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Dire Straits were a British rock band formed in London in 1977 by Mark Knopfler (lead vocals and lead guitar), David Knopfler (rhythm guitar and backing vocals), John Illsley (bass guitar and backing vocals), and Pick Withers (drums and percussion). The band became one of the world's best-selling music artists, with records sales of over 100 million.

Their first hit single "Sultans of Swing", from their self-titled debut album, reached the top ten in the UK and US charts in 1978. They released hit singles in the 1980s, such as "Private Investigations" (1983), "Money for Nothing" (1985), and "Walk of Life" (1985). Their most commercially successful album was Brothers in Arms (1985), which has sold more than 30 million copies and was the first album to sell a million copies on the compact disc (CD) format. Dire Straits' sound was drawn from a wide variety of musical influences including jazz, folk, and country, as well as the blues-rock of J. J. Cale and Eric Clapton. Their stripped-down sound contrasted with punk rock and demonstrated a roots rock influence that emerged from pub rock.

According to the Guinness Book of British Hit Albums, Dire Straits have spent over 1,100 weeks on the UK albums chart, ranking fifth all-time. Brothers in Arms is the eighth-best-selling album in UK chart history. Their career spanned 15 years. They split in 1988, reformed in 1991, and disbanded again in 1995 after Mark Knopfler launched his solo career full-time. There were several changes in personnel over both periods, with Mark Knopfler and Illsley the only members who remained throughout the band's career. Dire Straits won four Grammy Awards, three Brit Awards (Best British Group twice), two MTV Video Music Awards, and various other music awards. The band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.

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Discography

Album

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1978 Dire Straits Dire Straits 4.7 22
1979 Communiqué Dire Straits 4.65 18
1980 Making Movies Dire Straits 4 16
1982 Love Over Gold Dire Straits 4.85 22
1985 Brothers in Arms Dire Straits 4.5 33
1991 On Every Street Dire Straits 3.35 12
1993 Bijou Dire Straits 1
Brothers in Arms - Alternate Edition Dire Straits 1
The Long Strait Walk to Wembley Dire Straits 1

Album + Compilation

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1988 Money for Nothing Dire Straits 3.5 11
1991 Dire Straits Dire Straits 1
1996 Rare Sessions V Dire Straits 1
1998 Sultans of Swing: The Very Best of Dire Straits Dire Straits 3.65 11
1999 The Whispers of Dire Straits: The Best Ballads Dire Straits 1
2001 The Very Best: MTV History 2000 Dire Straits 2
2005 The Best of Dire Straits & Mark Knopfler: Private Investigations Dire Straits & Mark Knopfler 12
2008 Greatest Hits Dire Straits 1
2011 2 for 1: Brothers in Arms / On Every Street Dire Straits 1
2011 The Ultimate Best of Dire Straits Dire Straits 1
2013 The Studio Albums 1978 - 1991 Dire Straits 2
2016 Absolute Hits (2016) Dire Straits 1
2018 Six Blade Knife (The Magic Of Dire Straits) Dire Straits 1
Rare Sessions I Dire Straits 1
Rare Sessions II Dire Straits 1
Rare Sessions III Dire Straits 1
Rare Sessions IV Dire Straits 1
The Last Waltz Dire Straits 1

Album + Compilation + Demo

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1992 Early Demos Dire Straits 1
2008 Alternative Demos Dire Straits 1
Demos 77-80 Dire Straits 1

Album + Compilation + Live

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1991 Live USA (imt 2 CD 920.013) Dire Straits 1
1991 Live USA (imt 2 CD 900.020) Phil Collins & Dire Straits 1

