“It just brings you to tears”: David Gilmour, Pete Townshend, Brian May, Tony Iommi, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Alex Lifeson, Slash and more join forces for epic new recording of Mark Knopfler's Going Home

Guitar Heroes single
(Image credit: BMG)

Mark Knopfler has recruited arguably the greatest line-up of guitarists ever to appear on a single song, for a new recording of his classic 1983 solo single Going Home (Theme from Local Hero).

The truly astonishing line-up of talent on the single, which will be released under the project name Mark Knopfler's Guitar Heroes on March 15 on BMG to raise funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust and Teen Cancer America, includes David Gilmour, Pete Townshend, Ronnie Wood, Brian May, Bruce Springsteen, Tony Iommi, Eric Clapton, Joan Jett, Joan Armatrading, Alex Lifeson, Hank Marvin, Slash, Tom Morello, and the very last recording by the late Jeff Beck. It was produced by Knopfler's longtime collaborator Guy Fletcher.

“What I really want to do, more than anything else, is just to thank each and every one for this sterling response,” says former Dire Straits frontman 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.”

The new version of the song, an instrumental theme to the 1983 Scottish comedy-drama Local Hero, was recorded at British Grove Studios, in West London, with some artists taping their contributions in person, and others sending in sound files from their own studios. Guy Fletcher then edited the contributions into a nine-minute piece. Speaking of Jeff Beck's participation in the recording, Fletcher says, “It was absolutely meant to be. And what he did with it, it just brings you to tears.”

The song also features Ringo Starr on drums, Sting on bass, and Teenage Cancer Trust patron Roger Daltrey on harmonica.

Listen to a snippet of the song below:

The Teenage Cancer Trust be staging fund-raising shows at the Royal Albert Hall in London next month.

The full 2024 line-up is as follows:

Mar 18: The Who with Orchestra, with special guests Squeeze
Mar 19: Evening Of Comedy - line-up tba
Mar 20: The Who with Orchestra, with very special guests Squeeze
Mar 21: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, with very special guests Blossoms
Mar 22: Young Fathers plus special guests
Mar 23: The Chemical Brothers
Mar 24 - ‘Ovation’ - A Celebration of 24 Years of Gigs For Teenage Cancer Trust' with Roger Daltrey, Kelly Jones, Robert Plant with Saving Grace, Pete Townshend, Eddie Vedder, Paul Weller

The Who's frontman Roger Daltrey has been organising the programme for the hugely successful charity fundraising gigs for the past 24 years. 

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.