Dire Straits Biography

Review The Artist (12)

Dire Straits-photo
1977

June 1977 - Nov 1977. English graduate and former Yorkshire Evening Post journalist, Mark Knopfler, (born Aug. 12, 1949, Glasgow, Strathclyde, Scotland), a part time teacher and pub rock player and songwriter, having spent two months with northern UK band Brewers Droop, before forming Café Racers, is sharing a flat with fellow group members in Deptford, South London. His cohorts are social worker and guitarist brother, David Knopfler, (born Dec. 27th 1952, Glasgow), and sociology undergraduate and bank manager's son John Illsley (born June 24th 1949, Leicester, England), and they frequently jam and rehearse Mark's own material. They are joined by Pick Withers, (born April 4th 1948). Under the name of Mark's previous band, Café Racers, the line up debuts at a punk festival, headlined by Squeeze, on waste ground behind Farrar House. A friend of Pick's - seeing their financial plight - suggests the name Dire Straits, which they do for their second gig - supporting Squeeze at the local legendary Albany Theat

re.

The band scrapes together £120 and records a demo tape at Pathway Studios, North London, Mark and John take the tape round to Charlie Gillett, a DJ with Radio London, and, unknown to the band, Charlie plays the tape on his "Honky Tonk" show. Oct 1977. Phonogram Records' A and R man, John Stainze, one of many impressed by the broadcast demos, tracks down the band, and after strong competition, signs it to Phonogram's Vertigo label for the world, excluding The USA.

Nov 1977. Billed as Dire Straights, the band plays London's Hope and Anchor pub.

Dec 1977. Ed Bicknell, (former drummer in Jess Conrad's band), then an agent at NEMS Agency, hears the band's tape when Stainze enquires about an agency deal for it and, after seeing the group perform at Dingwalls club in London, asks to manage them. An informal agreement is reached, and Ed puts the band on as support on the forthcoming Talking Heads UK tour, where Dire Straits get an encore every night.

1978

Feb 14 1978 - Mar 8 1978. Dire Straits record their first LP at Basing Street Studios in London, with producer Muff Winwood (The project will cost £12,500 including artwork to complete).

Mar/Apr 1978. Residency at the Marquee Club, London. Shows sold out to great reviews

May 1978. Dire Straits tour the UK supporting Climax Blues Band, and also make their first visit to Europe where they support Styx (Paris, Hamburg and the Hague). "Sultans Of Swing" is released in the UK. It enters the charts in the lower thirties, and drops out the following week.

June 8 1978. The bands first album is released in the UK, it enters the Top 50, gets to 37 then drops out. The band's first headlining UK tour ends with two sold out shows at the Marquee. Meanwhile, a deal has been concluded for the group's record to be released on Warner Brothers in The USA.

July 1978. The first album is released in Belgium and Holland.

Sept 1978. Mark visits the Muscle Shoals Studios, AL, meeting producer Jerry Wexler and playing on a Mavis Staples' session. A deal is struck with Wexler and Muscle Shoals keyboard player Barry Beckett, for them to produce Dire Straits' second album.

Oct 1978. Album sales increase in Europe, and "Sultans Of Swing" is released as a single there and does well. The band tour Holland, Belgium and W. Germany to sell-out crowds.

Nov 1 - 18 1978. Sell-out British university tour - new material played for the first time.

Nov 1978. The band's debut album, having been released in The USA on Oct 20, is receiving widespread initial airplay reaction.

Nov 27 1978. Band departs for Compass Point Studios, Nassau, Bahamas, to record second album, "Communiqué". Meanwhile a debut US tour is set up for the following
February.

Dec 1978. First album reaches number 1 in Australia, and goes gold in New Zealand. It is also developing into a massive hit in The USA, Canada, Germany, Holland, Belgium and France.


1979

Jan 1 - 10 1979. Mixing of "Communiqué" album at Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

Feb 1979. First album goes to number 1 in France. Goes platinum in Australia and New Zealand, (where it is number 3). "Sultans Of Swing" is at number 4 in Australia. Band decide that "Communiqué" should be released world-wide in June.

Feb 23 - Apr 3 1979. Dire Straits debut US tour. 51 sold out shows in 38 days, over 300 interviews, and dozens of radio studio visits. When the band get to New York, they are told the album has just gone gold, and as they get to Los Angeles, it goes platinum. Bob Dylan sees the band and invites Mark and Pick to play on his next LP. Meanwhile the first album goes to number 2 on the American Billboard Charts (41 weeks), and the single goes to number 5 in Canada.At the same time, things are going well in Europe: "Dire Straits" goes gold in Germany, and takes off in Denmark and Sweden.

April 7 1979. Phonogram UK decide to re-activate "Sultans Of Swing", and it hits UK #8 and US #4.

Apr 21 1979. Boosted by the success of "Sultans Of Swing", the album "Dire Straits" hits UK #5 (The album will eventually be a million seller in both the UK and US, and will spend 132 weeks on the UK survey).

