Number 5 ‘Dire Straits’ by Dire Straits

You know that moment when you hear a song for the first time by someone you never heard of, and the amazement and thrill of it coursing through your brain as it captivates you? Apart from the incredibly fluent guitar work, ‘Sultans of Swing’ left you wanting the track played again and again and again.

I sometimes bought albums on a whim. In this case ‘Sultans of Swing’ made me want to hear a lot more of Dire Straits. At the time, unless other tracks from an album also became hits, it was difficult to discover what other treasures were awaiting me, so I parted with my few quid and rushed home to play the album.

The album opens with ‘Down to the Waterline’ and there was the unmistakeable sound of Mark Knopfler’s guitar artistry. Yeah, this guy could play. In fairness, so could the others in the band, including Mark’s brother David. Track two, ‘Water of Love’ was a slower affair, but no less interesting. By ‘Setting Me Up’ I was totally immersed in the new world of Dire Straits.

I played on wondering where were the dud tracks – there usually are a few. ‘Six Blade Knife’? No. ‘Southbound Again’? Nope.

What about side two? Well, ‘Sultans of Swing’ started the ball rolling there, followed by the luscious ‘In the Gallery’, all six minutes and 16 seconds of it. ‘Wild West End’ is a beautiful ballad, while ‘Lions’, which completes the album, is perhaps my least favourite track, although it’s still worth a listen.

I became a huge fan of Dire Straits and bought all their albums. One unfortunate error on my part was missing out on their concert in Cork in January 1981. Some months earlier David Knopfler left the band over differences with his brother. Unfortunately, I assumed Mark had left so I didn’t buy a concert ticket! My mistake. A big regret.