The dire straits down to the waterline

Dire Straits were a very talented band arriving in the punk era. Their music wasn't punk at all but music focusing on guitar play with Bob Dylan like lyrics. The band already had lots of experience in the music scene and started as the Café Racers playing in pubs. Drummer Pick Withers played with Dave Edmunds, Magna Carta and Gerry Rafferty. Mark was a English teacher, Illsley was studying at Goldsmiths' College  and David was a social worker. They were formed in 1977 in London. Mark and David came from Newcastle. John Illsley and Pick Withers were from Leicester.

"Sultans Of Swing" single cover

In 1978 the Dire Straits were recording their debut album in Basing Street Studios London. The first single "Sultans Of Swing" (UK #8, US #4, NL #11) was a hit almost all over the world. The second single which is a far more better choice as a single reached #54 in Australia and #28 in the Netherlands. “Six Blade Knife” is very similar to songs on Fleetwood Mac's Rumours. Many songs were about Mark's personal experiences in Newcastle, Leeds and London. "Down the Waterline" is about life in Newcastle, "In the Gallery" is a tribute to Leeds sculptor Harry Phillips. "Wild West End" and "Lions" are about London.`

"Water of Love" single cover

The band started touring directly after the recordings and months before the release of the album with much success and helped to promote buying their debut album. The album reached #2 in the US, #5 in the UK and #3 in the Netherlands.

The first 2 albums are undoubtedly their best albums with the original line-up including also David Knopfler. The sound was influenced by JJ Cale, Eric Clapton, and Chet Atkins and transformed into an instantly recognizable style. On the second album that was recorded in the Bahamas this sound was continued with less success. The first single "Lady Writer" is very similar to "Sultans Of Swing". "Single-Handed Sailor" is far more better. "Communique" reached #5 in the UK, #5 in the US and #3 in the Netherlands.

"Lady Writer" single cover

When working on the third album "Making Movies" . Mark's brother David left the band at the end of the recordings. They decided to re-record songs without David which resulted in a conflict between the brothers Knopfler but was resolved years later what could be heared in the song "Brothers In Arms" on the album with the same title from 1985. 

The band disbanded in 1995. Knopfler has continued making music, but on a smaller scale, concentrating on movie soundtracks and roots-rock.

Dire Straits Fender Guitar Logo

The Dire Straits Fender logo on the back of the cover was designed by Geoff Halpern.

Dire Straits (1978)
Dire Straits (1978)
Down to the Waterline / Water of Love / Setting Me Up / Six Blade Knife / Southbound Again / Sultans of Swing / In the Gallery / Wild West End / Lions

Communiqué (1979)
Communiqué (1979)
Once Upon a Time in the West / News / Where Do You Think You're Going? / Communiqué / Lady Writer / Angel of Mercy / Portobello Belle / Single-Handed Sailor / Follow Me Home

Water of Love at Toppop
Sultans Of Swing at Toppop
Single-handed sailor

Once Upon A Time In The West at Rockpalast

Armand Wilhelm

I am a professional blogger from the Netherlands born in 1970 and my name is Armand Wilhelm. My passions are music and visual art as you might have noticed in my blog. I also like other pop culture things like watching movies.

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