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Mark Knopfler unites guitar gods such as Bruce Springsteen and David Gilmour for new ‘Local Hero’ charity single

The new version of 'Going Home (Theme From Local Hero)' features efforts from Bruce Springsteen, David Gilmour, Slash, Ronnie Wood, Joan Jett, Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend, Sting, and the final recording by Jeff Beck

By Andy Greene

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

Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler has united with over 60 artists — including Bruce Springsteen, David Gilmour, Slash, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Ronnie Wood, Jeff Beck, Pete Townshend, Sting, Brian May, Joan Jett and Nile Rodgers — to create a new version of his legendary 1983 instrumental ‘Going Home: Theme of the Local Hero.’

The song arrives on March 15, though you can hear a brief sample right now. It’s the final recording Jeff Beck created 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.

The majority of the artists are playing guitar, but Ringo Starr and his son, Who drummer Zack Starkey, are on drums. Sting plays bass. Roger Daltrey is on harmonica.

‘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.

The new version of the song was recorded at West London’s British Grove Studios. Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton, and Albert Lee were the first artists to record their parts. A few of them were submitted remotely, but the majority of them were cut live in the studio.

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

From Rolling Stone.