Knopfler, Mark (Freuder) 1949-
KNOPFLER, Mark (Freuder) 1949-
Born August 12, 1949, in Glasgow, Strathclyde, Scotland; son of Erwin (an architect) and Louisa Mary (a teacher) Knopfler; married second wife, Lourdes Salamone (divorced); married Kitty Aldridge; children: (second marriage) Benji and Joseph (twins); (third marriage) Isabella, Katya. Education: Leeds University, B.A., 1973.
Office—Mercury Records, 72 Chancellor's Road, London W69QB, England. Agent—Ed Bicknell, Damage Management, 16 Lambdon Place, London W11 2SH, England.
Guitarist, singer, songwriter, and musical producer; lead singer and guitarist for band Dire Straits. Musician for films, including The Princess Bride, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1987; (and musical producer) Metroland, Pandora Cinema, 1997; (and musical producer) Wag the Dog, New Line Cinema, 1997; and As You Wish: The Story of the Princess Bride (documentary), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists Home Entertainment, 2001. Appeared as himself in films, including The Secret Policeman's Third Ball (concert film), Virgin Vision, 1987; The Prince's Trust Rock Gala, 1988; and Sultans of Swing: The Very Best of Dire Straits (video), 1999. Composer of film scores, including Local Hero, Warner Bros., 1983; Cal, Warner Bros., 1984; Comfort and Joy, Universal, 1984; The Princess Bride, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1987; Last Exit to Brooklyn, Neue Constantin, 1989; Tishina (also known as A Silence), 1991; Metroland, 1997; Wag the Dog, 1997; and A Shot at Glory, Mac Releasing, 2000. Musician and composer for television movie Hooves of Fire (also known as Robbie the Reindeer in Hooves of Fire), British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), 1999; composer of title song, "Why Aye Man," for television series Pet auf Wiedersehen, 1983. Appeared as himself in television specials, including (with Dire Straits) Alchemy Live, 1984; (with Dire Straits) Live Aid, 1985; The Prince's Trust All-Star Rock Concert, Home Box Office (HBO), 1986; In Private and Public: The Prince and Princess of Wales (documentary), British television, 1986; A Session with Chet Atkins, Certified Guitar Player (also known as Chet Atkins and Friends: Music from the Heart), Cinemax, 1987; The Superstar Concert at Knebworth, Disney Channel, 1994 (filmed 1990); The History of Rock 'n' Roll, Vol. 7 (documentary; also known as Guitar Heroes), Warner Bros., 1995; Not Fade Away: Remembering Buddy Holly, 1996; and All-Star Concert for Monserrat, 1997. Guest star on episodes of television series, including "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," French and Saunders, 1990; and Parkinson, 2000. Appeared in music videos with Dire Straits, including "Sultans of Swing," Warner Bros., 1978; "Twisting by the Pool," Warner Bros., 1983; "Walk of Life," Warner Bros., 1985; "Money for Nothing," Warner Bros., 1989; and "Alchemy Live," Polygram Video, 1991. Producer of albums, including Aztec Camera, Knife, Sire, 1984; Last Exit to Brooklyn (soundtrack), Warner Bros., 1986; Tina Turner, Break Every Rule, Capitol, 1986; Color of Money (soundtrack), MCA, 1986; Willy DeVille, Miracle, A&M, 1987; Randy Newman, Land of Dreams, Reprise, 1988; An Officer and a Gentleman (soundtrack), Island, 1988; Notting Hillbillies, Missing … Presumed Having a Good Time, Warner Bros., 1990; Chet Atkins, Neck and Neck, Columbia, 1991; Classic Rock Box: WNEW-FM 25th Anniversary Box, Polygram, 1992; Bob Dylan, Greatest Hits, Vol. 3, Columbia, 1994; The Best Rock Album in the World … Ever!, Virgin, 1994; Tina Turner, Collected Recordings—Sixties to the Nineties, Capitol, 1994; Alex, 100 Percent Summer, 1994; Twang!: A Tribute to Hank Marvin & the Shadows, Pangea, 1996; Twister (soundtrack), Warner Sunset/Warner Bros., 1996; and (with others) Sailing to Philadelphia, Warner Bros., 2000. Yorkshire Evening Post, reporter and music critic, c. late 1960s; Loughton College, instructor in English, c. 1973-77.
