The Long Lunch

The Sultan of Swing


Singer, songwriter, musican and producer Mark Knopfler is 70 on the 12th of August.

During the 60's Mark was in a few bands but his main job was a jounalist and then a teacher.

His brother David shared a London flat with John Illsley and soon Mark invited John to join them in their band Cafe Racers.

By '77 drummer Pick Withers had joined and band was called Dire Straits.

Their first single Sultans of Swing was a hit overseas before it broke big in the UK.

The band's self titled debut album eventually reached Number 5 in the UK after topping the charts in Australia and hitting number two in The States.

The follow ups, Communique and Making Movies, also went Top 5 and their fourth album Love Over Gold reached the top spot around the world.

If Love Over Gold was big, Brothers In Arms was huge, a worldwide Number One  selling excess of 30 million copies.

The album spawned the hit singles Money For Nothing, Walk Of Life and So Far Away.

After a world tour of more than 200 shows, Dire Straits took a break and Mark worked on film soundtracks and on other musical projects with the likes of Pink Floyd's Dave Gilmour and former Thin Lizzy guitarist Gary Moore.

In '89 Mark formed the country/blues/folk band The Notting Hilbillies, who released one hit album Missing...Presumed Having A Good Time.

In '91 Dire Straits released On Every Street and undertook another extensive world tour.

The band has released two live albums since On Every Street but there have been no further studio recordings or tours.

Starting with Local Hero in '83, Mark has composed nine movie scores and since '96 he has released a further nine studio albums.

Photo credit: Alterna2