Personalities | Dire Straits | Eighties | Rock

(Vocal/instrumental group, 1977–95)

Led by guitarist Mark Knopfler with brother David (guitar), John Illsley (bass) and Pick Withers (drums), Dire Straits went from playing the London pub circuit to a US hit album. Knopfler’s inventive, plectrum-free guitar playing, street-poet lyrics and fine pop rock tunesmithery combined to launch their huge career. Their debut single, ‘Sultans Of Swing’, was a punchy, likeable helping of Dylanesque roots rock. Communique (1979) and Love Over Gold (1982) paved the way for the multiple-platinum Brothers In Arms (1985). ‘Money For Nothing’ from that selection satirized the very business they were in. Only one studio album, 1991’s slightly disappointing On Every Street, followed, and Knopfler embarked on a solo career that included soundtrack composition. Dire Straits will be remembered as an intelligent but accessible band who could run the gamut from the borderline experimental (the intro to ‘Private Investigations’, 1982) to the chug-a-long pop rock of ‘Walk Of Life’ (1985).

Styles & Forms | Eighties | Rock
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Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, general editor Michael Heatley


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