Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dire Straits--Sultans of Swing (1979)

     Mark Knopfler (born 1949), had been a student at Leeds University, and for a time was a rock critic for the Yorkshire Evening Post. He was also an excellent guitar player and was playing in a pub band, when he gathered brother David (guitar)  and his roommate, John Illsley (bass) in 1977. Later that year they picked up drummer Pick Withers and made a six song demo tape. They approached DJ Charlie Gillett about listening to the tape and just giving some advice about how good it was. Gillett was so impressed by it, he played "Sultans of Swing" on his BBC show, "Honky Tonkin'". On the strength of that demo, the group was signed by Phonogram Records and Muff Winwood produced the first album.
     In an era where disco in the US and punk in the UK were both running their course, the mix of pub rock, jazz, and country along with Mark Knopfler's unique voice (kinda like a understandable Dylan) and hot guitar playing led the band eventually to top ten status all over the world. It would not always be a smooth ride while they band always did well in the states (they never had an album out of the top 20), they never reached the singles charts again until 1985's, "Money For Nothin'".



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