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The Dire Straits frontman tapped Eric Clapton, Slash (Guns N’ Roses), David Gilmour (Pink Floyd), Brian May (Queen), Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath), Pete Townshend (The Who), Alex Lifeson (RUSH), Bruce Springsteen, Ronnie Wood (The Rolling Stones), Joan Jett, and many more, forming what he has dubbed “Mark Knopfler’s Guitar Heroes.” Notably, the star-studded version opens with the final recorded guitar track by the late Jeff Beck.
Knopfler’s longtime collaborator Guy Fletcher handled the production of the track, which might be the greatest assemblage of guitar talent to co-exist on a single song. The Sgt. Pepper‘s-style artwork was created by Sir Peter Blake (The Beatles, The Who, Band Aid).
A 15-second trailer clip can be heard now, teasing how the multitude of guitarists trade off runs and fills. Additional instrumentation was provided by The Who’s Roger Daltrey (a Teenage Cancer Trust honorary patron the co-founder of Teen Cancer America with Townshend) on harmonica; The Beatles’ Ringo Starr trading off on drums with his son Zak Starkey; and Sting filling out the rhythm section on bass.
“What I really want to do, more than anything else, is just to thank each and every one for this sterling response,” Knopfler said of the sheer number of contributors on the track. “I really had no idea that it was going to be like this. It hit Guy [Fletcher] 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.”
The full song is set to be released digitally (including a Dolby Atmos mix) on March 15th along with physical versions on CD, deluxe CD/Blu-Ray, vinyl. Funds benefit Teenage Cancer Trust and Teen Cancer America, and you can pre-order the single via the Mark Knopfler’s Guitar Heroes website.
Watch the trailer for the charity single and see the artwork and full list of contributors below.
“Going Home (Theme from Local Hero)” Artwork: