Monday, April 13, 2015

K is for Knopfler

Get out those headbands, folks!

Though he is a producer, composer and songwriter, Mark Knopfler is best known for being the guitar playing front man of Dire Straits. Rolling Stone magazine gave him #27 on the list of the Top 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. I'm not sure how that honor holds up when compared to the fact that he has a dinosaur named after him: Masiakasaurus knopfleri!

Born in Scotland in 1949, the family moved to Northeast England while he was a child. As he grew, his musical interests included Elvis, Chet Atkins, boogie woogie, harmonica - and guitar. In school, he participated in several school bands and even sung harmony with a young lady.  At 16, he recorded his first (but unremarkable) single; it was never released. A sub-par instrument of his youth led to the development of his distinctive finger picking style. 

Perhaps Mark was searching for his place in music; maybe he wasn't even serious about it - yet. All that changed with the creation of Dire Straits in 1977. In 1978, the signed with Vertigo Records. Brother David Knopfler was also in the group. Mark had a unique voice; sometimes gruff and other times more talking than singing. His guitar is all Knopfler. I don't think anyone sounds like him and I was hooked from the start of the first strains of the "Sultans of Swing."

Some other favorites include "Romeo and Juliet," "Tunnel of Love," "Walk of Life," and "Private Dancer" (Aha! You didn't know he wrote that Tina Turner hit, did you?).

You know, I've bought a lot of music in my day; when I compare those purchases to the best of Knopfler and Dire Straits, it seems like money for nothing...






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44 comments:

  1. CHERDO ~

    "K Is For... Knock-Out!"

    Great choice! If you buy me a milkshake this time it's... "milkshake for nothing and my chips for free!"

    As I once said to Girl Wonder on one o' her BOTB blog bits:

    I remember where I was the first time I heard 'Sultans Of Swing' and I thought maybe it was Bob Dylan.

    That was at a Preview House on Sunset Boulevard in Hollyweird. They were trying to anticipate public reaction to the first Dire Straits album and the initial single from it. Undoubtedly, very few people in the U.S. knew who Dire Straits were then, and I suspected 'Sultans Of Swing' was a forthcoming Dylan single.

    About a year later, when the song was getting constant airplay on radio stations all over the country, I came to realize that I had been one of the first Americans to hear the first Dire Straits Top 40 hit.

    Funny that two years later, Mark Knopfler (and Dire Straits' drummer Pick Withers) were so "instrumental" in the making of Dylan's first (and great!) Christian music album 'SLOW TRAIN COMING'. I think Mark sounded so much like Bob that they were DESTINED to work together on something monumental!

    If I had a dollar for every time I sat in Santa Monica's 'Bay Street' house with my buddies, all of us drunk and watching the MTV Dire Straits video of 'Money For Nothing', I would... I would... I would go out and buy a famous, household name brewery and drink it into bankruptcy!

    I'm inspired to crack open a beer or... drink a "cherdO", Cherdo!

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. Finally! I was worried that you were heading for full blown lactose intolerance and carb addiction.

      Funny - I never made the connection between Dylan and Knopfler, but you are absolutely correct. They sound like brothers from another mother. Question: Why do guys who talk, rather than sing, decide to SING? Dylan can write songs, and Knopfler can certainly write and play - but sing? It's the unusual voice, I suppose.

      I'll have a cherdO in honor of the one time we agreed on something! Mark the calendar and we'll make it an annual holiday.

      Thanks, STMcC!

      Delete
  2. What a wonderful Dire Straits double feature! I think Stephen has become an official groupie on your A to Z concert tour! Interesting fact that Knopfler wrote Private Dancer. It just demonstrates his versatility.

    Julie

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    1. The thing that was missing from my blog was a dedicated groupie (actually, I do have some loyal pals that follow...I'm grateful!).

      Thanks, Julie!!

      Delete
  3. Good Monday morning, dear Cherdo!

    If I hadn't been too lazy to participate in this musical A to Z challenge, my K choice would have been Edd "Kookie" Byrnes. "Kookie," star of 77 Sunset Strip, had a smash hit with Connie Stevens on the novelty record "Kookie, Kookie -- Lend Me Your Comb." I realize, however, that as the poster girl for the MTV generation, all of the above were light years before your time.

    I must sound like a broken record, but Mark Knopfler and company were frequent flyers on my MTV style station. Mrs. Shady is also a big Dire Straits fan. She has been known to spontaneously burst into song while riding in the car, treating me to a medley of "Sultans of Swing" and "Money For Nothing." I like Dire Straits but never bought any of their records. There was no room left in my tiny bachelor pad closet after I collected every record that Kiss and other glam metal hair bands released.

    My Pick To Click is the first video you posted, the Dire Straits song "Money For Nothing" and the ground-breaking computer animated clip produced for telecast on MTV. Ironically, Knopfler reportedly did not fully understand or embrace conceptual music videos. An old school purist, he believed his songwriting and musicianship should succeed on their own merits in the form of a straight performance clip. Even without Knopfler's endorsement, the iconic cartoon was produced, released in the summer of '85 and was named Video of the Year at the MTV Video Awards in 1986.

