Clapton, Iommi, Bonamassa, Tedeschi, Trucks, Townshend, Slash... New video for Mark Knopfler’s Guitar Heroes version of Going Home reveals who played what and when on the all-star charity single

Tony Iommi, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Susan Tedeschi
(Image credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for ABA; Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Crossroads Guitar Festival; Sergione Infuso/Corbis via Getty Images; Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

An animated video has been released that reveals who played what and when on the 50-plus strong ensemble of guitar heroes that Mark Knopfler assembled to cover his Local Hero theme track, Going Home.

Mark Knopfler’s Guitar Heroes and their version of of Going Home is the all-star guitar event of the year, bringing together the likes of Eric Clapton, Tony Iommi, Susan Tedeschi, Pete Townshend and dozens more A-list players for a nine-minute instrumental epic that  has been released to raise money for teenage cancer charities.

The single presents fans with the final recording from the late Jeff Beck. Hearing his guitar, there is an extra poignancy knowing that this would be his last solo on tape, tracked just months before his death.

It is a bewildering project, a triumph of human resources, organisation and planning, and a testament to the convening powers of a good cause and Knopfler’s will to make it happen, and, as this video proves, to his bandmate and longtime producer Guy Fletcher’s ability to put together a track, because this is a lot of guitar, and a lot of music to process.

Mark Knopfler charity single

(Image credit: Peter Blake)

If you’ve played the guessing game since the track was released last Friday, now is the time to return to your notes, grab your headphones and watch this video in which all is revealed, the credits popping up onscreen as each guitar player’s contribution appears in the mix.

Some you will get straight away, like Jeff Beck’s intro solo, a piece Knopfler described as “spellbinding”, Knopfler’s playing is similarly recognisable, a decades late echo of the original 1983 composition, and there are moments when the player’s identity just can’t be concealed, like Derek Trucks’ slide playing, and that squeal of super-saturated guitar as the track builds to a climax that could be no one else but Joe Satriani, who then trades leads with Orianthi and Tony Iommi, with Brian May not far away with some regal rock harmonies

As the video reveals, Fletcher weaves these pieces in and out of the mix, some players return, some play against type, and some, such as Tom Morello, appearing just past the eight-minute mark, bend their electric guitar tone out of shape with effects. 

Speaking to the Times, Fletcher said there was nothing he needed to do to Beck’s piece. It already moved him to tears.

“There was no way I was going to mess with that,” Fletcher said. “It was as pure as it can be. What he did with it brings you to tears, it’s absolutely astonishing. Only five or six months after I received it, he passed away. The fact that he’s first is kind of beautiful.”

Knopfler described the whole project as “an embarrassment of riches”, a track that came together at his studio in west London, British Grove Studios, and gathered steam as one by one players dropped by to record or sent in their parts remotely. 

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

Going Home is available now, and proceeds from the single’s sale will go towards  the Teenage Cancer Trust and Teen Cancer America.  And below is a list of everybody who played on the track.

  • 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.
Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.