Dire Straits

Dire Straits was a British rock band that was founded by Mark Knopfler and his younger brother David Knopfler, John Illsley and Pick Withers and 1977. Since 1995 the band is inactive. Dire Straits with their songwriter Mark Knopfler have sold 120 million albums and are thus among the most successful bands of the last decades.

  • 4.1 Studio albums
  • 4.2 EPs
  • 4.3 Live albums
  • 4.4 Compilations


1977-1983: Breakthrough with Sultans of Swing

The group was founded in 1977 by Mark Knopfler, his brother David Knopfler, John Illsley and Pick Withers. The band's name means something like " dud " or "serious emergency " and plays on the financial situation of the members in the early days of the group.

1977 sent Dire Straits a demo tape to the BBC. The recordings were often played on the radio, so that record companies were aware of the band. Dire Straits got a record deal and the management took over Ed Bicknell, who accompanied Mark Knopfler to 2000 on his solo career. Their debut album, Dire Straits was initially little attention in the UK, it was at the height of the punk wave at first. In the Netherlands, Germany and later in the U.S., but the album became a success. The album and the coupled Singles Down to the Waterline and particularly Sultans of Swing Mark Knopfler featured as a singer, composer and especially as a guitarist in the center.

After the second album, Communiqué (1978 ) with songs like Once Upon a Time in the West or Portobello Belle came in 1980 with their third album Making Movies, the final breakthrough. During the recording of this album guitarist David Knopfler left the band because he was increasingly hostile to the dominant role of his brother and felt musically concentrated. He wanted to bring in their own contributions, so that was in the group but not heard.

David Knopfler was finally replaced by the Americans Hal Lindes. It was also for the subsequent touring keyboardist Alan Clark, who comes as Knopfler from Newcastle upon Tyne, brought in as a permanent member of the band. Making Movies became the perennial favorite. Fans witnessed the careful production of the album as a special listening experience when using earphones. The single Romeo and Juliet in 1981 reached number 8 in the UK charts.

A further increase in record sales achieved in 1982 with the Dire Straits album Love Over Gold - after the recordings of Love over gold drummer Pick Withers left the band, he was replaced by the rock and roll drummer Terry Williams - and the Single Private Investigations. The recorded in London in July 1983 at the Hammersmith Odeon live album Alchemy cemented her status as an outstanding live band.

1985-1993: climax with Brothers in Arms

After a break appeared in 1985 album Brothers in Arms, which had taken the band on the island of Montserrat. It was one of the first albums of an already internationally successful band, which was digitally produced and thus to break the compact disc (CD) and contributed to the replacement of the vinyl record. During the recording of the second keyboardist Guy Fletcher joined them. In keeping with the new medium of CD, the CD was released in two versions (the CD is a good ten minutes longer than the LP). Philips and Sony put even when buying a CD player for a few months a Brothers -in- Arms - CD at.

The Singles So Far Away, Money for Nothing, Walk of Life, and the title song of the band secured to the end of 1986 millions of album sales and the top 10 singles successes. In July 1985, Dire Straits were also listen to the Live Aid concert at Wembley Stadium with Money for Nothing ( with the support of Sting ) and Sultans of Swing. After an extensive tour, where they were reinforced by the saxophonist Chris White, the band disappeared from the scene. Mid-1987, reported the British music magazine New Musical Express, Dire Straits had dissolved, without contradiction harvest it.

In June 1988, the band on the occasion of the 70th birthday of Nelson Mandela was back. As a headline act, they played about 57 minutes at Wembley Stadium - along with the popular guest guitarist Eric Clapton ( Walk of Life, Sultans of Swing, Romeo and Juliet, Money for Nothing, Brothers in Arms, Wonderful Tonight, Solid Rock ).

1990 took Knopfler, Illsley, Fletcher and Clark with studio musicians, their sixth and last studio album: On Every Street. The Singles Calling Elvis Heavy Fuel and were compared to the earlier, although less, the album yet commercially successful. The following recent world tour with the cast Knopfler, Illsley, Fletcher, Clark, augmented by saxophonist Chris White, the second guitarist Phil Palmer, the drummer Chris Whitten, percussionist Danny Cummings, and the pedal steel guitarist Paul Franklin, lasted 14 months and consisted of about 300 concerts. In October 1992 Knopfler mixed the live album On the Night of two concerts in France and the Netherlands. Since then, the band found, although never officially disbanded, not back together.

Mark Knopfler devoted himself to his solo career with musicians from the Nashville scene and his bandmate Guy Fletcher.

1995 -present: Resolution and reunions

1995 Mark Knopfler expressed the desire not to go on tour around the world.

On June 19 In 1999, Mark Knopfler, John Illsley, Alan Clark and Guy Fletcher, reinforced by Ed Bicknell on drums, one last time as a band on John Illsleys wedding on.

Since the unofficial separation Mark Knopfler has expressed no interest in bringing together the band again, although Guy Fletcher has been involved in almost all of Knopfler's solo works. 2007 Knopfler said that he did not miss the global fame at the height of the Dire Straits ( "It was just too much ").

In October 2008, John Illsley told the British broadcaster BBC that he was interested in a reunion tour with Dire Straits. At the same time he also mentioned that Mark Knopfler currently have no interest because he had great success as a solo artist. Knopfler declined a request by Illsley.

In early 2011 founded the former Dire Straits keyboardist Alan Clark, the band " The Straits ".

Music style

Characteristic of Dire Straits albums are comparatively few, but long songs. These are also described as ballads, but stand out mainly due to the extremely technically savvy handling of the instruments, especially the guitar. This falls on Mark Knopfler's cantabile melody design, coaxes from his guitar at solos and / or instrumental discharges a particularly soft and singing tone. Many songs start with a very long intro, the song often sets a relatively late. Unlike common in popular music, can be found here, no uniform structure with clear repetitions and refrains. Instead, many songs are created on a climax and end with a long outro, which represents the part itself is another highlight. An example is the song Telegraph Road, which appeared in over a 14- minute-long studio version on the album Love Gold, Where Do You Think You're Going Communiqué from the album, Tunnel of Love ( Making Movies ), On Every Street from the same album Speedway at Nazareth or from the Sailing to Philadelphia solo album Knopfler.

Membership in the band (1977 to 1995)


Studio albums


Live albums