    Thank you, dear friend Cherdo!

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    1. The "Kookie" song is very familiar to me - I used to walk around singing it and I did get to see 77 Sunset Strip. I loved Connie Stevens, but my favorite was the movie she did with Jerry Lewis - "Rock-a-bye Baby." That got a lot of airplay on the station I watched at my grandma's (I stayed there all summer). I watched it every time.

      When the MTV generation was in full swing, Knopfler was definitely in the upper echelons. Have you seen Weird Al's parody of Money for Nothing? Knopfler gave permission on the condition that he played the guitar riffs. It's hilarious.

      Thanks for the excellent comment - you may not be doing the A-to-Z, but the commentary really adds a nice touch! You're participating by default.

      Have a lovely Arctic Circle kind of day!

      Delete
    2. OMG! Over the millennia I forgot all about that Beverly Hillbillies parody by Weird Al. I just finished watching it. It's simply brilliant, isn't it? Thanks for letting me know about it, dear Cherdo!

      Delete
    3. I wonder what I'm doing for "Y"....I'm a huge Weird Al fan,too!

      Delete
  4. You have really done a lot of research for your A-Z posts, my friend, and this one is really in the background for me. I've never heard of the guy, but he certainly has earned his place in history of music!

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    1. I'm obsessive about a few things: history, genealogy, art, music, animals...this is fun for me.

      Delete
  5. Sultans of swing is a great one. Money for nothing wasn't a bad movie either, off topic, I know haha

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    1. I love songs that are iconic - Sultans of Swing is in the category.

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  6. Knopfler did a lot of soundtrack work.
    He has a dinosaur named after him? That is really wild.

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    1. I think more kids would learn the scientific names of dinosaurs if they were all named after rock groups and artists.

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  7. You know you've made it when you have a dinosaur named after you. At this point, I'd settle for having a fungus named after me.

    Great band choice, and great song choices!

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    1. I swear by the Norse gods that I will do my part to promote you as a possible fungus designation. It's only fair.

      Delete
  8. Sorry...but I haven't heard of him. *Hides in shame.*

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    1. Chrys, Chrys, Chrys...I still love ya.

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  9. "Money For Nothin." Back when MTV actually played music videos, it was playing on the TV while I was waiting for Mrs. Penwasser to come down for our first date.
    Ahhhhhh.......memories. And the end of chicks for free.
    NOTE: Yeah. As if.

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    1. "As if..." Bwahahahaha. You're hilarious.

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  10. Dire Straits, Sultans of Swing and Money for Nothing, perfect.
    I miss My MTV, where has it gone.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. They took the M out of MTV. I'm been in mourning ever since.

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  11. I have the album with this song on it. He is a great guitarist and I like the sound-very unique.

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  12. Oh-hope you are feeling better!

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    Replies
    1. I feel vaguely human today - there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

      Thanks for asking!

      Delete
  13. I still want my money for nothin' and my kicks for free.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. I just realized it's "chicks for free." All these years of hearing that song and thinking it was kicks. I can play the piano. Why don't I get my money for nothin'?

      Delete
    2. I'd rather give nothing - for money. Come to think of it, I've purchases things that qualified as "nothing" for money.

      In fact, I'd be happy just to be given money without the discussion about that was being exchanged. Yeah...I'm going with that.

      Delete
  14. Toro, toro taxi... see you later, my son...

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  15. Aha. You ARE way ahead of the game. I don't think I could do my soundtrack posts as they are moving along chronologically (with me telling an ongoing story that I know all too well... me!).

    Do you remember the two BoTB I've posted featuring Dire Straits? I can't remember if you were voting then or not....

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    1. I didn't see those! Must have been before I got hip to the whole BoTB stuff. I love the BoTB posts. I'm going to have to look for that.

      Delete
    2. If you go to my blog and use the search function at the top... Type in Dire Straits. I know that there are two BoTB that should pull with that. One was Romeo and Juliet and the other was When It Comes To You. I can't recall if I wrote a post on them during my period of featuring 80s bands or not. It's all kinda fuzzy now. It was back in 2010 I think.

      Delete
  16. My, but he does look kinda goofy in that first promo shot. Of course the times have changed since then.

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    1. When think about that headband, it almost ruins it, ha ha.

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  17. Know the songs. Never knew his name.

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    1. Come for the humor, stay for the information. Something for everyone on the Flipside....(lol).

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  18. I always knew him for Money for Nothing, so it was amazing to me when I got older and realized just how accomplished he was!

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    1. He really is involved in a lot of stuff - even now. But he is so talented!

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  19. Great spotlight. I'm familiar with the band and their songs, but not the individual members.

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  20. There are two songs I can listen to over and over and over again from the Dire Straits. One is Tunnel of Love, the other is this cover of Sultans of Swing.

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Thanks for your personal yada, yada, yada,
Love, Cherdo