The U.K.'s Dire Straits became one of the world's most popular rock bands the old-fashioned way, through songwriting and musicianship. When "Sultans of Swing" broke through on both sides of the Atlantic in 1979, the sound suggested Bob Dylan backed by J.J. Cale. It sure didn't sound like anything else on the radio. Mark Knopfler's gruff singing and exquisite guitar playing were critical to the group's sound. The next two records cemented Dire Straits' reputation and bolstered its popularity. 1985's BROTHERS IN ARMS became one of the biggest sellers of the decade. After the band dissolved, Knopfler (who had already done some well regarded soundtrack work) embarked on a solo career, opting for a more low-key approach.
No Description Available No Track Information Available Media Type: CD Artist: DIRE STRAITS Title: DIRE STRAITS Street Release Date: 09/19/2000 Domestic Genre: ROCK/POP
By the mid-'80s Dire Straits were a platinum band dismissed in their native England as safe, yuppie rockers, yet the original quartet's lean, guitar-driven music struggled to find a label home when first recorded in 1978. Mark Knopfler offers craggy vocals, literate blues-based songs, and sinuous, virtuosic guitar work. He melds keening solo lines and rapidly picked fills and dodges the synth washes and postpunk power chords of then-competing new wavers; he relies on atmosphere, character, and pure musicianship intead of heavy irony or pop fashion. "Sultans of Swing," codifies this stance, a galloping paean to aging jazz musicians playing for the sheer love of the music. This became a major hit and has endured as a radio classic. The album itself has proven equally sturdy thanks to cinematic imagery and the tightly wound arrangements of "Down to the Waterline," "Six Blade Knife," and "Water of Love." --Sam Sutherland
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