Dire Straits a British rock band, formed in 1977 by Mark Knopfler (guitar and vocals), his brother David Knopfler (guitar), John Illsley (bass), and Pick Withers (drums), and subsequently managed by Ed Bicknell. Although the band was formed in an era when punk rock reigned, Dire Straits worked within the conventions of classic rock, albeit with a stripped-down sound that appealed to modern audiences weary of the overproduced stadium rock of the 1970s. In their early days, Mark and David requested that pub owners turn down the amps so that patrons could converse while the band played indicative of their unassuming demeanor. Despite this oddly self-effacing approach to rock and roll, Dire Straits soon became hugely successful, with their first album going multi-platinum globally.
The band's best-known songs include "Sultans of Swing", "Romeo and Juliet", "Tunnel of Love", "Telegraph Road", "Private Investigations", "Money for Nothing", "Walk of Life", "So Far Away", "Brothers in Arms" and "Calling Elvis".
Dire Straits and Mark Knopfler have sold in excess of 118 million albums to date.
In 1978, Dire Straits recorded their first album, Dire Straits (so called due to the financial condition the members were living in at the time), at Basing Street studios (now known as 'Sarm West') near Portobello Road in West London for ?12,500.. During the initial U.K. release on Vertigo Records, a division of Phonogram, the album had little promotion and was not well received. However, the U.K. album came to the attention of Karin Berg, an assistant in the artists and repertoire (A&R) department of Warner Bros. Records in New York City. She felt it was the kind of music that audiences were hungry for, but only one person in her department agreed at first. "Other people didn't hear it. The act was doing poorly in the U.K., and the record wasn't getting air play." After the album was released in the United States by Warner Brothers, it caught on quickly and sold over 1 million copies. Later, when re-released as a single, "Sultans of Swing" became a surprise U.K. chart hit, making the top 10, and then went on to become a very popular live song throughout the band's career. The first album eventually went top 10 in every European country.
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