“Jeff was just something other, you know?”: Mark Knopfler says he had begun planning to record an album with Jeff Beck shortly before Beck's death

Mark Knopfler (left) and Jeff Beck
(Image credit: Joby Sessions, R. Diamond/Getty Images)

One of 2024's biggest guitar-related stories to date is undoubtedly Mark Knopfler's high-profile re-recording of Going Home (Theme From Local Hero)

To raise funds for Teenage Cancer Trust and Teen Cancer America, Knopfler re-recorded the classic song with arguably the most formidable lineup of guitar heroes ever assembled. 

Listing all of the players involved would take all day – Slash, Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, Sheryl Crow, Tony Iommi, and Brian May are just a few of the names, to give you an idea – but perhaps the most notable of all was the late Jeff Beck, whose memorable contribution is widely acknowledged to be his final ever recording.  

In a newly-published interview with Guitar Player, Knopfler saluted the late electric guitar king's “beautiful” playing on the tune, before revealing that he also had tentative plans to make an album with Beck, who died in January 2023. 

“Jeff was just something other, y’know?” the Dire Straits man told GP. “In fact, we’d just begun some talks, through management, about doing an album together. I’m really sorry we didn’t get to work together.”

As if the encyclopedic list of guitar heroes on the 2024 version of Going Home wasn't enough, the track also features the Who’s Roger Daltrey on harmonica, and both Ringo Starr and his son Zak Starkey on drums. 

It was Daltrey's longtime involvement with, and patronage of, the Teenage Cancer Trust, that led Knopfler to Pete Townshend, who was the first guitarist to contribute to the song. 

“It started, quite appropriately enough, with Pete Townshend, because we’ve known Roger’s association with the charity for so long, and Pete’s as well,” Knopfler explained to GP. “So, Pete came through the door first at my place, armed with a guitar and an amp, and we plugged it in and Pete played a chord. And we were happening, because when Pete plays a chord, it stays played.”

To read the full Guitar Player interview with Knopfler, pick up the latest issue of the mag at Magazines Direct.

Jackson Maxwell
Associate Editor, GuitarWorld.com and GuitarPlayer.com

Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com and GuitarPlayer.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.

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