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Dire Straits

Dire Straits emerged during the post-punk era of the late '70s, and while their sound was minimalistic and stripped down, they owed little to punk. If anything, the band was a direct outgrowth of the roots revivalism of pub rock, but where pub rock celebrated good times, Dire Straits were melancholy. Led by guitarist/vocalist Mark Knopfler, the group built their sound upon the laid-back blues-rock of J.J. Cale, but they also had jazz and country inflections, occasionally dipping into the epic song structures of progressive rock. The band's music was offset by Knopfler's lyrics, which approximated the winding, stream-of-conscious narratives of Bob Dylan. As their career progressed, Dire Straits became more refined and their new maturity happened to coincide with the rise of MTV and the compact disc. These two musical revolutions from the mid-'80s helped make Dire Straits' sixth album, Brothers in Arms, an international blockbuster. The band -- along with Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, and Steve Winwood -- become one of the leaders of a group of self-consciously mature veteran rock & rollers in the late '80s that designed their music to appeal to aging baby boomers. Despite the band's international success, they couldn't sustain their stardom, waiting a full six years to deliver a follow-up to Brothers in Arms, by which time their audience had shrunk significantly.

Knopfler (born August 12, 1949) was always the main force behind Dire Straits. The son of an architect, Knopfler studied English literature at Leeds University and worked briefly as a rock critic for the Yorkshire Evening Post while at college. He began teaching English after his graduation, leading a pub rock band called Brewer's Droop at night. By 1977, Mark was playing with his brother David (guitar) and his roommate John Illsley (bass). During the summer of 1977, the trio cut a demo with drummer Pick Withers. A London DJ named Charlie Gillett heard the demo and began playing "Sultans of Swing" on his BBC show Honky Tonkin'. Following a tour opening for Talking Heads, the band began recording their debut for Vertigo Records with producer Muff Winwood in early 1978. By the summer, they had signed with Warner in America, releasing their eponymous debut in the fall. Thanks to the Top Ten hit "Sultans of Swing," Dire Straits was a major success in both Britain and America, with the single and album climbing into the Top Ten on both sides of the Atlantic.

Dire Straits established Dire Straits as a major force on album-oriented radio in America, and their second album, Communique (1979), consolidated their audience, selling three million copies worldwide. As the group was recording its third album, David Knopfler left the band to pursue a solo career; he was replaced by former Darling member Hal Lindes. Like its predecessor, Making Movies was a sizable hit in America and Britain, even though the band was criticized for musically treading water. Nevertheless, the record went gold on the strength of the radio and MTV hits "Romeo and Juliet" and "Skateaway." Dire Straits followed the album two years later with Love Over Gold, an album filled with long, experimental passages, plus the single "Private Investigations," which became a number two hit in the U.K. The album went gold in America and spent four weeks at number one in Britain. Shortly after the release of Love Over Gold, former Rockpile drummer Terry Williams replaced Withers.

During 1982, Knopfler began exploring musical avenues outside of Dire Straits, scoring the Bill Forsyth film Local Hero and playing on Van Morrison's Beautiful Vision. Apart from releasing the Twisting by the Pool EP early in 1983, Dire Straits were quiet for the majority of 1983 and 1984, as Knopfler produced Bob Dylan's Infidels, as well as Aztec Camera and Willy DeVille; he also wrote "Private Dancer for Tina Turner's comeback album. In the spring of 1984, the band released the double album Alchemy: Dire Straits Live and by the end of the year, they had begun recording their fifth studio album with their new keyboardist, Guy Fletcher.

