Mark Knopfler (1949) British guitarist and vocalist
Mark Knopfler was born on August 12, 1949 in Glasgow, but he grew up in Newcastle. He became a teacher, but while he shared an apartment in South London with his brother David and sociology student John Illsley, they started to play some songs that were written by Mark in his spare time. After performing at a punk festival, their sad financial condition made a friend suggest they could call themselves Dire Straits.
I listened to B.B. King's Live at the Regal when I was sixteen, and this was a discovery. I felt that a triangle was established in this recording between the guitar, the voice, and the audience. I'm not a conventional singer; I try to play guitar as if it is my best voice, as B.B. King does.
The BBC radio show Honky Tonk played their demo, after which they were signed by Phonogram/Vertigo in 1977. Dire Straits functioned as support act during the Talking Heads tour in Britain in January of the next year, followed by their first album including Sultans of Swing and Water of Love. Knopfler got to know producers Jerry Wexler and Barry Beckett during a visit to Muscle Shoals Studios. They agreed to cooperate on the next Dire Straits album: Communiqué. Although their self-titled album would be a success eventually, it was this LP that meant the steady breakthrough for the Knopflers and company. Knopfler was now known as "the elegant guitar player". The left-handed guitarist also did the lead vocals for the group. (Knopfler had learned to play the guitar the right way, as 409 pointed out and was confirmed by for instance http://www.die-linke-bass-saite.de/english/).
As Dire Straits built up their popularity, Mark Knopfler contributed sessions to Steely Dan's album Gaucho and Bob Dylan's Slow Train Coming. His brother left the band for a solo career meanwhile in the summer of 1980. The Dire Straits albums kept on being received well, as Mark also started to produce himself, recorded his first movie soundtrack for Local Hero by David Puttnam and worked together with Van Morrison.
Private Investigations became Dire Straits' greatest hit of all time in 1982, although with its seven minutes length it was hardly suited for radio at all. Mark Knopfler's first production job outside his group came by in 1983, with Bob Dylan's album Infidels.
In the same year, Knopfler decided to throw overboard the usual overdubbing and re-recording and brought out Dire Strait's next (live) album Alchemy with all mistakes included. Still, their next album Brothers in Arms would be their greatest, rocketing Dire Straits to top fame in music land. They started the longest tour ever seen at this time, one year long over the whole world. It finished in Australia in apotheosis. Due to the exceptional demand for tickets, more and more dates were added in Sydney. In the end, Mark had to appear on Australian television personally asking his fans to stop demanding tickets, as the band had to go home. Meanwhile Mark produced for Tina Turner, Martin Scorsese (The Colour of Money), Willy DeVille and Randy Newman. After the Zeebrugge ferry disaster with the Herald of Free Enterprise in 1987, Knopfler contributed to the remake of Let it Be.
In 1989, Mark Knopfler formed a new band called the Notting Hillbillies with Steve Phillips and Brendan Croker. After an album and a tour, Knopfler remarked: "I'm absolutely in love with music". After a pause of five years, the next Dire Straits album was released as well in 1991: On Every Street. In 1995, Knopfler quietly laid Dire Straits to rest with their last album Live at the BBC, a recording of a 1978 session. He launched a mature solo career with the release of Golden Heart in 1996. Later soundtrack efforts included 1998's Wag the Dog, while his last album Sailing to Philadelphia came out in 2000.
Mark Knopfler's solo albums include: