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Dire Straits

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Newcastle, United Kingdom (1977 – 1995)

Dire Straits were a band from Newcastle, United Kingdom, formed in 1977 by Mark Knopfler (guitar and vocals), his brother David Knopfler (guitar), John Illsley (bass), and Pick Withers (drums), and subsequently managed by Ed Bicknell. Dire Straits emerged during the era of the late ’70s, and while their sound was minimalistic and stripped down, they owed little to . If anything, the band was a direct outgrowth of the roots revivalism of , but where pub rock celebrated good times, Dire Straits were melancholy. Led by guitarist/vocalist Mark Knopfler, the group built their sound upon the laid-back of J.J. Cale, but they also had jazz and country inflections, occasionally dipping into the epic song structures of . The band’s music was offset by Knopfler’s lyrics, which approximated the winding, stream-of-conscious narratives of Bob Dylan. As their career progressed, Dire Straits became more refined and their new maturity happened to coincide with the rise of MTV and the compact disc. These two musical revolutions from the mid-’80s helped make Dire Straits’ fifth studio album, Brothers in Arms, an international blockbuster. The band - along with Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, and Steve Winwood - became one of the leaders of a group of self-consciously mature veteran rock & rollers in the late ’80s that designed their music to appeal to aging baby boomers.

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