May 1 - 12 1979. Mark and Pick work with Bob Dylan in Muscle Shoals on his forthcoming album "Slow Train Coming"

June 5 1979. Release of "Communiqué".

June 1979. Sold out UK tour. The group are presented with gold albums for "Dire Straits" and for the pre-sales of "Communiqué".
"Communiqué" becomes the first LP EVER to enter the German charts at number 1 in it's first week of release (and the first LP is still at number 3 in that country)

June 30 1979. The album "Communiqué", once again entirely written by Mark and released to coincide with another sell-out UK and European tour hits UK #5.

Aug 4 1979. The album "Communiqué" makes US #11.

Aug 11 1979. The extracted "Lady Writer" peaks at UK #51.

Aug 25 1979. "Lady Writer" makes US #45.

Sept 1979. Second USA tour. "Communiqué" is now a world-wide hit, while in many countries, the first album is still in the top 10. Both albums have now gone gold and platinum in South Africa, the Scandinavian countries, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, the UK, USA and Canada. "Communiqué" enters the New Zealand chart at number 1.

Nov 1979. Sold out tour of Holland, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Dire Straits become only the third act ever to sell out the 14,000 seat Scandinavian Hall in Gothenburg.


1980

Apr 1980. Phil Lynott's Album "Solo in Soho", featuring Mark's distinctive fret-work, makes UK #28.

July 25 1980. After a month's recording sessions for the next album with new producer Jimmy Iovine, (He has been engineer/mixer on Bruce Springsteen's "Born To Run" LP and producer on Patti Smith's "Easter" LP). David Knopfler quits the band to pursue a solo career, which will yield the albums "Release" (UK #82, 1983), "Behind The Lines"
(1985), "Cut The Wire" (1987) and "Lips Against The Steel" (1988). New York session man Sid McGinnis replaces him temporarily.

Sep 1980. Following auditions, Hal Lindes (born June 30th 1953, Monterey, CA), ex-darling, and Alan Clark (born Mar. 5th 1952, Durham, England) are recruited on guitar and keyboard respectively.

Oct 17 1980. Release of "Making Movies" and Mark sets off on a short press tour of Europe to promote it.

Oct 20 - Nov 3 1980. Sold out North American tour including appearances by band on TV shows "Fridays" and "Solid Gold".

Dec 1 - Dec 24 1980. Sold out UK tour. Group interrupt tour on December 19 and 20 to do two dates in Dortmund, Germany, with Roxy Music and Talking Heads. The shows are titled "Rock Pop" and are televised throughout Europe in January 1981. One of the largest music show television audiences in history.

Dec 6 1980. Steely Dan's Album "Gaucho", featuring Mark on guest guitar, enters the US chart.

1981

Jan 1981. "Making Movies", with assistant from E Street Band keyboardist Roy Bittan, reaches US #19.

Jan 31 1981. The single "Skateaway" peaks at US #58.

Feb 14 1981. "Making Movies", assisted by the still climbing single "Romeo And Juliet" hits a belated UK chart peak of #4.

Feb 21 1981. "Romeo And Juliet" hits UK #8.

Mar/Apr 1981. Recently returned from a successful appearance at the San Remo Song Festival in Italy, the band embarks on its debut tour of Australia and New Zealand. Five sold out shows in Melbourne, four in Adelaide and seven in Sidney. The concert in Auckland turns out to be the highest-grossing show in the group's history so far…

Apr 11 1981. "Skateaway" makes UK #37.

May/Jun 1981. Tour of Northern Europe. All shows sold out and in Stockholm, band out-draws Wings and even local heroes Abba!

June/July 1981. Tour of Southern Europe, again all sold out. Over a quarter of a million people see the band at the Italian shows alone.

Oct 17 1981. "Tunnel Of Love" single peaks at UK #54.

1982

Feb 1982. Mark is invited by film producer David Puttnam to compose and perform the soundtrack score to Bill Forsyth's "Local Hero" movie. (He is also currently featured on Van Morrison's latest album, "Beautiful Vision".)

Mar 1 1982. The band begins recording it's fourth album. Immediately afterwards, Pick Withers leaves the band.

Apr 1982. Phil Lynott's album, "The Phil Lynott Album", including Mark's lead guitar on the track "Ode To Liberty" (which he also co-produced), is released.

Jul 1982. "Local Hero" soundtrack music is recorded, after Mark visits location shooting in Scotland.

Aug 1982. UK release of "Private Investigations" which goes on to become the band's most successful British single to date.. reached number 2 in the UK charts, behind Survivor's "Eye Of The Tiger", after only two weeks. Even though it was extremely long for a single, most radio DJ's actually played the entire song and didn't even speak over
it…

Sep 24 1982. World-wide release of "Love Over Gold". Band set off on TV and press tour of Europe.. On their return, they audition drummers, and select Terry Williams, ex-Man and Dave Edmunds band Rockpile, to replace Pick.

