Biography

Dire Straits are a London-based rock band formed in 1977. The original lineup included Mark and David Knopfler, Pick Withers and John Illsley. The name of the group reflected the financial troubles of the quartet, which were so bad that they hardly scraped money to record their demo. The musicians were lucky enough to have their song Sultans Of Swing played on the BBC radio to attach the interest of the Vertigo company. The debut album named after the band was released in 1978. Despite their punk rock past, Dire Straits musicians produced a type of music beyond traditional definitions. A mixture of swing, blues, country and funk was decorated with Mark’s prominent acoustic guitar play and his unique way of singing. Britain was experiencing punk rock boom at that time, which predetermined the charts failure of their first album. The music by Dire Straits was too intelligent for those times, but promising for the critics.

In the late 1979, Dire Straits started recording the second album, Communique (1979). This one was a sign of the group’s progress with improved melodiousness, arrangements and vocals. This studio work overcame the debut album and hit the leading positions in numerous charts, including the first place in Germany. Some of the songs, including Once Upon A Time In A West, Lady Writer, and Angel Of Mercy became trademarks of Dire Straits. Even the big success of the sophomore album did not keep David Knopfler on the band. He refused to stay in his brother’s shadow and started a solo career. The third album of Dire Straits, Making Movies, released in 1980, was not on a par with its predecessor, although the single Romeo and Juliet had a good charts history. It appeared that this album was a kind of preparation before making a masterpiece. Love Over Gold, released in 1982, earned Dire Straits world fame. It was recorded with two new musicians, Hal Lindes and Alan Clarc, and became a prototype of progressive rock. It revealed a focus on instrumental play without canonized structures and strict patterns. The sophisticated lyrics and well considered atmosphere fitted perfectly an integral piece of music consisting of five chapters. This album soared to the tops of 16 national charts making each song a separate hit. Mark revealed himself as a brilliant composer and received a number of invitations to write music for the movies.

Meanwhile, Pick Withers quit Dire Straits wishing to play jazz and leaving the drum kit to Terry Williams. The studio activities were interrupted by heavily loaded tours and making the live album Alchemy (1984). However, the audience was not kept waiting long in vain. Brothers In Arms (1985) appeared another great album by Dire Straits to find admirers all over the world. Thank to such hits as Money For Nothing with Sting singing in the chorus, Walk Of Lise, Your Latest Trick, and Ride Across The River, this album became a best seller and charts leader in many a country. It made it even a bigger surprise that this release was followed by a long hiatus in the life of Dire Straits. The band reduced its activity to rare concerts, while Mark Knopfler was mainly occupied with soundtracks and recording for other performers. The long expected album On Every Street was released in 1991 and did not disappoint fans of the band. Nevertheless, it was the last studio work by Dire Straits. After releasing Live at the BBC in 1995, they decided to break up. On few occasions, the members reunited to play separate concerts, but Mark Knopfler refused to restore the band due to his deep interest in solo career. Private Investigations: The Best Of was released in 2005 to present a compilation of hits from the band's studio works and Mark's own projects.

Studio Albums

Dire Straits, On Every Street mp3On Every Street
1991
  • Blues Rock
  • Country Rock
  • Pop/Rock
  • Rock
Dire Straits, Brothers in Arms mp3Brothers in Arms
1985
  • Blues Rock
  • Pop/Rock
  • Rock
Dire Straits, Love Over Gold mp3Love Over Gold
1982
  • Country Rock
  • Progressive Rock
  • Rock
Dire Straits, Making Movies mp3Making Movies
1980
  • Pop/Rock
  • Rock
Dire Straits, Communique mp3Communique
1979
  • Rock
Dire Straits, Dire Straits mp3Dire Straits
1978
  • Rock

EP

Dire Straits, ExtendeDancEPlay mp3ExtendeDancEPlay
1983
  • Pop Rock
  • Rock & Roll

Compilation albums

Dire Straits, Money for Nothing mp3Money for Nothing
1988
  • Pop/Rock
  • Rock