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Dire Straits: Sultan of Swing

In the latter 1970s a Brit band named DIRE STRAITS popped up on the scene with an infectious and fun record called, THE SULTANS OF SWING. The song was written and sung by a young man named Mark Knopfler, who turned out to be one of the great artists of his time.

 

Mark said he wrote the song after watching a rag-tag Jazz Band in a South London Pub one night who at the end of their set said, "We're the Sultans of Swing." Knopfler found it kind of amusing that these guys had such a haughty name, and went home and wrote a song about them and their lives.

 

One of my favorite lines is: "I've got a daytime job, and I'm doin' all right." But you can also feel the love for the music they play, and Mark's empathy for them and identification with being a struggling musician. Success didn't come easy, the song was different from virtually everything on the Radio, but after some play on Radio London built kind of a cult following. 


They recorded the song first in 1977 on their own dime, and later it was picked up by Phonogram Records. The Label requested they go back into the Studio and make a more down and dirty version like a Bar Band. Muff Winwood, Steve's younger brother, was tapped to be Producer, and supervised their first album, "Dire Straits," with all songs written by Knopfler, who also played Lead Guitar and sang, and then selected "Sultans of Swing" to be the first single. It dropped in 1978 to no response, but everyone in the company loved the song and they re-released it six months later in 1979 to a much warmer reception after it was discovered by American Radio.

 

"Sultans of Swing" hit #4 on The Hot 100 in the U.S., and #8 on the U.K. singles chart, going solid gold. It would be the beginning of a long run of Hit Albums and Singles for "Dire Straits," and make them one of the premier touring bands world-wide. We're very fortunate to have this sensational video of the group doing "Sultans of Swing" Live from the DVD of their first album "Alchemy," with Hi Def Picture, and 5.0 sound. @therealdonrocks

 

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