In a heartwarming display of camaraderie, dozens of guitar gods and rock music icons answered the call to produce a charity single to benefit teens with cancer, an overall effort by Mark Knopfler of the Dire Straits that has already raised hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The track features an unprecedented line-up of Knopfler’s Guitar Heroes—and ‘legendary’ does not begin to cover it: From David Gilmour to Ronnie Wood, Slash to Eric Clapton, Sting to Joan Armatrading, Bruce Springsteen to Pete Townshend, Joan Jett to Albert Lee, and Brian May to Tony Iommi, the superstars kept stepping up.
Notably, with great honor, the track opens with Jeff Beck’s final spine-tingling recording.
“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 song dropping on March 15th (hear a sneak peak below) is an update of his film anthem ‘Going Home’—from Knopfler’s first foray into movies—the soundtrack to Local Hero (starring Burt Lancaster) released 41 years ago. It’s a memorable tune that is still played before every home game of the Newcastle United football club in England.
Mark’s longtime collaborator Guy Fletcher edited the contributions into a 9 minute piece with Roger Daltrey on harmonica, and Ringo Starr on drums alongside his son Zak Starkey—their two drum tracks switching from one to the other, revealing an unmistakable family style. Sting completes an extraordinary rhythm section on bass.
“(Jeff Beck’s contribution) was absolutely meant to be,” says Fletcher. “And what he did with it, it just brings you to tears.”
All the net proceeds will go to Teenage Cancer Trust in the UK and its American equivalent Teen Cancer America, which was co-founded by Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend of The Who (who also established the Daltrey/Townshend Teen and Young Adult Cancer Program at UCLA Medical Center). Further funds are being raised thanks to guitar makers who’ve donated 8 guitars to be signed by the contributing artists. 4 of the 8 have already been sold for the US charity.
In January, Knopfler sold his own guitar collection at Christie’s for over $8 million, 25% of which is going to charity. One Gibson Les Paul signed by many artists from the project sold for nearly a half-million dollars.
Even more cash is being raised by the record label, NeoFidelity Recordings, making a six-figure donation to the charity and the record’s cover artist, Sir Peter Blake (who created the iconic cover for Sgt. Pepper’s,) donating a limited edition print run of 150 large wall prints of the cover art, which features portraits of all the artists. Each print has been hand signed by Sir Peter Blake CBE and is being sold for around $1,000 in the UK to benefit Teenage Cancer Trust. A US version will be available to purchase at a later date to benefit Teen Cancer America.
Other performers playing on the track include: Joe Bonamassa, Paul Carrack, Ry Cooder, Steve Cropper, Sheryl Crow, Peter Frampton, Vince Gill, Buddy Guy, Sonny Landreth, Alex Lifeson, Phil Manzanera, Dave Mason, John McLaughlin, Tom Morello, Rick Nielsen, Brad Paisley, Nile Rodgers, Mike Rutherford, Joe Satriani, John Sebastian, Andy Taylor, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, Keith Urban, Steve Vai, Waddy Wachtel, Joe Walsh, and others.
One of the guitars earmarked for Teenage Cancer Trust will be auctioned off by Knopfler at a private donor event in Newcastle on the evening of March 1, prior to soccer team Newcastle United’s match on March 2. A number of artists who performed on the song will attend the match, where a sneak peak of a portion of the song will be played for Newcastle United fans as the players enter the stadium.
After the overwhelming support showed by his Guitar Heroes, Knopfler most wants to thank each and every one of the performers for their “sterling response”.
“I really had no idea that it was going to be like this.”
ROCK The WORLDS of Music Fans By Sharing This on Social Media…