Oct 1982. Mark suddenly decides he wants to do a rock 'n' roll EP. "Twisting By The Pool" is recorded very quickly in London, and is Terry's first work with the band.

Oct 2 1982. The album "Love Over Gold", featuring the 14 minute opus "Telegraph Road", hits UK #1, where it stays for four weeks.

Nov 2 1982. Mark and Terry record with Phil Everly in London.

Nov 13 1982. "Love Over Gold" reaches US #19.

Nov 30 - Dec 21 1982. 22-date sold out UK tour. Tommy Mandel has joined the band for touring purposes on additional keyboards - Alan hasn't enough fingers to play all the parts! The four Wembley Arena shows are oversubscribed tenfold…..Meanwhile "Love Over Gold" has sold over 2 million copies and has reached number 1 in 16 countries, and number 2 in another four.

1983

Jan 1983. Mark and Alan go to New York to put the finishing touches to the "Local Hero" LP.

Jan 14 1983. "Twisting By The Pool" released world-wide, goes on to reach number 14 in the UK, and charts in several other countries too.

Jan 22 1983. The single "Industrial Disease" peaks at US #75.

Feb 8 1983. Dire Straits wins Best British Group at the second BRIT awards, at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London.

Feb 13 1983. Band go to Australia for the biggest-grossing tour ever undertaken in that territory. "Twisting By The Pool" goes to number 1 in Australia and number 2 in New Zealand.

Mar 12 1983. Mark's solo single, "Going Home", the theme from "Local Hero", debuts at its UK #56 peak.

Mar 26 1983. In Auckland, New Zealand, Dire Straits draw the largest public gathering ever in the history of New Zealand (62,000) and play to a further 36,000 in Wellington.

Apr 1983. Marketed in the US as a mini album, "Twisting By The Pool" makes US #53.

Apr 2 - 5 1983. Debut tour of Japan.

Apr 11 - May 8 1983. Mark in New York, co-producing and performing on Bob Dylan's "Infidels" album. He's assisted by Alan Clark, Mick Taylor (ex-Stones), Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare.

May 1983. Mark's "Local Hero" soundtrack album reaches UK #14.

May 5 1983. "Private Investigations" wins the Outstanding British Lyric category at the 28th annual Novello Awards, at London's Grosvenor House Hotel.

May July 1983. Sold out tour of Europe. During this tour, 12 shows are recorded for a possible live album. ("We decided subsequently to use a later recording made in London" - see July).

July 12 1983. Dire Straits play the first ever open air concert in Yugoslavia, at Zagreb. It is the largest rock concert in that country to date. They all fly back to the UK the next day, and leave immediately for an open air show in Dublin.

July 20 1983. Dire Straits headline a charity show for the Prince of Wales' Trust, at the Dominion Theatre, London, in the presence of Their Royal Highnesses, the Prince and Princess of Wales. Duran Duran are the opening act.

July 22/23 1983. Two special shows at Hammersmith Odeon, London, which are filmed for the forthcoming live LP/cassette/compact disc/video. Probably two of the best live shows the band have done to date. When Mark is mixing the shows for the "Alchemy" release, he decides not to have any overdubs or re-recording done at all, thus "Alchemy" is a truly live album (mistakes and all), unlike most so-called live albums which are heavily re-recorded and edited.

Summer/Autumn 1983. After mixing "Alchemy", Mark and John play on David Knopfler's solo LP "Release". Mark goes on to act as musical director and composer for David Putnam's next film "Cal" starring John Lynch and Helen Mirren, and also Bill Forsyth's next film "Comfort And Joy" starring Bill Patterson. John Illsley goes on to record his first solo album "Never Told A Soul", which includes session from Mark and Terry.

Nov 1983. Mark Marries Lourdes Salomon at Kensington Register Office, London.

1984

Feb 25 1984. Double A side single, "Love Over Gold/Solid Rock" (both live versions), makes UK #50.

Mar 1984. The album "Alchemy - Dire Straits Live" hits UK #3.

Spring 1984. "Alchemy" subsequently goes platinum in the UK, Eire, and Portugal, and double platinum in Australia and New Zealand. It reached number 1 in Greece and New Zealand, and reached the Top Ten in other countries, not bad going for a double live album.

Apr 19 1984. "Going Home" wins the Best Film Theme Or Song category at the 29th annual Ivor Novello Awards, again held at London's Grosvenor House Hotel.

May 1984. "Alchemy" makes US #46.

June 1984. Mark Knopfler produces "The Knife" LP by Aztec Camera. John Illsley releases the solo album "Never Told A Soul" on vertigo.

Autumn 1984. Mark's music for "Comfort And Joy" (his second score for director Bill Forsyth),released on three-track 12" EP, and his music for "Cal" released on LP/cassette/CD to coincide with the release of the film.

