Thursday, 12 August 2010

Britain says "Happy Birthday" to Mark Knopfler

Mark Mark Knopfler lead guitarist, vocalist and songwriter for the rock band 'Dire Straits', which he played in from 1977 to its disbanding in 1995, is 61 today.

Things you possibly didn't know about Mark : he :

* was born in Glasgow, Scotland to an English mother and a Hungarian Jewish father, an architect whose communist sympathies forced him to flee his native Hungary.

* settled in his Mother's home town of Blyth in the North-East of England when he was around 7 years old.

* attended 'Gosforth Grammar School' and while there, was was inspired by his Uncle Kingsley's harmonica and boogie-woogie piano playing.

* formed and joined anonymous schoolboy bands in the 1960's and at the age 16, made a local TV appearance as half of a 'harmony duo' along with a friend from school called Sue.

* displayed a flair for English and in 1967, studied journalism for a year at Harlow Technical College.

* got a job in Leeds as a junior reporter on the 'Yorkshire Evening Post'.

* decided to further his studies and eventually went on to graduate with a degree in English at the University of Leeds.

* worked as a part-time lecturer at Loughton College and played music with mates in a band called the 'Café Racers'.

* moved to London and joined a band called 'Brewers Droop' which made an album called 'The Booze Brothers'.

* played on an old acoustic guitar with a badly warped neck which had been strung with extra-light strings to make it playable and which he found impossible to play unless he finger-picked it. He later said : "That was where I found my 'voice' on guitar."

* made the first demos with 'Dire Straits' in 1977 including 'Sultans of Swing' which, when it was released, became a chart hit in Europe, the United States and Canada and finally Britain.
Lyrics at bottom of posting.

* released 'Making Movies' in 1980, which contained 'Romeo and Juliet' and 'Dire Straits Live' in 1983 which sold over 500,000 copies.
Lyrics at bottom of posting.

* released 'Brothers in Arms'in 1985.
Lyrics at bottom of posting.

* made the first video ever to be played on MTV in Britain and the first C.D. to sell a million copies.

* made a world tour in 1985–86.

* joined the charity ensemble 'Ferry Aid' on 'Let It Be' in the wake of the Zeebrugge ferry disaster.

* regrouped with 'Dire Straits' in 1988 for the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute Concert at Wembley Stadium and sang 'Brothers in Arms'.

* wrote the music scores for the films 'Local Hero', 'Last Exit to Brooklyn' and 'Wag the Dog'.

* was ranked 27 on the 'Rolling Stone' magazine's list of '100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.'

* sold over 120 million albums with 'Dire Straits'

Well Mark, like millions of other old men, I am so glad that you got out of journalism and lecturing and got into music. Thank you.

Sultans of Swing :

You get a shiver in the dark,
It's raining in the park but meantime,
South of the river you stop and you hold everything.
A band is blowin' Dixie double four time.
You feel alright when you hear that music ring.

And now you step inside but you don't see too many faces.
Comin' in out of the rain you hear the jazz go down.
Competition in other places.
Oh but the horns they blowin' that sound
Way on down south, way on down south London town.

You check out Guitar George, he knows all the chords.
Mind he's strictly rhythm he doesn't wanna make it cry or sing.
Yes and an old guitar is all he can afford.
When he gets up under the lights to play his thing.

And Harry doesn't mind if he doesn't make the scene.
He's got a daytime job, he's doin' alright.
He can play the honky tonk like anything.
Savin' it up for Friday night
With the Sultans... with the Sultans of Swing.

And a crowd of young boys they're fooling around in the corner.
Drunk and dressed in their best brown baggies and their platform soles.
They don't give a damn about any trumpet playing band.
It ain't what they call rock and roll.
And the Sultans... yeah the Sultans play Creole.

And then the man he steps right up to the microphone,
And says at last just as the time bell rings :
"Goodnight, now it's time to go home".
And he makes it fast with one more thing.
"We are the Sultans... We are the Sultans of Swing".

Romeo and Juliet

A love-struck Romeo sings the streets a serenade,
Laying everybody low with a love song that he made.
Finds a streetlight, steps out of the shade,
Says something like, "You and me babe, how about it?"

Juliet says, "Hey, it's Romeo, you nearly gave me a heart attack!"
He's underneath the window, she's singing, "Hey la, my boyfriend's back.
You shouldn't come around here singing up to people like that...
Anyway, what you gonna do about it?"

Juliet, the dice was loaded from the start,
And I bet when you exploded into my heart.
And I forget I forget the movie song,
When you gonna realize it was just that the time was wrong, Juliet?

Come up on different streets, they're both the streets of shame.
Both dirty, both mean, yes, in the dream it was just the same.
And I dreamed your dream for you and now your dream is real.
How can you look at me as if I was just another one of your deals?

When you can fall for chains of silver,
You can fall for chains of gold.
You can fall for pretty strangers,
And the promises they hold.
You promised me everything, you promised me thick and thin, yeah!
Now you just say, "Oh Romeo? Yeah, you know I used to have a scene with him".

Juliet, when we made love, you used to cry.
You said, "I love you like the stars above, I'll love you 'til I die".
There's a place for us, you know the movie song.
When you gonna realize it was just that the time was wrong, Juliet?

I can't do the talk, like the talk on TV
And I can't do a love song, like the way it's meant to be.
I can't do everything, but I'll do anything for you.
I can't do anything, 'cept be in love with you!
And all I do is miss you and the way we used to be.
All I do is keep the beat... and bad company.
Now all I do is kiss you through the bars of a rhyme,
Juliet, I'd do the stars with you any time!

Juliet, when we made love you used to cry.
You said, "I love you like the stars above, I'll love you 'til I die".
There's a place for us, you know the movie song.
When you gonna realize it was just that the time was wrong, Juliet?

And a love-struck Romeo sings a street-suss serenade.
Laying everybody low with a lovesong that he made.
Finds a convenient streetlight, steps out of the shade.
He says something like, "You and me babe, how about it?"

You and me babe, how about it?

Brother in Arms :

These mist covered mountains,
Are a home now for me.
But my home is the lowlands,
And always will be.
Some day you'll return to,
Your valleys and your farms.
And you'll no longer burn,
To be brothers in arms.

Through these fields of destruction,
Baptisms of fire.
I've witnessed your suffering,
As the battles raged higher.
And though they hurt me so bad,
In the fear and alarm.
You did not desert me,
My brothers in arms.

There's so many different worlds.
So many different suns.
And we have just one world,
But we live in different ones.

Now the sun's gone to hell,
And the moon's riding high.
Let me bid you farewell,
Every man has to die.
But it's written in the starlight,
And every line on your palm.
We're fools to make war,
On our brothers in arms.

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