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Mark Knopfler shares ‘Local Hero’ charity single featuring guitar gods such as Bruce Springsteen and Ronnie Wood

The new take on Knopfler's classic instrumental also features the last ever guitar solo from Jeff Beck.

By Nick Reilly

Mark Knopfler's Guitar Heroes (Picture: Peter Blake)

Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler has shared the new version of his legendary 1983 instrumental ‘Going Home: Theme of the Local Hero’, which sees him uniting a cast of music icons including Bruce Springsteen, David Gilmour, Slash, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Ronnie Wood, Pete Townshend, Sting, Brian May, Joan Jett, Nile Rodgers and the last ever performance from the late Jeff Beck.

The new song poignantly opens with a solo from Beck, the final recording from the Yardbirds legend before his death in January 2023. All proceeds from the release will benefit Teenage Cancer Trust and Teen Cancer America.

The supergroup is billing themselves as Mark Knopfler’s Guitar Heroes, and the song was produced by former Dire Straits keyboardist, Guy Fletcher. It also features contributions from Joan Armatrading, Richard Bennett, Joe Bonamassa, Joe Brown, James Burton, Jonathan Cain, Paul Carrack, Ry Cooder, Jim Cox, Steve Cropper, Sheryl Crow, Danny Cummings, Duane Eddy, Sam Fender, Peter Frampton, Audley Freed, Vince Gill, Buddy Guy, 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 Neilsen, Orianthi, Brad Paisley, Mike Rutherford, Joe Satriani, John Sebastian, Connor Selby, Slash, Andy Taylor, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, Ian Thomas, Keith Urban, Steve Vai, Waddy Wachtel, Joe Louis Walker, Joe Walsh, 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 Mark 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.”

“It was absolutely meant to be,” said Fletcher of the late Beck’s contribution, “And what he did with it, it just brings you to tears.”

Yesterday, Knopfler, Fletcher, Ronnie Wood, Joan Armatrading, Albert Lee, Pete Townshend, Joe Brown, and artist Sir Peter Blake all gathered at Knopfler’s British Grove Studios in West London to celebrate the release.

‘Going Home: Theme of the Local Hero,’ which originally appeared in the 1983 Burt Lancaster film Local Hero, was Knopfler’s first solo single. It’s best known today as the song that plays every time Newcastle United are introduced onto the pitch at St James’ Park.