Oct 1984. Mark's soundtrack album "Cal" reaches UK #65. The album "Knife", by Aztec Camera and produced by Mark reaches UK #14 and US #175.

Late 1984. Recording commences for "Brothers In Arms", the album is recorded using the band's own digital 24-track machine at Air Studios, Monserrat, West Indies, throughout the winter and is finished at the Power Station Studios, New York. Hal Lindes leaves the band halfway through recording. Mark subsequently plays all guitar parts on
the record.

1985

Mar 23 1985. Tina Turner hits US #7 with the Knopfler-penned "Private Dancer" single (a left over from material written for the album "Love Over Gold").

Apr 1985. Single "So Far Away" released.

Band have replaced Hal Lindes - the new guitarist is Jack Sonni, a friend of Mark's who worked at Rudy's Music Stop, 48th Street, New York. They also add Guy Fletcher (born May 25 1960), formerly with Roxy Music and many sessions, on additional keyboards, and later, Chris White on sax ,late of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra.

New seven piece band rehearse for tour, in Yugoslavia.

The start of the "Live In '85" mega-tour, which went on to visit 23 different countries, 117 cities, and consisted of about 250 shows seen between two and a half and three million people. The tour commenced in Split, Yugoslavia, and ended over a year later in Sydney, Australia. In Australia alone, the group travelled 22,000 miles, and played to 810,000
fans. At various stages along the way, trucks were added or taken off, depending on the venue sizes, and at one point there were 11 trucks of equipment on the road, carrying 52 tonnes of gear. There were nearly 50 people travelling on the road (band, crew, office staff, catering staff, etc).

May 4 1985. The single "So Far Away" reaches UK #20.

May 17 1985.. World-wide release of "Brothers In Arms". Recorded with the Line-up of Mark Knopfler, John Illsley, Alan Clark, Terry Williams and Guy Fletcher, the album ships platinum in the UK (i.e. it is platinum on advance orders before coming out), and the project is the largest-ever ship of compact discs in history. LP enters UK charts at Number 1 on May 25, and holds the top slot for three weeks. Two tracks from the album eventually get used in episodes of "Miami Vice". "Brothers In Arms" is used in the
episode entitled "Out Where The Buses Don't Run", and "Ride Across The River" is used in "Knock Knock...Who's There".


June 15 1985. Bryan Ferry's Album "Boys And Girls" , featuring session fret-work by Mark hits UK #1.

June 27 1985. Dire Straits is awarded the 1985 Silver Clef for Outstanding Services to British Music by the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Centre.

Summer 1985. "Brothers In Arms" is at number 1 in Canada, USA, Brazil, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Eire, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, Turkey, Yugoslavia, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Israel, and South Africa. It is in the top ten in every country it was released in, and
is also selling well in countries, which have no charts (e.g. Bolivia, Colombia, Uruguay, Singapore, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, and most African countries).
July 1985. On UK section of tour, band sell out an unprecedented 13 nights at Wembley Arena (and could probably have done another 13 judging by ticket applications). On July 4th, one of the hottest days of the year, Prince Charles and Princess Diana attend the show. A week later, band appear at Live Aid on July 13th at Wembley Stadium in the afternoon
(another scorching hot day) and also play the Arena in the evening. Live Aid goes out live to over 80% of the total number of television sets in existence throughout the world. Over a billion people watched it - making it the biggest rock and TV event in history.

Alan Clark leaves the band, and Guy Fletcher joins on keyboards, for the tour.

Immediately after the last show at Wembley, band leave for tour of Canada and The USA, the Shows sell out one after the other, dates are added, and the band hardly get a day off.

Aug 10 1985. The single "Money For Nothing", featuring co-writer Sting on lead-in vocals (the immortal "I want my MTV") and taken from the album "Brothers In Arms" hits UK #4.

Aug 31 1985. The album "Brothers In Arms" begins a nine-week tenure at US #1. It will top charts in 25 countries and eventually sell over 20 million albums world-wide.

Sept 21 1985. Aided by an innovative animated Steve Barron-directed promo video which gets heavy MTV and other US TV exposure, the single "Money For Nothing" tops the charts for the first of three weeks, the band's biggest US hit, and its first million-selling single.

Oct 1985. Last US show October 13th. Band fly direct to Europe for tour till November 30th.

Dec 1985. Band fly home to UK and immediately start second leg of UK tour, starting with 21 shows back-to-back, including 7 nights at Hammersmith Odeon, which they play in preference to the larger Wembley Arena for the sake of the fans. A few days break over Christmas, then Scottish shows over the New Year.

The title track, "Brothers In Arms" is released as a single, and reaches UK #16. (It is notable as the first ever commercially issued CD-single in the UK, a limited pressing of 400 copies).

1986

Jan 1986. Band leaves for Sydney to start rehearsals.

Jan 25 1986. The single "Walk Of Life" hits US #7.