Released in the summer of 1985, Brothers in Arms was Dire Straits' breakthrough album, making the band international stars. Supported by the groundbreaking computer-animated video for "Money for Nothing," a song which mocked music videos, the album became a blockbuster, spending nine weeks at the top of the American charts and selling over nine million copies; in England, the album became the biggest-selling album of the '80s. "Walk of Life" and "So Far Away" kept Brothers in Arms in the charts through 1986, and Dire Straits played over 200 dates in support of the album. Once the tour was completed, Dire Straits went on hiatus for several years, as Knopfler produced records by Randy Newman and Joan Armatrading, scored films, toured with Eric Clapton, and recorded a duet album with Chet Atkins (Neck and Neck, 1990). In 1989, he formed the country-rock group Notting Hillbillies, whose sole album, Missing...Presumed Having a Good Time, became a British hit upon its spring 1990 release. During the extended time off, John Illsley recorded his second album; the first appeared in 1984.

In 1990, Knopfler reconvened Dire Straits, which now featured Illsley, Clark, Fletcher, and various session musicians. The band released On Every Street in the fall of 1991 to great anticipation. However, the album failed to meet expectations -- it only went platinum in America and it didn't crack the U.K. Top 40 -- and failed to generate a hit single. Similarly, the tour was a disappointment, with many tickets going unsold in both the U.S. and Europe. Once the tour was completed, the live album On the Night was released in the spring of 1993 and the band again went on hiatus. In 1996, Knopfler launched his solo career with Golden Heart. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Millionaire Blues (Single)

1. Millionaire Blues

x

Track List: Kingdom Come

x

Track List: Sultans Of Swing: The Very Best Of Dire Straits

1. Sultans Of Swing

2. Lady Writer

3. Romeo And Juliet

4. Tunnel Of Love

5. Private Investigations (Edit)

6. Twisting By The Pool

7. Love Over Gold (Live)

8. So Far Away

9. Money For Nothing (Radio Edit)

10. Brothers In Arms

11. Walk Of Life

12. Calling Elvis

13. Heavy Fuel

14. On Every Street

15. Your Latest Trick (Live)

16. Local Hero / Wild Theme (Live)

x

Track List: On Every Street (Remastered)

1. Calling Elvis

2. On Every Street

3. When It Comes To You

4. Fade To Black

5. The Bug

7. Heavy Fuel

8. Iron Hand

9. Ticket To Heaven

10. My Parties

11. Planet Of New Orleans

12. How Long

x

Track List: Brothers In Arms

1. So Far Away

2. Money For Nothing

3. Walk Of Life

4. Your Latest Trick

5. Why Worry

6. Ride Across The River

7. The Man's Too Strong

8. One World

9. Brothers In Arms

x

Track List: Alchemy: Dire Straits Live (Remastered)

