Yeah, okay, it’s quite the unexpected pairing, but Johnny Depp is a rocker, and Jeff Beck has always done whatever the hell he wants to do, so why not! And, indeed, together they have come up trumps with a wickedly bluesy and electrifying take of the 1970 John Lennon track “Isolation”, which has been digitally released today.
The recording sees Johnny & Jeff joined by long-time Beck collaborators Vinnie Colaiuta on drums and Rhonda Smith on bass. The pair have been quietly working together for some years, and the band first performed the track live at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival last September in Texas.
They recorded the track last year and had no immediate plans for a release, but the song, and the times, demanded it. As Jeff has told fans, “We weren’t expecting to release it so soon, but given all the hard days and true ‘isolation’ that people are going through in these challenging times, we decided now might be the right time to let you all hear it. You’ll be hearing more from Johnny and me in a little while, but until then we hope you find some comfort and solidarity in our take on this Lennon classic.”
Johnny Depp has added, “Lennon’s poetry – ‘We’re afraid of everyone. Afraid of the Sun!’ – seemed to Jeff and me especially profound right now, this song about isolation, fear, and existential risks to our world. So we wanted to give it to you, and hope it helps you make sense of the moment or just helps you pass the time as we endure isolation together.”
Jeff Beck & Johnny Depp | “Isolation” [Official Lyric Video]
Jeff Beck, of course, is one of rock’s greatest guitarists, and greatest collaborators. He first made his name in the ‘60s, in the Yardbirds, where he replaced Eric Clapton and then teamed up with Jimmy Page. From his classic solo and Jeff Beck Group stuff from the late ‘60s and early ’70s, which introduced young Rod Stewart to genuine rock stardom, through to his 2011 collaboration with Imelda May and band honouring guitarist Les Paul, Jeff Beck has gone wherever the music has led him. And he’s taken others with him. If “Isolation” is anything to go by, his ongoing work with Johnny Depp could see a strong return to his bluesy hard rock of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s.
Johnny Depp, of course, is himself is no stranger to bluesy hard rock either, having worked with Alice Cooper and Aerosmith’s Joe Perry in the Hollywood Vampires now for half a decade.
The combination of Becks effortlessly moody riffs and Depp’s passionately tortured vocal delivery turn the Lennon classic into a blazing blues rocker. Stream/download "Isolation" here.
“You’ll be hearing more from Johnny and me in a little while,” Jeff Beck says. In the meantime, here are a few other great Jeff Beck collaborations to whet your appetite!
“Beck’s Boogie” (The Yardbirds)
“Let Me Love You” (Jeff Beck Group with Rod Stewart)
“I Put A Spell On You” (with Joss Stone)
“Sitting on Top of the World” (with Imelda May)
“Twenty Flight Rock” (with Brian Setzer)
Listen to Jeff Beck & Johhny Depp's "Isolation" on Spotify:
Listen to Jeff Beck & Johhny Depp's "Isolation" on Apple Music: