“An absolutely genius video presentation”: New video for Mark Knopfler’s all-star Guitar Heroes charity single reveals who played what on the 50-guitarist-strong instrumental epic

 Peter Frampton, Slash, Mark Knopfler and Joa Jett.
Peter Frampton, Slash, Mark Knopfler and Joa Jett.
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Last week, Mark Knopfler officially released his hotly anticipated Guitar Heroes rendition of Going Home – a nine-minute cut of the Local Hero theme that saw him solo alongside an absolutely absurd array of electric guitar and acoustic guitar heroes.

The star-studded list of contributors includes Eric Clapton, Joe Bonamassa, Tony Iommi, Peter Frampton, Pete Townshend, Susan Tedeschi, Steve Vai, Sheryl Crow, Slash, Joan Jett, Bruce Springsteen, Keith Urban, Ronnie Wood and Steve Lukather, as well as many, many others.

Ahead of its release, fans were treated to a brief sneak peek, which kickstarted what became a rather amusing game of “guess the guitar heroes from their chops”.

Though many assumed the full release would reveal who’s playing what on the epic track, that game had to continue for just a while longer, with Knopfler’s reps promising a separate video – which would reveal those precise details – would be arriving not long after.

Well, now that video has finally been released, meaning we can all go back over our notes and see just how many guitarists we correctly managed to identify from the near-10-minute instrumental masterpiece.

No marks are awarded for guessing Jeff Beck’s stunning intro effort, though: that the late Stratocaster master would be opening the track was known long before the single’s release. Beck’s involvement was also one of the most anticipated elements of the track, seeing as it turned out to be his last-ever recording.

“Jeff Beck’s contribution arrived and that was spellbinding,” Knopfler previously said of the guitar legend’s efforts.

But there’s a lot going on in the intro post-Beck, with a vast array of guitarists weaving together a web of improvised lines over Knopfler himself, who, for the most part, sticks to rhythm duties with those snappy arpeggiated chords.

It was always going to be a tricky task singling out each players’ parts, especially considering that much of the track finds them all playing over another to create a dense wall of guitar.

Having said that, the video does an admirable job of visualizing who plays what, cleverly recruiting waves and strings, and highlighting a player’s name, when the guitarist in question throws something into the mix.

Joe Bonamassa’s delicate licks and deep vibratos, for example, are showcased by a flurry of sound waves, while the fierce reprise of the main hook – which, it turns out, is stacked up by Keith Urban, Ronnie Wood, Sting, Zak Starkey and Joan Jett – emblazons its players' names across the screen.

That middle section, from the 4:00 mark onwards, then introduces the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Sam Fender to the track, with Nile Rodgers and an especially mix-cutting few licks from Joe Walsh helping flesh things out further.

Mark Knopfler's Guitar Heroes
Mark Knopfler's Guitar Heroes

Things get a little clearer as space opens up for the long-form licks and solos later on in the track. At one point, Peter Frampton goes back-to-back with Slash and Duane Eddy, each player taking a few bars in the spotlight.

Tony Iommi is also given an extended opportunity to solo, receiving some harmonic support from Joe Satriani and Brian May, all before Frampton helps Steve Vai, Brad Paisley and Derek Truck close out the cut.

Like we said, it was always going to be tricky, but the video does an admirable job of distinguishing each part. In fact, one content guitar fan called it “an absolutely genius video presentation” on YouTube.

Mark Knopfler’s Guitar Heroes version of Going Home (Theme from Local Hero) is available to stream now, and was released in support of Teenage Cancer Trust and Teen Cancer America.

A full list of its contributors can be found below.

Mark Knopfler's Guitar Heroes are…

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.