. This project allowed Beck the freedom to experiment, to surround himself with other creative artists, to grow at his own pace musically. During his career Beck has been credited with creating the sounds that would become psychedelic rock and heavy metal. He has won five Grammy awards.
At the same time that Beck was becoming renowned for musical combat, Eric Clapton was entering a period of personal turbulence that would prove to intensify his reputation as both an incomparable guitarist and a deeply troubled, often self-destructive, man. If there were a grave marker at the end of each of Clapton's musical phases and I could write the epitaph, this period would read Broken on the wheel, I climbed their corpses to reach the Gods.
This period would see Clapton vilified for rumors of his mistreatment of Brian Jones just prior to his death. Even as his place as a world renowned musician was secured, his reputation for erratic behavior was growing. He was facing down the dual demons of heroin and alcohol addiction and the implosion of Cream. When his next effort, Blind Faith, failed to rise above mediocrity, Clapton took off for the U.S. He worked on the studio sessions known as Music From Free Creek, as did Jeff Beck, although they managed to avoid one another during recording.
It was also during this period that Clapton was introduced to Jimi Hendrix. As much as he had been critical of Jeff Beck and Brian Jones' musical experimentation, he embraced Hendrix's reverb and feedback-laced acid rock. The fact that Jimi Hendrix was the only guitarist at the time to usurp Clapton's place as the world's greatest guitarist might also have made Clapton more tolerant towards his musical bastardizations.