Disc 1

1. Once Upon A Time In The West (Live At Hammersmith Odeon, London/1983)

2. Expresso Love (Live At Hammersmith Odeon, London/1983)

3. Romeo And Juliet (Live At Hammersmith Odeon, London/1983)

4. Love Over Gold (Live At Hammersmith Odeon, London/1983)

5. Private Investigations (Live At Hammersmith Odeon, London/1983)

6. Sultans Of Swing (Live At Hammersmith Odeon, London/1983)

Disc 2

1. Two Young Lovers (Live At Hammersmith Odeon, London/1983)

2. Tunnel Of Love (Live At Hammersmith Odeon, London/1983)

3. Telegraph Road (Live At Hammersmith Odeon, London/1983)

4. Solid Rock (Live At Hammersmith Odeon, London/1983)

5. Going Home (Live At Hammersmith Odeon, London/1983)

x

Track List: Love over Gold

1. Telegraph Road

2. Private Investigations

3. Industrial Disease

4. Love Over Gold

5. It never rains

x

Track List: Making Movies

1. Tunnel Of Love

2. Romeo and Juliet

3. Skateaway

4. Expresso Love

5. Hand In Hand

6. Solid Rock

7. Les Boys

x

Track List: Communique

1. Once Upon A Time In The West

2. News

3. Where Do You Think You're Going?

4. Communique

5. Lady Writer

6. Angel Of Mercy

7. Portobello Belle

8. Single-Handed Sailor

9. Follow Me Home

x

Track List: Dire Straits

1. Down To The Waterline

2. Water Of Love

3. Setting Me Up

4. Six Blade Knife

5. Southbound Again

6. Sultans Of Swing

7. In The Gallery

8. Wild West End

9. Lions

Comments

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Mark and his Telacaster,c a u g h t them in LA.
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bros in arms was my 1st. CD
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❤❤❤❤❤❤❤
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Awesome song, thanks pandora
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ttaylor07
One of the most outstanding intros of any song. Needs to be turned up in a dead silent room to hear all the nuances.
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'Making Movies' by Dire Straits--one of the greatest albums of all time. You know it's a killer album when 'Romeo and Juliet' is one of the lesser songs. Absolutely idolize the mumbling staccato guitar at the end: 'you and me, babe, how about it.'
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fiel225
Boot Scoot Wear Your Cowboy Boots yea harr������❤️
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I want my, i want my, i want my MTV
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lasiter803
One World, awesome song
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Why are there no lyrics to any songs?
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❤❤❤❤❤
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After all of the violence and double talk..."Walk of Life"
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dragonlady60 8 8
EXCELLANT SONG
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Too bad they censored it
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Ray Devine has hit the nail on the head. I believe DS to be the Beatles of the 70, what an influence they have had.
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Sting singing backup ..just in case
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Sting iust singing backup..just in case
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Really a great album, wish Pandora would play more songs.
So far away!!
✌️
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Mark Knopfler is my most favorite guitar player song writer singer .I go around to hear all kinds but end up back here.
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Great song ❤
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One of the best self titled albums ever released
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dragonlady60 8 8
I love this SONG...
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dragonlady60 8 8
TOM PETTY
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dragonlady60 8 8
DIRE STRAITS ROCK
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Here comes Johnny!! Singing oldie Goldie's!!
Cool!!
& do the walk of life!!
✌️
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pedrojlopes
Formative years for me...
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Seen them in a Bar in London Live about 1977 in Chelsea they were Fantastic that close.
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finnax
Awesomely dire
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secondary.po r t a l
Ahhh so far away from me even without rhe 80's flamingo pink wash, its amazing stuff.
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thomvee
feedback is right.
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The Band Is Blowing " DIXIE"
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Check it out
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I just can't see
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feedbacksoun d 3
I'm always sad when Money for Nothing is considered to be their greatest hit. EVERYTHING else Mark wrote is better than that tripe.
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seaotter_802 2 8
Favorite band, along with Big Head Todd, still remember when my room-mate first brought home the signature album and set it on the turntable. Gold spilled out, we wore that album out and had to replace it. With all that play, it's still genius.
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It's a thing of beauty when Mark Knopfler is in full sail--e.g. 'Lady Writer', or 'Solid Rock.' His solo stuff is solid, and he writes well, but I miss the breakneck pace of Espresso Love---hard to keep the car under 90.
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Nudnik
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schnipsy0
So thankful, I met my Trustfunder. .
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schnipsy0
You know its evil when your livin alone...
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Hey, Tonedef1, people always do that on every site. And then they never repost, so you never know what song they've actually heard.
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jvenedicto
Sultan play rock
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I gotta dedicate this to my old friend Rhonda from the old party days in Price, Utah- Sherry misses ya#
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Diz Dat Shyt U Light A J To And Floor It On A El Camino SS
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DS's is one of favorite groups...lov e their music...thei r lyrics and their riffs...
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tdoug_78
The effort is appreciated tonedef1, but the listeners will never collectively be as bright as the best : )
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tonedef1
To the people of the future who comment here and happen to read this: You are commenting on the Artist page for Dire Straits, NOT on the actual song you're listening to. So if you comment 'Love this song' and don't mention the song name, no one will ever have any idea what song you're talking about.
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mthunting
Setting Me Up from the 1st record, ws always a favorite, you don't often hear Mark tear it up on a Telecaster !
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normandel194 8
normandel: Knophler's guitar has spoken to me for 30 years! Didn't he do music score for Princess Bride?
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mark on the guitar is just sweetness
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maggiekksb
Just follow snowonpines
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