Formed in London in 1977, Dire Straits is an English rock band that is composed of David Knopfler on rhythm guitars and back-up vocals, Mark Knopfler on lead vocals and lead guitars, Pick Withers on drums and percussion and John Illsley on bass and back up vocals. Over the years, they have sold over 100 million records making Dire Straits one of the best selling artist of all time.
Although the band’s career lasted for only fifteen years with a split in 1998, a reunion in 1991 and another break up in 1995, Dire Straits still managed to spend over 1,110 weeks in the UK albums charts and their album “Brothers in Arms” is one of the best-selling albums in the UK. They have also won four Grammy Awards, Two MTV music video awards, and three Brit Awards. Dire Straits was also added in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.
Albums and Hit Singles
Over the course of their career, Dire Straits released a total of six studio albums and produces the hit singles namely:
- Dire Straits (1978)
- Communiqué (1979)
- Making Movies (1980)
- Love over Gold (1982)
- Brothers in Arms (1985)
- On Every Street (1991)
- Sultan Of Swings
- Money For Nothing
- Walk of Life
- So Far Away
- Brothers in Arms
- Romeo and Juliet
- Tunnel of Love
- Your Latest Trick
History and Career
The band was formed in London in 1997 by brothers Mark Knopfler and David Knopfer and they were joined by their friends John Illsley and Pick Withers. The band’s first name was “Café Racers” until a friend of Pick Withers suggested that they should name their band Dire Straits. They recorded their first demo in 1977 which contained the hit singles “Sultans of Swing”, “Water of Love” and “Down the Waterline.” The band first sent the demo tape to MCA music but they were turned down. While the band is on the search for the next recording company that they will be passing their demos to, Dire Straits decided to pay to DJ Charlie Gilett in his radio show. They are originally there to ask for some advice but Charlie Gillet was impressed with their work and decided to play the song “Sultans of Swing” on his show. After waiting for two months, Dire Straits finally landed on a record deal with Vertigo Records
Dire Straits released their first self-titled debut studio album in 1978. This album has caught the attention of an A&R representative named Karen Berg from Warner Brothers Records. and she immediately thought that Dire Strait’s music was just the kind of music that the American demographic was looking for.
In the same year, after they re-released their single “Sultans of Swing”, and Dire Straits served as the front act for the band Talking Heads. This finally led to a contract deal with Warner Bro’s Records. and when they internationally released their first self-titled debut album, it reached the top of the charts in the United States, Canada, and New Zealand.
In 1978, Dire Straits started their first North American Tour in which they have managed to seell out all 51 concerts in the United States in just 38 days. Their single “Sultans of Swings” grabbed the number four spot in the US Charts. That song was also the one they performed in Los Angeles when Bob Dylan first saw and heard them. Bob Dylan was so impressed that he even invited Mark Knopfler and Pick Withers to play in his album “Slow Train Coming”.
In June 1979, Dire Straits released their second studio album with the title “Communique”. The album straightly went in the number one spot in the German charts. This album had the similar sound as their debut album but that approach changed with their line-up started to change.
In 1980, Dire Straits released their third album with the title “Making Movies” This album became a hit in the United States and the UK and went gold. Two years later, Dire Straits released their album “Love Over Gold”. This album featured long, experimental passages and the hit single “Private Investigations. This album spent four weeks at the top spot of the UK charts. But just months after this album’s release, Pick Wither’s left the band and was replaced by Terry Williams.
After releasing their EP “Twisting by the Pool” in 1983, Dire Straits went on a hiatus and took the time to focus on their personal careers. And in 1984, they released their double album with the title “Alchemy: Dire Straits Live” and by December on that same year, they started recording their fifth studio album and they were joined by their new keyboardist, Guy Fletcher.
In 1985, Dire Straits released their fifth album, “Brothers in Arms” which became their breakthrough album. This was also the album that put Dire Straits squarely into the international music scene. This album featured their hit song “Money for Nothing” which had a ground-breaking computer animated music video. This album was Dire Straits most successful album because it spent nine weeks in the number one spot of the US Charts and has sold almost nine million copies in the UK. They also went on the “Brothers at Arms” tour in 1986. But unfortunately, after the tour was over, Dire Straits went on a hiatus for many years.
In 1990, through the efforts of Knopfler, Dire Straits recorded and released their album “On Every Street” which featured Dire Strait members Illsley, Clark and Fletcher. Unfortunately, the album did not meet the predicted sales although it went platinum in America. The supporting tour was a disappointment too because tickets went unsold in the UK and Europe. After wrapping up the tour, Dire Straits released their live album “On the Night” and they went on a hiatus in 1993.