Named officer, Order of the British Empire, 1999.
SONGWRITER; WITH DIRE STRAITS; RECORDINGS
(And producer) Dire Straits, Warner Bros., 1978.
Sultans of Swing, Warner Bros., 1978.
Communique, Warner Bros., 1979.
(And producer) Dire Straits/Making Movies, Warner Bros., 1980.
(And producer) Making Movies, Warner Bros., 1980.
(And producer) Love over Gold, Warner Bros., 1982.
(And producer) Twisting by the Pool, Warner Bros., 1983.
(And producer) Alchemy (live album), Warner Bros., 1984.
Walk of Life, Warner Bros., 1985.
(And producer) Brothers in Arms, Warner Bros., 1985.
Interview Disc, Baktabak, 1987.
(And producer) Money for Nothing, Warner Bros., 1988.
Alchemy Live, Polygram Video, 1991.
(And producer) On Every Street, Warner Bros., 1991.
(And producer) On the Night, Warner Bros., 1993.
Live at the BBC, Winsong, 1995.
The Best of Dire Straits, Polygram, 1998.
(And producer) Sultans of Swing: The Very Best of Dire Straits, Warner Bros., 1998.
Dire Straits's songs have been featured in the soundtracks of numerous films, including Brothers and Sisters, 1980; Riding High, 1980; An Officer and a Gentleman, 1982; Space Camp, 1986; Uhf, 1989; McBain, 1991; Desperado, 1995; Michael, 1996; Can't Hardly Wait, 1998; I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, 1998; Safe Men, 1998; 200 Cigarettes, 1999; Bandits, 2001; and Spy Game, 2001.
SONGWRITER; WITH OTHERS; RECORDINGS
Golden Heart, Warner Bros., 1996.
Words + Music, Warner Bros., 1996.
Night in London, Polygram, 1996.
Sailing to Philadelphia, Warner Bros., 2000.
The Ragpicker's Dream, Warner Bros., 2002.
Contributor of lyrics, vocals, and music to albums by others, including Bob Dylan, Steely Dan, Phil Lynott, Van Morrison, Tina Turner, Chet Atkins, Everly Brothers, George Jones, Randy Travis, Joan Baez, John Anderson, Clint Black, and Waylon Jennings.
Mark Knopfler, former front man for the band Dire Straits, has also worked solo for many years. Dire Straits was formed by Knopfler, a guitarist, singer, and songwriter, his brother David, also a guitarist, and bassist John Illsley in London, where all three men were sharing an apartment. They found a drummer, Pick Withers, and in 1977 they recorded a demo tape and took it to a deejay, who liked one of the songs, "Sultans of Swing," so much that he started playing it on the radio. The song became the biggest hit from the musicians' first album, Dire Straits, released in 1978. Seemingly overnight, the Knopfler and company were international stars: Dire Straits reached second place on the American charts, and fifth in Britain. "When hundreds of beginner guitarists plopped Dire Straits on the turntable and heard Knopfler's 'Sultans of Swing' for the first time, they dropped their jaws and never again raised their picks. How could they come close to that?," Bob Ivry wrote in the Record.
Throughout the 1980s the band underwent several membership changes, but remained popular. "A key strength for Dire Straits," Michael A. Capozzoli, Jr., wrote in the Bergen County, New Jersey, Record, "was that the group never became typecast by its hits. Ballads, upbeat rockers, tongue-in-cheek songs were all held together by Knopfler's smoky vocals and fluid, blues-inspired guitar playing." Their biggest hit was the 1985 album Brothers in Arms, which held on to the top spot on the album charts for two months. Brothers in Arms also contained the anthem "Money for Nothing," a number-one hit which critiqued the star-making process during the Music Television (MTV) era but which nevertheless went into heavy rotation on that station.
Since Knopfler was responsible for writing most of the group's songs, and was also considered one of the more skilled guitar players in rock and roll, when Dire Straits dissolved in 1988 it was not difficult for him to develop a career as a solo performer. He teamed up with other musicians for various albums and also wrote the scores for several films. "Most people are too intelligent to take on writing movie scores," Knopfler told Guitar Player interviewer Andy Ellis, "but I do them because they give me discipline," since there is a firm deadline that must be met for that sort of work.