Feb 1986 "Walk Of Life" hits UK #2.

Feb 10 1986. Dire Straits is named Best British Group, for the second time, at the fifth annual BRIT awards, at London's Grosvenor House Hotel.

Feb 25 1986. They win the Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group with vocal category for "Money For Nothing", while the album "Brothers In Arms" is named Best Engineered Recording (Non Classical) and Mark snares the Best Country Instrumental Performance category with one of his original guitar heroes, Chet Atkins, for the song "Cosmic Square Dance" from the album "Stay Tuned", at the 28th annual Grammy Awards.

Feb - Apr 1986. Tour of Australia and New Zealand. Includes a 13-night stint in Melbourne and 21 night at the Sydney Entertainment Centre. The final show of the tour is April 26th, and is screened live on TV throughout Australia and New Zealand.
Apr 26 1986. Single "So Far Away" reaches US #19.

May 1986. The single "Your Latest Trick" reaches UK #26.

Mark, his acoustic guitar-maker Steve Phillips and Brendan Croker play at the Grove, a small folk club in Leeds, England, as a prelude to a more formal forthcoming collaboration.

Mid 1986. By now "Brothers In Arms" has gone 6 times platinum in the UK, 10 times platinum in Canada, 5 times platinum in the USA, 10 times platinum in Australia and a staggering 15 times platinum in New Zealand. It held the number 1 slot in Australia longer than any other LP, and has now become the best-selling compact disc ever to be released in the world.

June 1986. Mark races in the Mille Miglia car race in Italy, then produces two tracks for Tina Turner's "break every Rule" album ("Overnight Sensation" which he wrote himself, and "Paradise Is Here" by Paul Brady).

June 20 1986.Mark and John appear at Wembley Arena for a special Prince's Trust 10th Anniversary concert, attended by Prince Charles and Princess Diana. They play as part of a "super-group" also features Elton John, Mark King, Tina Turner, Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart, Paul McCartney, Phil Collins and a host of others. Later screened on TV in the UK and subsequently in many other countries throughout the world.

Summer 1986. Mark records a short piece of music for inclusion in the Martin Scorsese film "Color Of Money" (starring Tom Cruise and Paul Newman) and also records the music for a television documentary on Prince Charles and Princess Diana, titled "In Private In Public", shown on ITN in the UK and subsequently all over the world..

Sep 15 1986. "Money For Nothing" wins the Best Video and Best Group Video categories at the third annual MTV Video Music Awards, broadcast simultaneously from the Universal Amphitheatre, Universal City, CA, and The Palladium, New York. (The song lyric "I want my MTV" has become the cable station's catch-phrase).

Oct 24 1986. The group's sound engineer, Peter Grange, is killed in a road accident in Gloucestershire, England.

Oct 25 1986. In a celebrity car race before the Australian Grand Prix, Mark breaks his collarbone in an accident.

1987

Jan 1987. Mark guests at one of Eric Clapton's annual concert marathons at London's Royal Albert Hall.

Feb 9 1987. "Brothers In Arms" is named Best British Album at the sixth annual BRIT Awards, held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London.

Feb 24 1987. "Dire Straits Brothers In Arms" wins the Best Music Video, Long Form category at the 29th annual Grammy Awards.

March - May 1987. Mark joins a host of artists (Including Paul McCartney, Boy George and Mark King) to record a version of "Let It Be" to raise money for the families of the Zeebrugge ferry disaster victims - the single reached number 1 and stayed at the top of the charts for three weeks.

Mark joins Chet Atkins to do a short set at the Secret Policeman's Ball at the London Palladium, with all proceeds going to Amnesty International and subsequently flies to Nashville at the beginning of May to appear in a TV special "Tribute to Chet Atkins".

June 1987. John releases a single under the name "K. Wallis B and the Dark Shades of Night".

Aug 1 1987. "Money For Nothing" is the first music video broadcast on MTV Europe.

Sep 1987. Mark wins three Ascap Awards for "So Far Away", Money For Nothing" and "Walk of Life".

Nov 1987. Benefiting from the advent of compact disc, The album "Brothers In Arms" sells its three-millionth copy in the UK, becoming Britain's all-time best-selling album, and its second biggest selling recording of any kind. (Only the Band Aid's single "Do They Know Its Christmas" has a higher UK sales total.)

Nov 9 1987. Mark's wife Lourdes gives birth to twin boys - Benji and Joseph, who will inspire their daddy's composition, "I Love You Too Much", (which is subsequently recorded by Jeff Healey).

Nov 9 1987. "The Princess Bride" film soundtrack album is released.

1988

Feb 1988. Willy De Ville's album "Miracles", produced by Mark, is released by Polydor.

Apr 1988. Mark works with Bob Dylan on Dylan's album "Down In The Groove".

Spring/Summer 1988. Mark works on Randy Newman's new album scheduled for a September 1988 release.

May 1988. John's second solo album entitled "Glass" is released on Vertigo.

