His early slacker anthems and restless genre-hopping make singer-songwriter Beck an emblematic star for commitmentphobic Gen X-ers everywhere. Fortunately, that chameleonic experimentation with style is matched by a burning talent for memorable melodies and cogent lyrics, as well as a shrugging, stoner charisma. Beck, the grandson of Fluxus artist Al Hansen, got his start as part of New York City's famed anti-folk movement, which suited his scruffy, on-the-fly busker persona. The self-released, self-deprecating lo-fi folk rap song Loser, with its indelible sing-along chorus, was an almost accidental college-radio hit that made him a star, and sent the major labels into a feeding frenzy. Beck signed with Geffen Records in 1994 (and has remained with Geffen/Interscope for most of his career), and made a series of critically acclaimed albums that did well with the same MTV audiences who were going ga-ga for Pavement, Liz Phair, Sonic Youth and other alternative-turned-bigtime acts. Beck has taken some heat for being a life-long member of the controversial Scientologist religion, but does not use his celebrity status as a platform to proselytize. He married actor and fellow Scientologist Marisa Rabisi in 2004.
Followers: Grizzly Bear, Adam Green
Influenced By: Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Lou Reed, The Beach Boys, Captain Beefheart, Ween...