Jeff Beck & Johnny Depp: 18
Label: Rhino, 2022 | Release date: 30.9.2022
When Johnny Depp and Jeff Beck met in 2016, they quickly sensed that there was a special connection between them – and not just because they shared a passion for cars and guitars. They could make each other laugh, at the same time Beck became increasingly aware that Depp was a serious songwriter and had an ear for music. This combination of talent and a strong chemistry between them convinced Beck that they should record an album together.
Depp agreed, and so they went to work starting in 2019. Over the next three years, they recorded a mix of Depp originals and a wide range of cover songs, from Celtic to Motown to the Beach Boys and Killing Joke. in 2020, they gave the world its first taste of their collaboration – with a cover version that couldn’t have been more fitting in the midst of the pandemic: “Isolation,” John Lennon’s song originally released in 1970. (“Isolation” is included on the CD, but not on the LP)
And now you can look forward to a full album from the duo. It will be released on July 15 and is titled “18.” Beck explains why: “When Johnny and I started playing together, it fueled a youthful spirit and creativity in us – so much so that we kept joking about feeling like we were 18 again. And so it eventually became the album title.” The album cover also features an illustration of Beck and Depp as 18-year-olds, drawn and designed by Beck’s wife Sandra.
“18” will be released first on CD and digitally, followed by a version of the album on black vinyl (180g) on September 30
Hollywood star Johnny Depp is by no means a newcomer to the music business: 12 years ago he formed the supergroup Hollywood Vampires with Alice Cooper and Joe Perry, with whom he has since toured and recorded two albums featuring some of the biggest rock stars of our time, including Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl and Joe Walsh. Beck has also made guest appearances, playing guitar on “Welcome To Bushwackers,” a song from the Vampires’ second album, “Rise,” released in 2019.
A little later, Depp asked Beck to play lead guitar on a song he had written – “This Is A Song For Miss Hedy Lamarr,” now the album’s first single. The song is a tribute to the Austrian-American actress and inventor of the same name and holds a special place on the album. “It just blew me away,” Beck said. “The song is one of the reasons I asked him to do an album with me”. “This Is A Song For Miss Hedy Lamarr” is available digitally starting today and is accompanied by a music video, which can be viewed here.
Johnny Depp is also full of praise for the collaboration, “It’s an extraordinary honor to play and write music with Jeff. He’s one of the greats and I’m privileged to now call him my brother.”
One reason for the extraordinarily fruitful collaboration between the two stars was that the cover songs they chose pushed each other to step outside their respective comfort zones. “It’s been forever since I last had a creative partner of his caliber,” Beck pays tribute to his counterpart. “He was a driving force on this record. I just hope people take him seriously as a musician, because it’s hard for some to accept that Johnny Depp can sing rock ‘n’ roll.”
However, just one listen to “18” should convince even the last doubters. On songs like “Venus In Furs” (The Velvet Underground), the Everly Brothers ballad “Let It Be Me” and Marvin Gaye’s soul classic “What’s Going On”, Depp demonstrates an incredible emotional range. On the instrumentals, it’s up to Beck to demonstrate why he is revered worldwide as a guitar god with fantastic versions of “Midnight Walker” (Davy Spillanes) and two songs from the Beach Boys masterpiece “Pet Sounds” – “Caroline, No” and “Don’t Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder).”