Dire Straits: “Sultans of Swing”

ALBUM: Dire Straits

YEAR: 1978

WRITER: Mark Knopfler

Peaked at number-four on the Billboard Hot 100

“Sultans of Swing” was inspired by a not-very-good band Mark Knofpler once saw playing in a pub. Knopfler explains that playing his early songs live over the years with bands of all sizes and instrumentation has helped keep them fresh for him. “Even things that everybody recognizes from the old days like ‘Sultans,’ I’ve taken them up with the band in different formats up to having eight people playing on it to just taking it back to a little four piece. And I’d be liable to do it with two, three next time out, change it again. It’s just really like trying to find something in it to keep you interested.”

20 years ago today (September 15th, 1997), Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits joined Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Sting, Elton John and others at a London benefit for the island of Montserrat, which had been devastated by a volcanic eruption.


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