June 5/6 1988. Mark and Alan perform with Eric Clapton's band at the Prince's Trust shows at London's Royal Albert Hall.

June 8/9 1988. Dire Straits perform two warm up shows (Fan Club only) at Hammersmith Odeon.

June 11 1988. The group Headline the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday concert at London's Wembley Arena appearing with Simple Minds, Whitney Houston, Sting and others. Televised world-wide, with Eric Clapton guesting as second guitarist, the show helps the album "Brothers In Arms" back into the Top 20 after 162 weeks on the chart.

July 1988. Mark guests on Joan Armatrading's album "The Shouting Stage".

Sep/Oct 1988. Mark and Alan Join Eric Clapton for his US tour.

Sep 15 1988. After much speculation, Mark announces the official end of Dire Straits.

Oct 17 1988. The group release "Money For Nothing" Simultaneously on album, cassette and compact disc. Spanning 10 years of the groups career. It includes live versions of "Twisting By The Pool" and "Telegraph Road", goes straight to the top, on week of release. A multi-platinum success in the UK, in the US it peaks at #62, although the track listing is criticised.

Nov 5 1988. The extracted re-issue, "Sultans Of Swing", peaks at UK #62.

1989

Mar 1989. Dire Straits are featured on the Greenpeace supporting album "Rainbow Warriors", initially launched in Russia. (US country act Highway 101 hits US Country #2 with the single "Setting Me Up", originally written by Mark for Waylon Jennings in 1984, while the Judds' album "River Of Time", featuring their version of Mark's "Water Of Love", with the artist on guest guitar, is released the following month.)

Apr 1989. Mark and John (as Dire Straits) are honoured with the Outstanding Contribution To British Music at the 34th annual Ivor Novello Awards lunch, at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London.

Sep 11 1989. Jim Henson's "The Ghost Of Faffner Hall", on which Mark is one of many guests, airs on HBO-TV.

1990

Mar 17 1990. The Notting Hillbillies' album "Missing - Presumed Having A Good Time" debuts at UK #2. Mark has formed the band in a deliberate attempt to return to a more low-key performing act, with old friends Steve Phillips, Brendan Croker, (who teamed with Steve Phillips in 1976 in Nev and Norris), and Guy Fletcher, with whom Mark has been producing Croker and Phillips at his Notting Hill, London, Home Studio. Ed Bicknell, Dire Straits manager, is appointed drummer

Apr 2 1990. They embark on a UK tour, taking in 41 gigs in 43 days around Britain through April and May.

Apr 19 1990. Mark appears alongside David Gilmour, Mark King, Lemmy and Gary Moore, as witnesses in a comedy drama courthouse sketch on BBC-TV's "French and Saunders", and they end the sketch jamming together.

Apr 21 1990. The album "Missing - Presumed Having A Good Time" makes US #52.

May 19 1990. A modest venue Notting Hillbillies UK tour ends. They then appear on NBC-TV's "Saturday Night Live" with the line-up augmented by Nashville based Paul Franklin on pedal steel and Marcus Cliff (of Croker's Five O'clock Shadows) on bass.

June 30 1990. Mark joins Phil Collins and Genesis, Pink Floyd, Robert Plant, Paul McCartney, Cliff Richard and The Shadows, Status Quo, Elton John, Eric Clapton and Tears For Fears, all previously Silver Clef winners, on a star-studded bill at Knebworth Park, Knebworth, Herts, England, in aid of the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Centre.

Jul 1 1990. Mark and John, and the bands manager, Ed Bicknell, decide, over lunch at the Halcyon Hotel, Holland Park, to reconvene Dire Straits to record their sixth studio album and plan a parallel world tour.

Nov 24 1990. "Neck And Neck", a Mark Knopfler and Chet Atkins guitar-laden duet album, debuts at its UK #41 peak.

Dec 1 1990. "Neck And Neck" peaks at US #127. (During the year, Mark has also released his soundtrack score to "Last Exit To Brooklyn").

1991

Feb 1991. While recording for a New Dire Straits album project at London's Air Studios, Mark contributes a guitar solo to "Voices That Care", a David Foster and Linda Thompson Jenner-composed and organised charity record to benefit the American Red Cross Gulf Crisis Fund.

Feb 20 1991. Mark and Chet Atkins win the Best Country Vocal Collaboration category for "Poor Boy Blues" and Best Country Instrumental Performance for "So Soft, Your Goodbye" at the 33rd annual Grammy Awards, at New York's Radio City Music Hall.

Aug 23 1991. The first date of a two year, 300-gig world tour begins in Dublin, with the line-up comprising Mark Knopfler, John Illsley, Guy Fletcher, Alan Clarke, Phil Palmer (guitar), Chris White (sax), Paul Franklin (pedal steel), Chris Whitten (drums) and Danny Cummings (percussion). They will play to 7.1 million paying fans.

