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Dire Straits

Biography

Formed, somewhat anachronistically, in 1977 at the outset of the punk era, Dire Straits swam against the current with a brand of classic-rock revivalism piloted by Mark Knopfler's breezy vocals and elegantly tempered Fender Stratocaster. Their self-titled debut, moored by the single "Sultans of Swing," went to No. 2 on the Billboard pop charts, while Making Movies, from 1980, was universally applauded by critics. In 1982 Love Over Gold went to No. 1 in the U.K. without the aid of a big single, but it was Brothers in Arms, from 1985, that fixed Dire Straits in the firmament on the strength of the huge hits "Money for Nothing" and "Walk of Life." The album's release coincided with the advent of the compact disc; it became the format's first million-seller and won two Grammys and two BRIT awards. During the next 10 years, the band, whose original lineup included Mark's brother David Knopfler on rhythm guitar, John Illsley on bass and Ed Bicknell on drums, took extended leaves while Mark Knopfler concentrated on solo and soundtrack work, and they finally disbanded in 1995. But not before they produced one more No. 1 record in the U.K., 1991's On Every Street.
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