Dire Straits a British rock band, formed in 1977 by Mark Knopfler
(guitar and vocals), his brother David Knopfler (guitar), John
Illsley (bass), and Pick Withers (drums), and subsequently
managed by Ed Bicknell. Although the band was formed in an era
when punk rock reigned, Dire Straits worked within the
conventions of classic rock, albeit with a stripped-down sound
that appealed to modern audiences weary of the overproduced
stadium rock of the 1970s. In their early days, Mark and David
requested that pub owners turn down the amps so that patrons
could converse while the band played indicative of their
unassuming demeanor. Despite this oddly self-effacing approach to
rock and roll, Dire Straits soon became hugely successful, with
their first album going multi-platinum globally.
The band's best-known songs include "Sultans of Swing", "Romeo
and Juliet", "Tunnel of Love", "Telegraph Road", "Private
Investigations", "Money for Nothing", "Walk of Life", "So Far
Away", "Brothers in Arms" and "Calling Elvis".
Dire Straits and Mark Knopfler have sold in excess of 118 million
albums to date.
1.1 Early years
1.2 Increased musical complexity
1.3 The Brothers in Arms era
1.4 Later years
2 Band members
7 External links
In 1978, Dire Straits recorded their first album, Dire Straits
(so called due to the financial condition the members were living
in at the time), at Basing Street studios (now known as 'Sarm
West') near Portobello Road in West London for ?12,500.[citation
needed]. During the initial U.K. release on Vertigo Records, a
division of Phonogram, the album had little promotion and was not
well received. However, the U.K. album came to the attention of
Karin Berg, an assistant in the artists and repertoire (A&R)
department of Warner Bros. Records in New York City. She felt it
was the kind of music that audiences were hungry for, but only
one person in her department agreed at first. "Other people
didn't hear it. The act was doing poorly in the U.K., and the
record wasn't getting air play." After the album was released in
the United States by Warner Brothers, it caught on quickly and
sold over 1 million copies. Later, when re-released as a single,
"Sultans of Swing" became a surprise U.K. chart hit, making the
top 10, and then went on to become a very popular live song
throughout the band's career. The first album eventually went top
10 in every European country.
The group's second album, Communique, followed in 1979.
Communique went to number one on the German album charts with
Dire Straits simultaneously at number three. Singles released
included "Lady Writer" and "Angel of Mercy". The album continued
in a similar monochromatic vein as the first album, if somewhat
more polished sonically. Within a year, however, this approach
would change along with the band's lineup.
Increased musical complexity
In 1980, Dire Straits released its third album, Making Movies.
This marked a move towards more-complex arrangements and
production which would continue for the remainder of the band's
career. The most successful chart single from the album was
"Romeo and Juliet", while the album's opening track "Tunnel Of
Love" (with its intro "The Carousel Waltz" written by Richard
Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II), went on to become another live
favorite. Making Movies saw the departure of David Knopfler while
the recording of the album was still in progress; Sid McGinnis
filled in on rhythm guitar as the sessions continued. The album
also featured keyboardist Roy Bittan from Bruce Springsteen's E
Street Band and was produced by Knopfler with Jimmy Iovine.
Although Mark played on one track on his younger brother David's
first solo album, the two men have not reconciled over the years.
Keyboardist Alan Clark and Californian guitarist Hal Lindes
joined the lineup for the fourth studio album, Love over Gold,
which was well received on its release in September 1982, and
reached #1 in the United Kingdom. The title was inspired by
graffiti seen from the window of Knopfler's old council flat in
Deptford, SE London. It was also the first Dire Straits album
produced solely by Mark Knopfler. Its main chart hit, "Private
Investigations", gave Dire Straits their first U.K. top 5 hit
single, reaching the number two position despite its almost
seven-minute length, and became one of the band's most popular
live songs. In other parts of the world, the single "Industrial
Disease" was the album's calling card, particularly in Canada
where it became a top 10 hit. Love over Gold reportedly sold two
million copies in the first six weeks of its release.