Aug 31 1991. The single "Calling Elvis" debuts at its UK #21 peak.

Sep 21 1991. Dire Straits' first new album in over six years, "On Every Street" enters at UK #1. Engineers for the album were Bill Schnee and Chuck Ainley, with production credited to Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits, and mixed by Neil Dorfsman. Bob Clearmountain mixes one track "Heavy Fuel"

Oct 5 1991. The album "On Every Street" reaches US #12.

Oct 29 1991. The band plays five sell-out shows at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, grossing AUS $2,078,830 from a combined audience of 45,573.

Nov 2 1991. The single "Heavy Fuel" bows out at it's UK #55 peak.

1992

Feb26 1992. The group plays to a sell-out crowd of 16,000 at New York's Madison Square Garden, during the North American Leg of its tour.

Feb 29 1992. The single "On Every Street" debuts at its UK #42 peak.

June 3 - 8 1992. Dire Straits performs at London's Earls Court, during a UK trek which includes stadium dates at Cardiff Arms Park, Gateshead Athletic Stadium, Maine Road Manchester and Woburm Abbey.

June 27 1992. The single "The Bug" charts for a week at UK # 67.

June 30 1992. German leg of the tour opens at the Schleyerhalle, Stuttgart.

Sep 29 1992. "Dire Straits Live : Rendezvous With The Sultans Of Swing" pay-per-view broadcast airs from Arenes De N?mes, Provence, France.

Oct 6 - 7 1992. Their world tour now reaches the Plaza De Toros De Las Ventas in Madrid, Spain.

1993

May 8 1993. Mark receives an honorary music doctorate from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Tyne and Wear, England.

May 22 1993. The EP "Encores" and album "On The Night", a 76 minute live album recorded at Les Arenes, N?mes, and the Feyenoord Stadium, Rotterdam, Netherlands, debut at their respective UK #31 and #4 peaks.

June 5 1993. The album "On The Night" makes US #116.

1994

Sep 1994. A tribute album to Arthur Alexander, "Adios Amigo", including Mark's pairing with Chuck Jackson on the track "You Better Move On" is released in the US.

Oct 14 1994. Mark's "The Bug" is honoured at the 14th ASCAP dinner at London's Park Lane Hotel.

1995

July 8 1995. The album "Live At The BBC", released by Windsong Records, featuring six tracks from the group's debut album, and "What's The Matter Baby" recorded at the Paris Theatre in July 1978 and "Tunnel Of Love" from a 1981 edition of The "Old Grey Whistle Test", peaks at UK #71.

1996

Jan 2 1996. A tribute album "Notfadeaway: Remembering Buddy Holly", including Mark's version of "Learning The Game" with Waylon Jennings, is released in the US.

Mar 16 1996. Mark's single "Darling Pretty" reaches UK #33 in its week of entry. It is a taster for his solo album "Golden Heart", released on Vertigo on the 25th. Recorded over the past two years in Dublin, Eire and Nashville, TN, it includes guest appearances by former Dire Straits Colleague Guy Fletcher, Vince Gill, Paul Brady and the Chieftains'.

May 25 1996. The single "Cannibals" hits UK #42.

Jun 15 1996. Four albums re-enter the UK chart after being digitally re-mastered. "Brothers In Arms" re-enters the UK album chart at #19, "Love Over Gold" at #68, (now 199 weeks on the chart), "Dire Straits" at #69 (131 weeks), and "Making Movies" at #70 (250 weeks).

Dec 21 1996. The single "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" by Dunblane featuring Mark Knopfler, debuts at UK #1.
1997

Sep 1997 Mark was one of the artists who performed for Sir George Martin's "Music For Montserrat Concert" at the Royal Albert Hall, London.
1998

April/May 1998. Mark's debut solo UK tour backed by a five-piece band.

Apr 6 1998. The album "Golden Heart" enters at its UK #9 peak.

Sep 26 1998. The album "Brothers In Arms" clocks up it's 222nd week on the UK album chart, already certified 13 times platinum in the UK, that's 3.9 million copies.

Oct 31 1998. The greatest hits album "Sultans Of Swing" debuts at its UK #6 peak.

1998. Mark also releases soundtracks for "Metroland" and "Wag The Dog".Mark's third wife, Kitty Aldridge, gives birth to daughter Isabella.

2000

April 2000. The greatest hits compilation "Sultans Of Swing" is released on DVD.

Mark's soundtrack album to the film "Road To Glory" is due for release in September, 2000.
September 22. Mark appears on the Michael Parkinson Show at 21:30 on UK's BBC1. He plays his new Solo single "What It Is" and talks briefly of his childhood and his inspirations

September 23. UK's "Music Week" reports. Mark Knopfler's first solo project in four years is also already winning friends at radio and retail, including in Italy where his
single "What It Is" has just entered the sales chart at number seven and in Spain where it debuted at four. Knopfler recently performed the track on the very first
Italian Top Of The Pops in Rome and will be further embarking over the next few months on a number of key TV appearances across Europe. These will include
Germany's Geld Oder Liebe and Harold Schmidt Show and Italy's Quelli Che 11 Calcio. On September 27 he will also appear on David Letterman in the US, where
he is handled by Warner. He will visit Argentina, Brazil and Mexico in November, and South Africa and Australasia next February after which he is contemplating
going out on tour.

