Album #419 – Dire Straits
To understand just how different Dire Straits were in 1978, you have to look at that time. Punk rock, new wave, funk and disco were popular forms of music. Nobody was doing what Mark Knopfler and company were doing. Their sound was a mixture of rock & roll, country, pub rock and folk. Mark Knopfler was as much influenced by Chet Atkins and James Burton as he was by Eric Clapton. The pub rock movement at the time was very much roots based as compared to punk’s hard edge. In fact, many punk bands, including The Clash, started out as pub rock bands. But, Dire Straits made their own sound within that movement. Mark Knopfler was one of the best guitarists to come out of the late seventies. His country influenced style set him apart. Knopfler was also a good storyteller, writing songs about his life in London and Leeds. But, the centerpiece of their first album is Sultans of Swing, one of Dire Straits’ most well-known and signature songs. The song was based on Knopfler experience of seeing an amateur jazz band called the Sultans of Swing in a local pub. What results is one of the most surprising hits of 1979. My dad loves the song and he remembers it being all over the radio when it became a hit. Dire Straits will always be one of my favorite bands. Mark Knopfler is a master storyteller and with his rough-sounding voice, he captures your attention. He is a modern day raconteur, a quality missing from popular music. This probably has to do with the fact that he was a writer before he became a full-fledged singer-songwriter. Dire Straits would become one of the biggest bands in rock by the mid-80’s and eventually split up in 1995. Mark Knopfler now has a solo career and continues to tell great stories and play guitar in a unique, inspiring way. Other highlights include: Down to the Waterline, Water of Love, Setting Me Up, In The Gallery & Wild West End. Overall, I give Dire Straits, 5 out of 5.
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