Category: dire straits

On this day in music history: May 13, 1985 -…

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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On this day in music history: October 7, 1978 …

On this day in music history: October 7, 1978 – “Dire Straits”, the debut album by Dire Straits is released. Produced by Muff Winwood, it is recorded at Basing Street Studios in London from February 13 – March 5, 1978. Formed in 1977 by brothers Mark and David Knopfler, John Illsley and Pick Withers, the band play clubs around in and around London before recording a five song demo tape. The band take their tape to DJ Charlie Gillett, the host of a BBC radio show to seek his advice on the material. Gillett likes the demo so much that he begins playing their early recording of “Sultans Of Swing” on the air. This attracts the attention of Phonogram subsidiary Vertigo Records, who sign Dire Straits two months after the demo is played on the radio. Paired with former Spencer Davis Group bassist turned label A&R man Muff Winwood (older brother of musician Steve Winwood), The band enter the recording studio to work on their first album. Recorded in just three weeks of studio time, the album initially attracts little attention until Dire Straits begins touring as the opening act for Talking Heads which leads to Warner Bros Records picking it up for US release. “Sultans Of Swing” (#4 Pop) is issued as a single and breaks on US radio stations, in the Spring of 1979. Originally released on CD in the mid 80’s, it is remastered and reissued in 1996 and 2000. “Dire Straits” is also reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP by Simply Vinyl in 1999, and by Rhino Records in 2009. The album is also reissued as a SACD SHM-CD in Japan in “Dire Straits” peaks at number two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: September 21, 19…

On this day in music history: September 21, 1985 – “Money For Nothing” by Dire Straits hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks. Written by Mark Knopfler and Sting, it is the biggest hit for the veteran British rock band. Knopfler is inspired to write the song while shopping in a New York City appliance store with his wife. In the electronics department, he overhears a store employee staring at a wall of TV’s all showing MTV and openly criticizing the images he sees. While recording the track at AIR Studios in Montserrat, Sting visits the band while the recording is in progress and contributes background vocals to the song. He receives a writing credit (at his publishers insistence) since his “I Want My MTV” line borrows the melody from The Police’s “Don’t Stand So Close To Me”. Issued as the second single from “Brothers In Arms”, the nearly eight and a half minute long album track is edited down to 4:38 for the commercial single release. Original LP pressings feature a slightly shorter version running 7:04 to conform to the formats time constraints. A third edit running just over four minutes excising the songs second verse is serviced to radio stations. Entering the Hot 100 at #87 on July 13, 1985 (the same day the band performs it at Live Aid at Wembley Stadium in London), it climbs to the top of the chart ten weeks later. The success of the single is in part due to an innovative music video directed by Steve Barron, that features color tinted footage of the band combined with early computer generated animation. “Money For Nothing” wins a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal, and the MTV Video Music Award for Video Of The Year in 1986.

On this day in music history: September 20, 19…

On this day in music history: September 20, 1982 – “Love Over Gold”, the fourth album by Dire Straits is released. Produced by Mark Knopfler, it is recorded at The Power Station in New York City from March 8 – June 11, 1982. After releasing their first three albums in a relatively brief two and a half year period between 1978 and 1980, band leader and guitarist Mark Knopfler’s brother, keyboardist and second guitarist David Knopfler leaves Dire Straits over creative and personal differences, departing for a solo career. His place is taken by keyboardist Alan Clark and guitarist Hal Lindes who make their recording debut the band on their fourth release. Drummer Pick Withers also leaves the band two months after the sessions conclude, and he is replaced by Terry Williams. The style and sound of the material is more spacious and atmospheric, compared to the bands previous efforts which becomes the catalyst for Mark Knopfler’s later soundtrack composing work. The albums title comes from graffiti that Knopfler sees spray painted on a wall, across the street from his London council flat. It is also the bands first release, to be recorded and mixed entirely on digital recording equipment. The project marks the band’s first time working with engineer Neil Dorfsman, who becomes a trusted technical collaborator, and eventual co-producer of their next studio album “Brothers In Arms”. The song “Private Dancer” is written during the sessions, but is later given to Tina Turner to record when he feels the lyrics are more suited for a female singer. Originally released on CD in 1983, it is remastered and reissued in 2000 and also as a 180 gram vinyl LP by UK reissue label Simply Vinyl the same year. It is also reissued on 180 gram vinyl by Warner Bros in the US in 2010. “Love Over Gold” peaks at number nineteen on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: May 13, 1985 – &…

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 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 recorded, after suggesting a few different players which include 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.