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After sensational trial, Johnny Depp releases an album

Fresh off his highly publicized, controversial defamation suit, actor Johnny Depp sought to show his creative career was back on track Friday, releasing an album with English rocker Jeff Beck. The 13-track album “18” on which Depp sings and plays guitar features mainly covers, and so far it has been critically panned.

It’s a record unlikely to figure prominently in the repertoire of Beck, the 78-year-old former member of The Yardbirds. The album includes renditions of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” and John Lennon’s “Isolation,” as well as the Velvet Underground classic “Venus In Furs.”

The choice to include a song focused on sado-masochism might seem bizarre to some, given the ultra-mediatized trial centered on alleged domestic abuse between Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard, the actor best known for her role in “Aquaman.” The album also includes two songs the 59-year-old “Pirates of the Caribbean” star penned himself: “This is a Song for Miss Hedy Lamarr,” and “Sad Motherfuckin’ Parade.” “Erased by the same world that made her a star / Spun out of beauty, trapped by its web,” Depp sings of Lamarr, who secluded herself in the final years of her life.

This file photograph shows British guitarist Jeff Beck performing on stage during the 43rd edition of the Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux.

Bad Boys, Hollywood Vampires

Depp and Beck met in 2016, bonding “over cars and guitars” before the latter said he began to appreciate “Depp’s serious songwriting skills and ear for music.” They began working on this LP in 2019. It’s far from Depp’s first foray into music: the actor for more than a decade has recorded and toured with the Hollywood Vampires, a supergroup he started with Alice Cooper and Joe Perry. Beck is currently on tour in Europe with Depp as a special guest.

This spring Depp won $15 million in the defamation suit against Heard, who was awarded $2 million. The jury found that Heard, 36, defamed Depp in describing herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse” in a 2018 op-ed published in The Washington Post, although she did not identify the actor by name. Depp held he suffered reputational damage following its publication.

Heard received $2 million in damages because the jury found that one of Depp’s lawyers had defamed her. The six-week trial gained widespread attention not least because it was televised and livestreamed, with clips making their way to social media as Heard became a target of online vitriol and mockery. In its aftermath Depp is embarking on a return to acting, set to star in the forthcoming French movie “La Favorite.” He will play King Louis XV, with filming locations including Versailles. – AFP

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