impossible not to recognize the classic rifts that stream
from Mark Knopfler's guitar, the ones that have become
synonymous with the signature sound of Dire Straits. After
starting in Deptford, South London in 1977, Dire Straits
have proceeded to coin such rock 'n' roll classics as
"Sultans of Swing" and the evergreen call for a
coolness injection, "Money for Nothing (I want my
MTV)." They also have sold millions of albums and
become famous in the mid-'80s as a premier live act.
June and November 1977, Mark Knopfler (guitar/vocals), his
younger brother David Knopfler (guitar), John Illsley
(bass) and Pick Withers (drums) began rehearsing some of
the songs Mark had written. They played their first gig, a
punk festival headlined by Squeeze, under the name Cafe
Racers. Soon thereafter, they recorded a demo and took it
to BBC Radio London DJ Charlie Gillett, a renowned
talent-spotter. He played the tape on his Honky Tonk show,
and after Phonogram A&R man John Stainze heard the
music, Dire Straits signed to the Vertigo label.
winter of 1978, Dire Straits recorded their first
self-titled LP at Basing Street Studios in London, which
included "Sultans of Swing," "Water of
Love" and "Six Blade Knife." The band
signed to Warner Bros. in the United States and from
November 1978 to January 1979, they recorded Communique,
which reached No. 11 in the U.S. and was the first album
to ever to enter the German charts at No. 1.
to July 1980, they recorded Making Movies, which
included the tracks "Tunnel of Love,"
"Solid Rock," "Skateaway" and
"Romeo and Juliet." E Street Band pianist Roy
Bittan played keyboards on the album replacing Knopfler on
guitar, and Alan Clark from Durham, N.C., joined on
keyboard. After releasing 1982's Love Over Gold and
the 1984 live double album Alchemy, (during which
time Withers left the band), Dire Straits recorded their
most commercially popular album, Brothers in Arms.
the hit songs "So Far Away," "Walk Of
Life," "Money For Nothing" and "Your
Latest Trick," Brothers in Arms entered the
U.K. chart at No. 1 and stayed there for three weeks. It
reached No. 1 in the United States in August 1995 and
stayed there for nine weeks. "Money For Nothing"
with Sting as guest vocalist, is Dire Straits' first
American No. 1 single. In the following months, Brothers
In Arms also tops the charts in Canada, Brazil,
Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Finland, France,
German, Greece, Iceland, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden,
Switzerland, Turkey, Yugoslavia, Australia, New Zealand,
Hong Kong and Israel.
a 200-date tour in support of the album, the band went on
an extended hiatus. Dire Straits got back together in 1990
- this time with Knopfler, Illsley, Clark and Fletcher -
to record On Every Street, which was released in
1991. The album didn't live up to their earlier success
and failed to produce any hit singles. The band went on
hiatus again after the release of a live album, On the
Night in 1993. Knopfler released his first solo album,
Golden Heart, in 1996.