Remember this Donny Osmond cameo in the video for a Nile Rodgers-penned Jeff Beck track?

16 January 2023, 12:19 | Updated: 5 October 2023, 13:06

Donny Osmond wrote "I’ll always be grateful to Jeff" after the guitar legend passed away.
Donny Osmond wrote "I’ll always be grateful to Jeff" after the guitar legend passed away. Picture: Epic/CBS

By Thomas Curtis-Horsfall

The outpouring of tributes from the music world said it all.

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Jeff Beck sadly passed away at the age of 78 on 10th January 2023 after suddenly contracting bacterial meningitis, which came as a huge shock even to those that knew him.

After news of his passing was announced, the sheer volume of praise from his peers and pupils was a testament to the guitar's influence and ability in the realm of rock music.

Tributes came from the likes of Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, Queen's Brian May and Roger Taylor, Brian Wilson, Ronnie Wood, Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart and Black Sabbath's Ozzy Osbourne and Tony Iommi, all titans of rock music themselves.

They were all quick to send their condolences alongside tales of the time they'd spent playing and performing with the guitar icon.

Billy Joel took it one step further by covering 'People Get Ready' and 'Going Down' at his recent Madison Square Garden concert to pay his respects to "the great virtuoso guitarist."

Jeff Beck's legacy as a guitar player is undoubted, but the range of artists he affected throughout his career was enormous.

One touching tribute which was particularly surprising came from Donny Osmond, because of the chance that Beck gave the 'Puppy Love' singer during a difficult period in his career.

Donny tweeted: "I am saddened by the news of Jeff Beck’s passing. Here’s a clip of a video I did with him in ‘85."

"It was this video that really paved the way for the success of my hit, Soldier of Love. I’ll always be grateful to Jeff for that opportunity. RIP, my friend."

Though it may've been forgotten by many, Jeff Beck offered Donny the chance to feature in a cameo role in the music video for his 1985 hit 'Ambitious'.

The Osmond brother had faded into obscurity somewhat during the 1980s after his initial childhood stardom.

But after Jeff handed out an opportunity for him to star alongside other various celebrities of the time, it made Donny 'cool' again.

Starring in the opening gag of the music video trying to land a major audition, 'Ambitious' got a lot of airplay on MTV and thrust Donny back into the spotlight.

Jeff Beck Ambitious(1985 music video)

Being deemed cool to a new, young audience via association with guitar-slinging rock 'n' roll star Jeff Beck, it gave Donny the impetus to start writing new material which resulted in his comeback hit, 'Soldier Of Love'.

Released a few years later in 1988, 'Soldier Of Love' eventually reached No.2 in the Billboard Charts and was one of Donny's most successful ever singles.

Even as he tried to get the track released, his management had to create a "mystery artist" promotion around the song as that were concerned people would judge and dismiss it knowing it was a Donny Osmond song.

As it happens, 'Soldier Of Love' was hugely successful and took Donny back to the top of the charts.

1985 album Flash won Jeff Beck the first of his multiple Grammy Awards.
1985 album Flash won Jeff Beck the first of his multiple Grammy Awards. Picture: Epic/CBS

'Ambitious' was the first track to be released from Jeff Beck's 1985 album Flash, and saw the legendary guitarist venture into more commercial musical territory.

Renowned for being a daring and experimental musician, Beck handed Chic superstar Nile Rodgers the task of writing dance-rock hits that could break into the mainstream.

Aside from penning 'Ambitious', Rodgers also wrote two other songs on Flash which featured contributions from Beck's pals like Rod Stewart and Miami Vice composer Jan Hammer.

Two of the album's singles charted - firstly the reunion with Rod (from the Jeff Beck Group) on the Curtis Mayfield cover 'People Get Ready', and secondly 'Gets Us All in the End'.

Flash was well-received and saw Jeff Beck win a Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance the following year, which was to be Beck's first of many such awards.

However, Jeff Beck later dismissed Flash as a "record company goof" and "a very sad sort of time" for him despite its success.

Though Beck wasn't particularly glowing about his dance rock days, Donny Osmond evidently holds 'Ambitious' close to his heart as it gave the former child star an opportunity to reinvent his career.

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