Johnny Depp and Jeff Beck release album '18' in wake of Amber Heard court battle

The actor has teamed up with English rocker Jeff Beck to launch a collection of covers

US actor Johnny Depp performs on stage at the Helsinki Blues Festival, Finland, 19 June 2022.   EPA / KIMMO BRANDT
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Fresh from his controversial court battle with ex-wife Amber Heard, Johnny Depp has released a music album with English rocker Jeff Beck.

Depp sings and plays guitar on the 13-track album, 18, which mainly features covers. There are renditions of Marvin Gaye's What's Going On, John Lennon's Isolation and, controversially given its subject matter, the Velvet Underground classic Venus in Furs.

The album also includes two songs the Pirates of the Caribbean star wrote himself, including This is a Song for Miss Hedy Lamarr. "Erased by the same world that made her a star / Spun out of beauty, trapped by its web," Depp pointedly sings of film actress and inventor Lamarr, who secluded herself in the final years of her life.

The album is available on CD and digitally, with a 180-gram black vinyl version due for release on September 30.

“His limited vocal range won't make anyone forget Rod Stewart’s turns with Beck,” says a review on Ultimateclassicrock.com of Depp’s latest endeavour, although the article also acknowledges that anything Beck puts his hand to has some merit.

Depp and Beck met in 2016, reportedly bonding over cars and guitars before the English musician began to appreciate "Depp's serious songwriting skills and ear for music”.

They began collaborating on this album in 2019 and Depp began joining Beck onstage while his sensationalised defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard was still underway. Depp is also planning to go on tour with his own band, Hollywood Vampires, in the summer of 2023, and will return to acting and in the forthcoming French film La Favorite.

Depp took to TikTok to promote the new album, in only his second ever video on the social media platform. He joined TikTok on the day his trial with Heard ended and quickly amassed more than 15 million followers.

This week, Amber Heard lost an attempt to have the verdict in her trial with Depp thrown out on the grounds the one of the jurors in the case had been misidentified. The latest ruling comes six weeks after a jury in Fairfax, Virginia, decided Heard had defamed Depp when she wrote an article saying she had been a victim of domestic abuse. He was awarded $10.35m (£8.2m) in damages.

Updated: July 16, 2022, 7:49 AM
MORE FROM THE NATIONAL