Album + Live

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1979 The Boarding House San Francisco April 1, 1979 - Live Dire Straits 1
1984 Alchemy: Dire Straits Live Dire Straits 4.75 12
1984 Alchemy: Dire Straits Live, Part One (first part of "Alchemy: Dire Straits Live" as an independent release) Dire Straits 2
1984 Alchemy: Dire Straits Live, Part Two (second part of "Alchemy: Dire Straits Live" as an independent release) Dire Straits 2
1990 1979-03-03: Live USA: The Tower Theatre, Philadelphia, PA, USA Dire Straits 1
1990 Once Upon a Time Dire Straits 1
1990 Rotterdam 1978 Dire Straits 2
1990 Straiting Out Things - Live at Wembley 1985 Dire Straits 1
1991 1985-08-17: San Antonio, TX, USA Dire Straits 1
1991 Cocaine Dire Straits 1
1991 First Complete Dire Straits’ Live Project Dire Straits 1
1991 Live in Chester Dire Straits 1
1991 Live USA, Vol. 1 Dire Straits 1
1991 Live USA, Vol. 2 Dire Straits 1
1991 Perfect Investigations Dire Straits 1
1991 Rock Royalties Dire Straits 1
1991 Solid Rock Dire Straits & Eric Clapton 1
1991 Strait To The Point Dire Straits 1
1991 Thank You Australia and New Zealand Dire Straits 1
1991 Walk on Stage Dire Straits 1
1992 1991-09-19: Sold Out in Every Street: Wembley Arena, London, UK Dire Straits 1
1992 1992-05-31: Rotterdam, Netherlands Dire Straits 1
1992 European Tour 1992 Dire Straits 1
1992 Les InRockuptibles Dire Straits 1
1992 On Every Planet Dire Straits 1
1992 On Every Stage Dire Straits 1
1992 Open Air ’92 Dire Straits 1
1992 Rock File '79 Dire Straits 1
1992 The Best Things in Life Dire Straits 1
1992 Ticket to Heaven Dire Straits 1
1993 On the Night Dire Straits 4 8
1993 Calling Elvis. Live At St. Jakob Stadion Dire Straits 1
1993 The Greatest Hits Concert Dire Straits 1
1993 Tunnel Of Love Dire Straits 1
1994 Boston 1979 Dire Straits 1
1994 Heavy Fuel (Bootleg) Dire Straits 1
1994 Live in Dortmund 1980 Dire Straits 2
1995 Live at the BBC Dire Straits 3 6
2002 Angels On A Saturday Night Dire Straits 1
2005 Brothers In Sydney Dire Straits 1
2006 Sultans of San Remo (Bootleg. Live in San Remo (Italy), Stadio Comunale 27/06/1981) Dire Straits 1
2007 Secrets in the Closet Dire Straits 1
2008 Sultans of Swing - Live In Germany Dire Straits 2
2016 The New Old Waldorf Dire Straits 1
1981-07-01: Torino, Italy Dire Straits 1
1981-07-05: Before We Became Famous: X Rekords, Brussels, Belgium Dire Straits 1
1985-08-05: American Tour 1985: Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls, OH, USA Dire Straits 1
1986-04-26: Sydney, Australia Dire Straits 1
1986-04-26: The Final Oz Concert Dire Straits 1
1988‐06‐11: Dire Straits Live – Mandela ’88: Wembley Stadium, London, UK Dire Straits 2
1992-07-27: Copenhagen, Denmark Dire Straits 1
Autumn in Nimes Dire Straits 1
Goin' Home - Recorded Live in London 1983 Dire Straits 1
Lady Love Dire Straits 1
Live on WDR Radio 1979 Dire Straits 1
London 1985 Dire Straits 1
On the Road to Philadelphia Dire Straits 1

Single

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1978 Sultans of Swing Dire Straits 5 6
1979 Lady Writer Dire Straits 2
1985 Money for Nothing Dire Straits 4 5
1985 Walk of Life Dire Straits 4 3
1986 Your Latest Trick Dire Straits 1
1987 Brothers in Arms Dire Straits 5 2
1991 Calling Elvis Dire Straits 5 2
1991 Enter Sandman / Calling Elvis Metallica / Dire Straits 1
1991 Heavy Fuel Dire Straits 3 1
1992 On Every Street Dire Straits 5 1
1992 The Bug Dire Straits 1

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