Guitarist Jeff Beck and Hollywood star Johnny Depp have announced a joint album that’s on the way, after Beck unofficially put word of it out to a concert audience last week, and the pair are heralding it with a video that was released Thursday, for a Depp-penned original song, ‘This Is a Song for Miss Hedy Lamarr’.
The homage to the screen siren Lamarr (who died in 2000 at age 85) is one of two songs written by Depp for the project, the other one being ‘Sad Motherf****n’ Parade’, reports ‘Variety’.
These freshly penned originals are the outliers on ’18’, an album otherwise made up of cover songs, some of them sung by Depp, some in fully instrumental form. It’ll be out via the Rhino label on CD and digital platforms July 15.
The lyrics for the new song are bound to undergo scrutiny in light of Depp’s successful lawsuit against former wife Amber Heard, although the composition is said to be several years old.
Beck said in a statement that he was “blown away” when Depp first played the ‘Hedy Lamarr’ song for him prior to their starting in on recording the project three years ago.
“That song is one of the reasons I asked him to make an album with me,” said Beck.
Among Depp’s lyrics for the song, which seem to paint the screen star of the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s as a victim of fame and expectations: “This is a song for Miss Hedy Lamarr / Erased by the world that made her a star … I won’t believe in humans anymore.”
He had sung the number with Beck at shows dating back to 2019, reports ‘Variety’.
The ’18’ album will find Depp doing lead vocals on the Velvet Underground’s ‘Venus In Furs’, the Everly Brothers’ ‘Let It Be Me’ and Marvin Gaye’s ‘What’s Going On’.
Instrumentals on the record include two numbers revived from the Beach Boys’ classic ‘Pet Sounds’, ‘Caroline, No’ and ‘Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)’.
Other covers on the album include John Lennon’s “Isolation” and songs originally done by Killing Joke, Dennis Wilson, the Miracles, Janis Ian and Davy Spillane.
“I haven’t had another creative partner like him for ages,” said Beck in a statement accompanying news of the album. “He was a major force on this record. I just hope people will take him seriously as a musician because it’s a hard thing for some people to accept that Johnny Depp can sing rock ‘n’ roll.”
“It’s an extraordinary honor to play and write music with Jeff, one of the true greats and someone I am now privileged enough to call my brother.”
Also unveiled Thursday was the ’18’ album cover art, a sketch of Beck and Depp as they might have appeared if they’d collaborated as 18-year-olds, looking like a very young David Bowie and Elvis Presley. The cover artist was Beck’s wife, Sandra.
According to the album announcement, Depp and Beck met in 2016 and quickly established a bond that led to them embarking on the ’18’ recording together in 2019. Before word of the full album project got out, they’d released a studio video of one of the album’s covers, ‘Isolation’.
Beck previously made a cameo appearance on the second and most recent album by the Hollywood Vampires, the supergroup that Depp formed with Alice Cooper and Aerosmith’s Joe Perry.