Mark Knopfler’s new charity single features Jeff Beck’s last-ever recording – and sees licks from over 60 guitar heroes including Brian May, Eric Clapton and Slash
Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler is releasing a triumphant new charity single to raise funds for Teenage Cancer Trust – and he’s rounded up over 60 guitar heroes to lay down licks.
Set to drop 15 March, Going Home: Theme of the Local Hero is a reinvention of Knopfler’s epic 1983 instrumental of the same name. And it wouldn’t have been possible without the the help of his ‘Guitar Heroes’.
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The star-studded list of collaborators is nothing short of astounding. The likes of Nile Rodgers, Bruce Springsteen, Queen’s Brian May, Slash, Eric Clapton, Ronnie Wood, Joan Jett have all thrown themselves into the project.
But perhaps most notably, the track features the final-ever recording from Jeff Beck, captured shortly before his death in January 2023.
Knopfler describes Beck’s contribution to the track as “spellbinding”, while Guy Fletcher – the track’s producer and Knopfler’s former Dire Straits bandmate – calls Beck’s part “absolutely meant to be”. “What he did with it, it just brings you to tears,” he says.
Elsewhere, the track features contributions from blues maestros like Buddy Guy and Joe Bonamassa, and country rockers Sheryl Crow and Vince Gill. There’s even the rap rock bite of Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello, and the contrasting charm of indie darling Sam Fender. Put simply, Knopfler has recruited an impressively diverse team.
While most contributors will be riffing away on guitar, others involved include Beatles legend Ringo Starr and his son Zak Starkey on drums, Sting on bass, and Roger Daltrey knocking out the harmonica.
Speaking about the single, Knopfler reflects on how thankful he is that this track came to fruition. “I really had no idea that it was going to be like this,” he says. “It hit Guy and I quite early on that we had to extend this piece somehow, to take in the number of people who joined in.”
“Before I knew where I was, Pete Townshend had come into my studio armed with a guitar and an amp. And that first Pete power chord…man, I tell you — we were in that territory, and it was just fantastic,” he recalls. “And it went on from there. Eric Clapton came in, played great, just one tasty lick after another. Then Jeff Beck’s contribution arrived and that was spellbinding. I think what we’ve had is an embarrassment of riches, really. The whole thing was a high point.”
The instrumental embodiment of a victory lap, Going Home: Theme of the Local Hero serves as a poignant way of honouring the magnificent work of the Teenage Cancer Trust charity thus far.
There’s currently a 15-second teaser of the upcoming charity single, and it is also available to pre-order in the run up to its 15 March release.
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