October 7 "Sailing To Philadelphia" enters the UK album charts at #4.
2001

December 2001 Virgin Radio UK, issues a Top 500 compiled from listeners votes, and
Dire Straits are listed at:-
66…Romeo And Juliet
83…Money For Nothing
103…Sultans Of Swing
457…Walk Of Life

Please click here to submit the latest Dire Straits biography

Good band, nice summary | Reviewer: King Prawn | 8/24/13

but just thought without being too pedantic I'd point out an error Brewer's Droop were not from the"northern UK" (which would be Scotland)but from High Wycombe just outside London.

big fan | Reviewer: jim j | 12/5/07

I wore out the first two Dire Straights records and bought second copies. Waterline is still one of my all time faves. I love to hear Mark play and I guess it's no wonder. How good does a guy have to be to have the resume that he has.

The feeling of Summer | Reviewer: Carol Bond | 11/5/07

When I am asked 'Who is your favourite band ever'? How can I not answer 'Dire Straits'. I have seen them everytime as they played in Adelaide and still it wan't enough. The feeling of Summer is alway invoked in me when I hear their music, a lush wave of happiness engulfs me and I say with all my heart - REFORM FELLOWS AND PLEASE COME TO ADELAIDE AGAIN, I NEED TO HEAR YOU PLAY IN PERSON.

live at le baux de provence...john illsley | Reviewer: mickser | 9/11/07

whilst shopping at hmv music store i came across a new release by john illsley ...live in france with greg pearle and his band cunla...the songs a mixture of dire straits ..neil young..leonard cohen...simon and garfunkel and an amazing version of bob dylans forever young..this album sounds very raw and exciting..who is this guy greg pearle..he singS the dire straits song with a lot of passion...GREAT TO HEAR JOHN PLAY GREAT LIVE MUSIC AGAIN......HIGHLY RECCOMENDED.....

wait for it | Reviewer: Anonymous | 7/22/07

i have heard some dire straits songs performed live in france by john illsley,,,greg pearle and cunla...they sound great...album to be released in august...straits fans will love it...

meet them during their tour in Sydney back in 1982 | Reviewer: Mary | 6/26/07

As the title states i had the privilege of meeting the amazing Mark Knopfler and his band on one of their Sydney tours back in 1982. I was also invited to go on a boat cruise around the Harbour with them and as if that wasn't enough i also was given a programme which all of the wonderful Dire Straits members signed and which i have kept to this day. Dj fitz i agree with you hope to see the lads reunite and show the music world what talent really is. Do dit do dit do do do down to the water line.

they must reform..... | Reviewer: dj fitz | 6/18/07

i have seen so many bands reform in the last number of years...surely now it must be the turn of the greatest of them all....come on lads...why are we waiting....

Reforming | Reviewer: Shagger | 6/4/07

Have followed their meteoric rise since Sultans of Swing came on the charts. They were a part of my teenage years.and still are a part of my life.
Their music relaxes ,and massages your imagination and soothes your soul.
When are they reforming and doing a world tour ,I think its time.

Reforming | Reviewer: Shagger | 6/4/07

Have followed their meteoric rise since Sultans of Swing came on the charts. They were a part of my teenage years. and still are a part of my life.
Their music relaxes , massages your imagination and soothes your soul.
When are they reforming and doing a world tour ,I think its time.

Real Sultans Of All Time | Reviewer: M.Eid | 5/21/07

Everytime you hear a song by Dire Straits, it's like it's the first time you hear it and LOVE it. Their music is perfectly engineered to be highly addictive. One can never put their music in any time frame. They were, and will always be, the real sultans of swing, with Knopfler being the music genius of all time !!! I recommend all songs ever written and/or performed by Dire Straits/Mark Knopfler.

LADY WRITER ON THE TV- | Reviewer: GIOVANNA YANEZ | 5/5/07

SULTANS OF SWIM...MANY MANY MORE hE HAS A GREAT TASTE FOR PREFORM AND A INCREDIBLE VOICE , PLUS IS CREATIVE IS A GOOD MUSIC IS NOT COMMON

Great artist | Reviewer: William "Heavy Fuel" Vogt II | 1/19/05

This is my favorite artist of all time, and is my favorite out of any band
to listen to out of any band I have heard. They got great songs, their best
are "Heavy Fuel", "Money For Nothing", "Tunnel of Love", and "Sultans of
Swing". Their voice is perfect, their music is perfect and their albums are
just right. I reccomend all 5 albums by this band.


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