Dire Straits' fifth album will probably be remembered as the record that ushered in the CD generation, and therefore (depending on your affiliations) a work of extreme evil or an object lesson in craftsmanship. In truth though, it's neither. Inevitably, some moments haven't dated so well. "Money For Nothing", Mark Knopfler's satire of the MTV generation, seems as vacant as its target; while the jukebox jive of "Walk Of Life" could have used a little roughing up. In fairness though, such low points constitute a minority. In latter years, indie bands such as Gomez and Spiritualized have eagerly cited JJ Cale and Dr John as pivotal influences on their work. Perhaps so, but it's the less fashionable Knopfler and his intuitive feel for the fretboard who comes closer. You needn't dig too deep to identify the roots of beauties such as "So Far Away" and "Why Worry". --Peter Paphides
29 Million copies sold. Third best-selling album of all time in the UK. First album to succeed in the CD market, Grammy winning, earner of enough Platinum to build a house: Brothers In Arms is a phenomenon on every level. Its production raised the bar for all music to come, its songs and videos became household items. It also almost destroyed the band.
By 1984, incessant touring and recording schedules hadn’t dimmed Mark Knopfler’s enthusiasm for perfection. Having taken over the production duties on previous album Love Over Gold, he now went even further towards a kind of pop-oriented Americana. Brothers…has a fine array of chart moments, including, of course, the Sting-assisted video hit “Money for Nothing”, the moody “So far Away” and faux bop “Walk Of Life”. But it gets them out of the way in the manner of mere aperitifs and then massages you with a suite of Knopfler’s very fine brand of JJ Cale-lite. Along with gruff nods to Dylan and James Burton. Like contemporaries U2 they had the golden touch that made their gold instantly more American and mythical than most acts from the States.
They toured this album for two years. After that amount of time surely any band would falter. They certainly had a very long hiatus. This album was bigger than them. On that final night of the tour in they must have never wanted to hear a note of this album again. Twenty years on, it’s still echoing around the world. As inescapable as ever. --Chris Jones
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