Led by Dire Straits frontman, Mark Knopfler, an extensive list of rock legends, including the late Jeff Beck in his final recording, have banded together for a Teenage Cancer Trust single.
The song is a reworking of Knopfler’s 1983 instrumental ‘Going Home (Theme From Local Hero)’, the closing track of Bill Forsyth’s film of the same name. Recorded in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust and Teen Cancer America, the list of rock heroes it features is star-studded.
The track includes contributions from Joan Armatrading, Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, Tony Iommi, Joan Jett, Brian May, Nile Rodgers, Pete Townshend, Slash, Bruce Springsteen, Sting and Ronnie Wood.
A landmark moment, the track opens with the final recording from guitar maestro Jeff Beck, the former Yardbird who passed away in January 2023. In another welcome surprise, Beatles drummer Ringo Starr helms the kit alongside son Zak Starkey, with the drum tracks switching from one’s performance to the other.
The reworking of Knopfler’s iconic instrumental was recorded at West London’s British Grove Studios, often with the musicians present in person to capture their parts; only sometimes would recordings be sent from their own studios around the world. Aptly, the process started with Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend and Albert Lee. The artwork is by the great Sir Peter Blake, depicting each artist in front of Hank’s guitar shop on London’s Denmark Street.
“What I really want to do, more than anything else, is just to thank each and every one for this sterling response,” Knopfler explains, “I really had no idea that it was going to be like this. 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.
He continued: “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. 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.”
“It was absolutely meant to be,” Dire Straits keyboardist Guy Fletcher added of the late Jeff Beck’s contribution, “And what he did with it, it just brings you to tears.”
The new charity version of ‘Going Home (Theme From Local Hero)’ will arrive on March 15th via BMG.