Did You Know: Dire Straits

Some worth-knowing fact about Mark Knopfler and the legendary band Dire Straits!

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  • Sting sings on the song "Money for Nothing" and helped write it. That's him at the beginning singing "I want my MTV." Sting did not want a songwriting credit, but his record company did because they would have earned royalties from it. They claimed it sounded very similar to a song Sting wrote for The Police: "Don't Stand So Close To Me."

  • Mark Knopfler wrote "Walk Of Life" song to celebrate the street buskers of London.

  • Knopfler got a lot of songwriting ideas from observing everyday people. For example - he got the idea for "Sultans of swing" from watching a lousy club band perform. As the story goes, Knopfler was in Ipswich on a rainy night. He ducked into a bar where a mediocre band was closing out the night to an audience that was maybe four or five drunks unaware of their surroundings. The hapless band ended their set with the lead singer announcing, with no apparent irony, "Goodnight and thank you. We are the Sultans of swing!"

  • The innovative video for "Money For Nothing" was one of the first to feature computer generated animation. The characters were supposed to have more detail, like buttons on their shirts, but they used up the budget and had to leave it as is. It won Best Video at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards.

  • "Sultans of Swing" was Dire Straits' first single. It was one of 5 songs on a demo tape they used to get their record deal. The tape got played on London radio and started a bidding war for the band. In one occasion Mark Knopfler said that he is sick of this song because he had to play it over 1,000 times.

  • The video for the song "Money For Nothing" was the first video played on MTV Europe. The network went on the air August 1, 1987, 6 years after MTV in the US.

  • The album version of the "Sultans Of swing" featured a critically acclaimed extended guitar solo, reaching #22 on Guitar World's list of the greatest guitar solos and #32 on Rolling Stone Magazine's list of greatest guitar songs.

  • Knopfler's song "Going Home" from the soundtrack to Local Hero is played before kick-off at Newcastle United's home matches at St James' Park.

  • A memorable live version of "Sultans Of Swing" came as an 11-minute epic performance at the 1988 Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute concert in London when Eric Clapton teamed up with the band to play the song.

  • Mark Knopfler played a Les Paul Junior plugged into a Laney amp on this "Money For Nothing". Producer Neil Dorfsman recalled in Sound On Sound magazine May 2006: "We were going for a ZZ Top sound, but what we ended up getting was kind of an accident."

  • Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits have sold in excess of 120 million albums to date.

  • Mark Knopfler is one of the most respected fingerstyle guitarists of the modern rock era and was ranked #27 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time."

  • 6 comments sorted by best / new / date

      Joowst
      Dire straits is awesome. knew some stuff allready but it's about dire straits so i dont care
      petkovski
      hawk_kst wrote: Some cool facts. Several pointless ones...
      Thanks anyway!
      Joowst wrote: Dire straits is awesome. knew some stuff allready but it's about dire straits so i dont care
      Dire Straits are revolution in rock music
      Frank_Black
      The guitar tone on Money For Nothing is great, and now I want to hear that 11-minute performance of Sultans of Swing. Youtube, maybe?
      petkovski
      Frank_Black wrote: The guitar tone on Money For Nothing is great, and now I want to hear that 11-minute performance of Sultans of Swing. Youtube, maybe?