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Johnny Depp, Jeff Beck and an album called '18'

Christine Lehnen
July 15, 2022

After winning a defamation suit against his ex-wife Amber Heard, Johnny Depp is now touring with guitarist Jeff Beck, with Germany as one of the tour stops.

Actor Johnny Depp wearing a vest, white shirt, long hair and sunglasses on a stage. He plays the guitar.
Johnny Depp performed with Jeff Beck at the Helsinki Blues Festival on June 19, 2022Image: Jussi Nukari/Lehtikuva/dpa/picture alliance

The album cover shows a pencil illustration of two teenagers, garbed in white T-shirts, with pomade in their hair and guitars and microphones in their hands. It bears the title "18." As guitar legend Jeff Beck explains, it was chosen because "when Johnny and I started playing together, it ignited a youthful spirit and creativity in us — so much so that we kept joking about feeling 18 again."

A pencil illustration of two young men with guitar and microphone used as an album cover. The text reads: Jeff Beck, Johnny Depp and the number 18
Album cover of '18' depicting what Beck and Depp might have looked like as 18-year-oldsImage: Rhino

Jeff Beck and Johnny Depp are said to have met in 2016, according to the Warner Music website.

Not only did they share a passion for cars and guitars, but they always made each other laugh. This friendship led to the project of recording an album together, which they started working on in 2019.

The result will be released on July 15: "18" is the first joint album by multiple Grammy award winner Jeff Beck and Hollywood star Johnny Depp.

It features 13 tracks, most of which are covers of Motown soul songs as well as titles by the Beach Boys, The Velvet Underground or English rock band, Killing Joke.

Jeff Beck plays guitar in wearing a white T-shirt and a rugged denimvest with sunglasses on a stage in Helsinki
Jeff Beck was inducted into the 'Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame' in 2009Image: Jussi Nukari/Lehtikuva/dpa/picture alliance

There is also the soulful ballad, "This Is A Song For Miss Hedy Lamarr," an homage to the Austrian-American actress Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000), which Depp composed.

The actor, who is best known from the "Pirates of the Caribbean" film series and most recently for his defamation trial against his ex-wife, Amber Heard, is no music novice. Twelve years ago he founded Hollywood Vampires with rock singer Alice Cooper and Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry, with whom he has since recorded two albums.

Depp contributed another self-written song to "18," titled "Sad Mother Fuckin' Parade," which according to some critics, alludes to Heard — without naming her. "You're sitting there like a dog with a seven-year itch. And I think you've said enough for one night," Depp sings. The dog is seen as a reference to a testimony Amber Heard made in court about her dog — which subsequently became an internet meme.

Bras for ageing stars

Johnny Depp's infamous trial victory over his ex-wife is boosting public interest in his musical ventures, which would otherwise have been dismissed as just "two more ageing stars on tour."

The high-profile trial, which was broadcast live on the internet, was closely followed by fans around the world, who widely commented on the case through social media.

Both actors had to pay fines in the end — but Heard's was heftier than Depp's. The jury ruled that Heard had defamed her ex-husband through an article she had written for the Washington Post, in which she indirectly accused him of domestic violence; she was ordered to pay $10 million (€9.96 million) in damages, whereas Depp, who was also found liable because of statements made by his lawyer, has to pay Heard $2 million.

Johnny Depp signs autographs for his fans in Offenbach
Hotly sought after by fans in Offenbach: autographs from Johnny DeppImage: Bernd Kammerer/picture alliance

With the trial over, Depp is now touring Europe with Beck. They have so far performed at the Helsinki Blues Festival and in Gateshead near Newcastle in England. They have also played concerts in Germany, for example in Offenbach, in the state of Hessen where excited female fans tossed bras onto the stage — leading to a few viral moments.

This article was originally written in German.

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