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Sultans of Swing - The Very Best of Dire Straits

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Album Review

Exactly ten years after Dire Straits' first compilation, Money for Nothing, appeared in the stores, their second, Sultans of Swing: The Very Best of Dire Straits, was released. A decade is a significant span of time, and the average band would have produced enough material for an entirely different collection, one that shared no similarities with its predecessor. Dire Straits is not the average band, however, and during those ten years, they released exactly two albums — 1991's On Every Street, their first studio album since Brothers in Arms in 1985, and 1993's On the Night, a live album culled from tapes of the record's supporting tour. Not quite enough new material for a new greatest-hits album, but it had been years since Dire Straits had released an album of any sort (a compilation of BBC sessions snuck into the stores in 1995) — hence the birth of Sultans of Swing. Unsurprisingly, it covers much of the same ground as Money for Nothing, containing all the essentials ("Sultans of Swing," "Romeo and Juliet," "Tunnel of Love," "Private Investigations," "Twisting by the Pool," "Money for Nothing," "Brothers in Arms," "Walk of Life"), with the exception of "Telegraph Road," which was left on the earlier compilation. A live "Love Over Gold," "Lady Writer," and "So Far Away" replace "Down to the Waterline," "Where Do You Think You're Going," and a live "Portobello Belle," which is really just a trade-off, since they're all equal in quality. Then there are the three hits from On Every Street ("Calling Elvis," "Heavy Fuel," "On Every Street"), all of which are pleasant re-creations of the Brothers in Arms sound; a live version of "Your Latest Trick" from On the Night, and, inexplicably, Mark Knopfler's "Wild Theme (Theme from Local Hero)." Fine tunes all, but none of them are reason enough to replace Money for Nothing with Sultans of Swing. But for casual fans or curious listeners looking for an introduction/sampler, it's the better choice, simply because it covers more ground and contains more music while remaining quite listenable and entertaining.

Customer Reviews

Classics Never Go Out Of Style

Dire Straits have the best of the best, from the sad, lonely, depressing stories to the upbeat riffs and walking baselines. The classics never truely go out of style do they? Dire Staits cover any emotion a person could be looking for. Light and romantic (Romeo and Juliet), mysterious (Private Investigations), or the bright and cheery music that just makes you want to dance! (Twisting by the Pool, Lady Writer, Walk of Life). Dire Straits had it right... Two thumbs way up!

classic

A classic band with all of their best music in one album. It can't get any better!

Curious absences

How could any "best of" collection omit "Industrial Disease" from Love Over Gold? What a fun song!

Biography

Formed: 1977 in London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s

Dire Straits emerged during the post-punk era of the late '70s, and while their sound was minimalistic and stripped down, they owed little to punk. If anything, the band was a direct outgrowth of the roots revivalism of pub rock, but where pub rock celebrated good times, Dire Straits were melancholy. Led by guitarist/vocalist Mark Knopfler, the group built their sound upon the laid-back blues-rock of J.J. Cale, but they also had jazz and country inflections, occasionally dipping into the epic song...
Full Bio
Sultans of Swing - The Very Best of Dire Straits, Dire Straits
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  • $12.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Hard Rock, Rock & Roll, Pop, Pop/Rock, Arena Rock
  • Released: Oct 27, 1998

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