Great Rock Albums of 1979: Dire Straits

The first time I heard the Dire Straits song, “Sultans of Swing” I was in the marines listening to it with a bunch of my marine buddies. One of them stated, “It’s Bob Dylan” and another added, “And he’s got Clapton backing him up on guitar.” While I would have loved to have seen such a calloboration, I am satisfied with knowing that Dire Straits is the closest I will ever get to it. Besides, Mark Knopfler  is a much better vocalist than Dylan and on this album he plays guitar almost as good as Clapton.

In spite of the fact that “Sultans of Swing” reached number four in the US charts, this first album by Dire Straits is definitely not a one song, the rest filler album. There are many great tracks that shows the guitar talents of Knopfler and supported by the rest of the band. Of course, the forementioned song is my favourite Dire Straits song of all time but there are some other good tracks on the album as well. It’s the later tracks that do it for me like “Soutbound Again,” “In the Gallery” and “Wild West End.” However, the entire album is a good soft rock listen with some fantastic blues guitar licks compliments of Mark Knopfler.

Track Listing:

1. Down to the Waterline

2. Water of Love

3. Setting Me Up

4. Six Blade Knife

5. Southbound Again

6. Sultans of Swing

7. In the Gallery

8. Wild West End

9. Lions

Dire Straits

Mark Knopfler- lead vocals, lead guitar, rhythm guitar

John Illsley- bass, backing vocals

David Knopfler- rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Pick Withers- drums

I didn’t get to hear this album until 1980 and I have always concluded that it was just one of those albums that came out when I was in boot camp in the summer of 79. Furthermore, in 1985, when everyone was raving about “Brothers in Arms,” I automatically thought back to this album and remembered that it was more genuine offering than the more commercially produced one in the mid 80s. This is the album I will always associate most with Dire Straits.

Next post: Cheap Trick- Dream Police

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4 Responses to “Great Rock Albums of 1979: Dire Straits”

  1. Metal Odyssey Says:

    Excellent Dire Straits choice! 🙂 \m/

    I saw Dire Straits live in ’85 (at the Hartford Civic Center) and the opening act was… a juggler. Whoa.

    Regardless of the mystery juggler, Dire Straits put on a spectacular set… practically 2 hours worth of Rockin’ magic!


    • Thanks, still my favorite Dire Straits album. I saw them in 85 too at the Mann Music Center in Philadelphia.
      They were good but I was a little disappointed they didn’t play Skateaway or Industrial Disease


      • Metal Odyssey Says:

        Yes, if my memory serves any justice, those two songs weren’t played in Hartford either.

        It was amazing to see all the people that night go bonkers for ‘Money For Nothing’ and ‘Walk Of Life’… when all along, there was an entire evening of tremendous Dire Straits songs being played!

        Add Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits to the long list that is being snubbed by the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. 😦


      • I experienced the same thing and spot on about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame


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