Mark Knopfler Enlists 60 Rock Legends For Charity Single

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The sleeve artwork from Sir Peter Blake

Mark Knopfler will release a new, special recording of his anthemic composition, “Going Home (Theme From Local Hero)” featuring over 60 of the finest rock performers ever assembled on one iconic track. The recording, coming March 15, includes Eric Clapton, Sheryl Crow, Roger Daltrey, David Gilmour, Brian May, Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr, Pete Townshend, Ronnie Wood, and many more. In a great honor, the track opens with what is said to be Jeff Beck’s final performance. Listen to a brief teaser below. The milestone release, distributed by BMG, and available for pre-order in the U.S. here and in the U.K. here, will raise funds for Teen Cancer America and its U.K. equivalent Teenage Cancer Trust.

From the February 8 announcement: Billed as Mark Knopfler’s Guitar Heroes, the track is produced by his long-time collaborator Guy Fletcher who has edited the contributions into an epic nine-minute piece. The track features an unprecedented line-up of some of the greatest guitarists in rock history including: Buddy Guy, Slash, Sting, Peter Frampton, Joe Walsh, Joan Jett, Tony Iommi and many more jaw-dropping names.

Daltrey, Teenage Cancer Trust’s Honorary Patron and co-founder of Teen Cancer America (with Pete Townshend), added harmonica, and Starr is on drums, alongside his son, Zak Starkey. Their two drum tracks switch from one to the other, revealing an unmistakable family style. Sting completes an extraordinary rhythm section on bass.

With artwork designed by Sir Peter Blake, this release is a landmark moment in rock music history.

Other participating artists include: Joan Armatrading, Richard Bennett, Joe Bonamassa, Joe Brown, James Burton, Jonathan Cain, Paul Carrack, Ry Cooder, Jim Cox, Steve Cropper, Danny Cummings, Duane Eddy, Sam Fender, Audley Freed, Vince Gill, Keiji Haino, John Jorgenson, Sonny Landreth, Albert Lee, Greg Leisz, Alex Lifeson, Steve Lukather, Phil Manzanera, Dave Mason, Hank Marvin, Robbie McIntosh, John McLaughlin, Tom Morello, Rick Nielsen, Orianthi, Brad Paisley, Nile Rodgers, Mike Rutherford, Joe Satriani, John Sebastian, Connor Selby, Andy Taylor, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, Ian Thomas, Keith Urban, Steve Vai, Waddy Wachtel, Joe Louis Walker, Glenn Worf, and Zucchero.

“What I really want to do, more than anything else, is just to thank each and every one for this sterling response,” said Knopfler. “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. 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.”

Recorded at British Grove Studios, in West London, often with the great musicians in person, it started with Townshend, Clapton and Albert Lee. Of the late Jeff Beck’s contribution, Guy Fletcher added, “It was absolutely meant to be. And what he did with it, it just brings you to tears.”

The feature film Local Hero was released in 1983 and starred Burt Lancaster. It was Knopfler’s first credit as a film composer and earned him a BAFTA nomination. Much to his delight, the track is played at every Newcastle United soccer match before the team takes the pitch.

Related: Our Album Rewind of the Local Hero soundtrack

Net proceeds will go to the two charities and the project has been further supported by leading guitar makers, who have donated a total of eight guitars to be signed by the contributing artists. Four of the eight have already been sold in the U.S. for Teen Cancer America (the only U.S. charity to provide specialist support to adolescent and young adults with cancer), going for well into the six figures each. The four remaining guitars will benefit Teenage Cancer Trust, the only UK charity providing 13-24-year-olds diagnosed with cancer with age-appropriate specialist nursing care and support.

In January, Knopfler sold his guitar collection at Christie’s for close to $11.5 million, with the Gibson Les Paul ‘Gold Top’ Standard, signed by many artists from the project, selling for over $513,000. In lieu of taking a full commission on the sale, Christie’s has made a sizeable donation to both TCT and TCA.

One of the guitars earmarked for TCT will be auctioned off by Knopfler at a private donor event in Newcastle on March 1, prior to Newcastle United’s March 2 match versus the Wolverhampton Wanderers. A number of artists who performed on the song will attend, where a sneak peak of a portion of the song will be played for Newcastle United fans as the players enter the stadium.

Physical formats of the single will be available on CD, 12” with etched b-side and deluxe CD+Blu-ray, including sleeve notes by Paul Sexton, and digital formats include a Dolby Atmos mix.

Knopfler is also releasing a new studio album, One Deep River, on April 12, available in the U.S. here and the U.K. here.

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  1. Mister Biscuit
    #1 Mister Biscuit 10 February, 2024, 00:37

    What about that left-handed guy, plays the bass that looks like a big ol’ violin?

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