After Mark Knopfler decided to go solo, before their breaking up for good 22 years ago – Dire Straits as long as they were two decades together were and became one of the highest selling British bands of all-time and one of the most underrated rock groups of all-time.
Here are five things you likely don’t know about Dire Straits.
1. Mark Knopfler originally broke up the group to go country
Dire Straits broke up multiple times before Mark Knopfler finally disbanded the group for good in 1995. The first “breakup” was been in 1987 while the Knopfler decided to create a country-rock group with some friends and fellow musicians Steve Phillips, Brendan Crocker and Guy Fletcher that would become known as The Notting Hillbillies.
The Notting Hillbillies would only record one album together in 1990 named Missing…Presumed Having a Good Time, and their most notable performance came as a musical guest on an episode of “Saturday Night Live.”
2. Mark Knopfler asked Vince Gill to join with Dire Straits
Vince Gill is known today as one of the most successful country music recording artists of all-time and has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Before all of that he was a member of the country-rock group Pure Prairie League for a brief while.
In the late 80’s he began a solo country career that took a little while to take off, while he was struggling he was asked by Mark Knopfler to become a full-time guitarist for Dire Straits. Gill, hoping to eventually find success on his own turned Knopfler down. Success would soon come for Gill in the form of 20 Grammy Awards.
3. Mark Knopfler wrote Tina Turner’s hit “Private Dancer”
One of the biggest hits of Tina Turner’s illustrious career is “Private Dancer” from her 1984 album of the same name. The song would become her third consecutive Top 10 hit off of that record, but it might surprise many to know that the song about a prostitute was written by Mark Knopfler and was intended to be recorded for a Dire Straits album.
Knopfler intended the song to be on the Dire Straits 1982 album “Love Over Gold”, but the song was never recorded with vocals as Knopfler decided the lyrics weren’t suitable for a male to sing. The song waited around for two years before Turner made it a hit.
4. “Money for Nothing” was debut video for MTV Europe
Many people will remember that when MTV debuted in the United States in 1981 the very first video that aired on the network was The Buggles’ very fitting “Video Killed the Radio Star”.
When MTV branched out to Europe six years later in 1987 the very first video aired on it would be Dire Straits “Money for Nothing” which was one of the most innovative music videos at the time with its computer animation. The video would go on to win Video of the Year at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards and remains to this day one of the most famous music videos ever created.
5. “Brothers In Arms” was the first CD to sell one million copies
Dire Straits biggest selling album of their career was 1985’s “Brothers In Arms”, which featured the hits “Money for Nothing”, “Walk of Life” and “So Far Away”. The album would spend 9 weeks a top of the Billboard album chart in the United States, 10 weeks a top of the U.K. albums chart and an incredible 34 weeks at number one in Australia. The album would go on to become the eighth best-selling album in U.K. history and is the 22nd highest-selling album of all-time.
In the middle of ’80s CD’s were in the early stages as the vinyl record was still the preferred way to listen to albums. The massive popularity of “Brothers In Arms” would lead to it becoming the first CD to ever sell one million copies, also becoming the first CD to outsell its LP counterpart.