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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

Not just a Dad's album.....

A classic album, but something that for the younger generation is to be discovered. The timeless classics and guitar solo's are something you don't see in this generation of electronic music, and is something that on a Saturday night, outside in the Garden, provides a perfect backdrop to conversation and just sheer enjoyment.... If you havn't listened to dire-straights, then you havn't heard some of the best guitar solo's ever (yes and i mean better than Eric Clapton).... Iain x

All Hail Sultan Knopfler

Although they could be viewed as little out of place with a lot of music of the time and maybe the preserve of many a Dad's music collection this is definitely worth getting. Mark Knopfler is simply one of the most talented singer-songwriters-guitarist of a generation. He is easily a near equal of Eric Clapton. This is a solidly produce collection of the range of Dire Straits work and Knopfler's talent. Each song demonstrates his husky tones of his voice and his amazing guitar playing. Highlights must including the Sultans of Swing, Private Investigation, Money For Nothing and Heavy Fuel. Many tracks have lyrics which make you smile as you can accurately map out what Knopfler is describing. The only song which seems very out of place is Twisting By The Pool, but is often regarded as the trashy song Knopfler had to get out of his system at the time. It can be tolerated amongst such greats, but its inclusion must be questioned. In conclusion definitely worth downloading.

Reminds me if my childhood

This Album is a class act, I remember some of the songs from when I was a little girl, reminds me of happy times. Every song is superb (except 'Twisting by the Pool' Don't Bother, its completely out of character with the rest of the Album), Mark Knopfler has an unmistakeable voice that's as smooth as the saxophone, and humorous too. It always makes me smile. I have listened to this album probably 200 times in 4 years and I'm not sick of it.


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...
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