For Knopfler, one of the benefits of being a solo artist was that he could scale down from the mega-stardom and mega-touring productions of Dire Straits' heyday. "On the last tour we were on [a] stage that was as big as Brazil, we had a lighting rig from Star Trek," Knopfler explained to G. Brown of the Denver Post. "I enjoyed it tremendously, but I wanted to get back to being a guy who wrote songs on the sofa and went and played them in theaters, where it wasn't getting out of hand." The solo albums Knopfler has released include Golden Heart, Sailing to Philadelphia, and The Ragpicker's Dream. "The barely bridled youthful energy of Dire Straits has been replaced by music that's more measured and thoughtful but no less impressive," Dean Johnson explained of the albums in the Boston Herald. As Alan Niester wrote in the Toronto Globe & Mail, Knopfler "is an artist who has drawn on his influences to create a musical hybrid that is uniquely his, a kind of electrified mood music for adults that can only be filed under rock because that category itself has such a wide embrace."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Contemporary Musicians, Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 22, 1998, Volume 25, 1999.
Billboard, April 6, 1991, Gerry Wood, review of Neck and Neck, pp. 31-32.
Boston Herald, October 1, 2000, review of Sailing to Philadelphia, p. 60; April 25, 2001, Dean Johnson, concert review, p. 46.
Daily News (Los Angeles, CA), April 6, 1996, Fred Shuster, interview with Knopfler, p. L3.
Entertainment Weekly, January 27, 1995, Bob Cannon, review of The Long Black Veil, p. 50; March 19, 1996, Eric Flaum, review of Golden Heart, p. 64; February 13, 1998, Josef Woodard, review of Wag the Dog soundtrack, pp. 70-71.
Globe & Mail (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), May 5, 2001, Alan Niester, "Pop: Knopfler in a Class of His Own."
Guitar Player, June, 1992, Andy Widders-Ellis, interview with Knopfler, pp. 30-37, "Inside Knopfler's Fingerstyle," pp. 41-44; July, 1996, James Jensen, interview with Knopfler, pp. 35-36; February, 2001, Andy Ellis, interview with Knopfler, p. 68.
Independent (London, England), March 29, 1996, Andy Gill, review of Golden Heart, p. 11.
Los Angeles Times, October 2, 2000, Randy Lewis, review of Sailing to Philadelphia, p. F5; May 22, 2001, Steve Baltin, concert review, p. F3.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 6, 2000, review of Sailing to Philadelphia, p. 20.
People, February 25, 1985, review of Cal soundtrack, p. 18; September 2, 1985, Jonathan Cooper, "With a Hot LP and Monster Tour, Mark Knopfler Muscles Dire Straits into a Sea of Rock Acclaim," pp. 55-56; November 26, 1990, Ralph Novak, review of Neck and Neck, pp. 23-24; May 2, 1994, David Hiltbrand, review of The Superstar Concert at Knebworth, p. 13; April 15, 1996, Andrew Abrahams, review of Golden Heart, pp. 27-28; September 25, 2000, Ralph Novak, review of Sailing to Philadelphia, p. 45.
Record (Bergen County, NJ), April 12, 1996, Steven C. Johnson, review of Golden Heart, p. 9; October 2, 2000, Steve Morse, interview with Knopfler, p. L7; April 23, 2001, Michael A. Capozzoli, Jr., "Money for Knopfler as He Sells Out on Tour," p. L9; October 4, 2002, Randy Lewis, review of The Ragpicker's Dream, p. 17.
Sensible Sound, August-September, 2001, review of Sailing to Philadelphia, p. 72.
Spectator, November 2, 2002, Marcus Berkman, review of The Ragpicker's Dream, pp. 77-78.
Time, March 20, 1995, Richard Corliss, review of The Long Black Veil, p. 79.
Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (July 8, 2003), "Mark Knopfler."
Warner Brothers Records Web site,http://www.wbr.com/(August 9, 2003), "Mark Knopfler."*