On March 15, 2024, Mark Knopfler will release a new, very special recording of his anthem “Going Home (Theme From Local Hero)” to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust and the American equivalent Teen Cancer America.
Performed by Mark Knopfler’s Guitar Heroes and produced by his long-time collaborator Guy Fletcher (who edited the contributions into a 9-minute piece), the song features an unprecedented lineup of some of history’s greatest guitarists. ‘Legendary’ doesn’t even begin to cover it – David Gilmour and Ronnie Wood, Slash and Eric Clapton, Sting and Joan Armatrading, Bruce Springsteen and Pete Townshend, Nile Rodgers and Joan Jett, Brian May and Tony Iommi, Sam Fender and many more great names. As a tribute, the song opens with Jeff Beck’s last recording.
Roger Daltrey, honorary patron of the Teenage Cancer Trust and co-founder of Teen Cancer America (along with Pete Townshend) added harmonica, Beatles icon Ringo Starr alternates playing drums with his son Zak Starkey. Sting completes a special rhythm section on bass.
Mark Knopfler: ‘What I really want to do, more than anything else, is just to thank each and every one for this sterling response. 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.’
Recording began at British Grove Studios in West London with Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton and Albert Lee. All the major musicians were mainly present in person, sometimes the recordings were sent from their own studios from all over the world.
The film Local Hero starring Burt Lancaster was released in 1983. It was Mark Knopfler’s first credit as a film composer and earned him a BAFTA nomination. Much to Mark’s delight, the song is played at every Newcastle United match before the team takes the field.
The net proceeds go to the aforementioned charities. The project is further supported by many leading luthiers, who have donated a total of 8 guitars to be signed by the contributing artists. Four of the eight have already been sold in the US for Teen Cancer America – the only US charity providing specialist support to adolescents and young adults with cancer. This happened way back in October 2022, before some of the most high-profile and rarest signatures were added to the four remaining guitars that would benefit the Teenage Cancer Trust, the only UK charity supporting 13 to 24-year-olds diagnosed with cancer, which provides age-appropriate specialist nursing care and support.
The full list of musicians: Joan Armatrading, Jeff Beck, Richard Bennett, Joe Bonamassa, Joe Brown, James Burton, Jonathan Cain, Paul Carrack, Eric Clapton, Ry Cooder, Jim Cox, Steve Cropper, Sheryl Crow, Danny Cummings, Roger Daltrey, Duane Eddy, Sam Fender, Guy Fletcher, Peter Frampton, Audley Freed, Vince Gill, David Gilmour, Buddy Guy, Keiji Haino, Tony Iommi, Joan Jett, John Jorgenson, Mark Knopfler, Sonny Landreth, Albert Lee, Greg Leisz, Alex Lifeson, Steve Lukather, Phil Manzanera, Dave Mason, Hank Marvin, Brian May, Robbie McIntosh, John McLaughlin, Tom Morello, Rick Nielsen, Orianthi, Brad Paisley, Nile Rodgers, Mike Rutherford, Joe Satriani, John Sebastian, Connor Selby, Slash, Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr and Zak Starkey, Sting, Andy Taylor, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, Ian Thomas, Pete Townshend, Keith Urban, Steve Vai, Waddy Wachtel, Joe Louis Walker, Joe Walsh, Ronnie Wood, Glenn Worf, Zucchero.