On this day in music history: May 13, 1985 – “Brothers In Arms”, the fifth studio album by Dire Straits is released. Produced by Mark Knopfler and Neil Dorfsman, it is recorded at AIR Studios in Montserrat and London and The Power Station in New York City from November 1984 – March 1985. Coming almost three years after their previous release “Love Over Gold”, Dire Straits guitarist and leader Mark Knopfler take the band in another musical direction, away from the quieter and laid back vibe of the previous album. Cutting the basic tracks at AIR Studios on the Caribbean island of Montserrat, Knopfler and engineer/co-founder Neil Dorfsman are unhappy with the original drum tracks played by Terry Williams. Deciding that they need to be redone, a few different players are suggested, including Andy Newmark and Peter Erskine. They decide on former Weather Report drummer Omar Hakim. Hakim arrives in Montserrat a short time later, re-recording the drum tracks on all ten songs in just two and a half days. Combining bluesy and folk influenced songs with modern, high tech production, the end result is the most successful album of Dire Straits career. “Brothers” is one of the first major albums to be recorded on digital recording equipment (on a Sony DASH 3324 tape machine), with it being more geared toward the then increasingly more popular compact disc format. With the CD version clocking in at over fifty five minutes, the vinyl LP version (edited down to forty seven minutes and forty four seconds) includes edited down versions of several songs in order to maintain high sound quality in that format. It spins off five singles including “Money For Nothing” (#1 Pop), “Walk Of Life” (#7 Pop), and “So Far Away” (#19 Pop). It also makes history as the first album to sell over one million copies on CD in the US. The album wins two Grammy Awards including Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal in 1986. It wins a third Grammy in 2006 for the 5.1 surround SACD reissue for Best Surround Sound Album. Long revered for its excellent sound quality and engineering, “Brothers” is a favorite of audiophile music fans. It has most recently been remastered and reissued by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, in 2013 as a limited edition hybrid SACD, and in 2015 as a 180 gram double vinyl LP set mastered at 45 RPM. “Brothers In Arms” spends nine weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 9x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
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