Dire Straits Tribute

Dire Straits were a British rock band formed in London in 1977 by Mark Knopfler (lead vocals and lead guitar), David Knopfler (rhythm guitar and backing vocals), John Illsley (bass guitar and backing vocals), and Pick Withers (drums and percussion). They were active from 1977 to 1988 and again from 1991 to 1995.[1]

Their first single, “Sultans of Swing“, from their 1978 self-titled debut album, reached the top ten in the UK and US charts. It was followed by hit singles including “Romeo and Juliet” (1981), “Private Investigations” (1982), “Twisting by the Pool” (1983), “Money for Nothing” (1985), and “Walk of Life” (1985).[2] Their most commercially successful album, Brothers in Arms (1985), has sold more than 30 million copies; it was the first album to sell a million copies on compact disc[3][4] and is the eighth-bestselling album in UK history. According to the Guinness Book of British Hit Albums, Dire Straits have spent over 1,100 weeks on the UK albums chart, the fifth most of all time.[5]

Dire Straits’ sound draws from various influences, including countryfolk, the blues rock of J. J. Cale, and jazz.[6] Their stripped-down sound contrasted with punk rock and demonstrated a roots rock influence that emerged from pub rock. There were several changes in personnel, with Mark Knopfler and Illsley being the only members who lasted from the beginning of the band’s existence to the end. After their first breakup in 1988, Knopfler told Rolling Stone: “A lot of press reports were saying we were the biggest band in the world. There’s not an accent then on the music, there’s an accent on popularity. I needed a rest.”[7] They disbanded for good in 1995, after which Knopfler launched a solo career full-time. He has since declined reunion offers.[8]

Dire Straits were called “the biggest British rock band of the 80s” by Classic Rock magazine;[9] their 1985–1986 world tour, which included a performance at Live Aid in July 1985, set a record in Australasia.[10] Their final world tour from 1991 to 1992 sold 7.1 million tickets.[11] Dire Straits won four Grammy Awards, three Brit Awards (Best British Group twice), two MTV Video Music Awards, and various other awards.[12] They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018. Dire Straits have sold an estimated 100 million units worldwide, including 51.4 million certified units, making them one of the best-selling music artists.

A Tribute To Dire Straits

Francis Scott Key pens “The Star-Spangled Banner”

On September 14, 1814, Francis Scott Key pens a poem which is later set to music and in 1931 becomes America’s national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The poem, originally titled “The Defence of Fort M’Henry,” was written after Key witnessed the Maryland fort being bombarded by the British during the War of 1812. Key was inspired by the sight of a lone U.S. flag still flying over Fort McHenry at daybreak, as reflected in the now-famous words of the “Star-Spangled Banner”: “And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.”

Francis Scott Key was born on August 1, 1779, at Terra Rubra, his family’s estate in Frederick County (now Carroll County), Maryland. He became a successful lawyer in Maryland and Washington, D.C., and was later appointed U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.

On June 18, 1812, America declared war on Great Britain after a series of trade disagreements. In August 1814, British troops invaded Washington, D.C., and burned the White House, Capitol Building and Library of Congress. Their next target was Baltimore.

After one of Key’s friends, Dr. William Beanes, was taken prisoner by the British, Key went to Baltimore, located the ship where Beanes was being held and negotiated his release. However, Key and Beanes weren’t allowed to leave until after the British bombardment of Fort McHenry. Key watched the bombing campaign unfold from aboard a ship located about eight miles away. After a day, the British were unable to destroy the fort and gave up. Key was relieved to see the American flag still flying over Fort McHenry and quickly penned a few lines in tribute to what he had witnessed.

Mo’s House Rules (remembering the band)

Hard to believe it’s been 18 years since I hung out with Mo Budlong and the gang. I was sorting through my CD collection and found Mo’s House Rules “I Love Rock n Roll”. I connected with the group through Jeff Wilson. No relation to the Wilson brothers but drummer Ron Swallow was a road manager for the Beach Boys. Said he took the job after turning down a similar offer from the Beatles. (The pay wasn’t enough to live on he said). Ron played drums when Dennis couldn’t make it on stage and he fit right in looking like a Beach Boy still.

A lot more stories to tell but here are two cover songs by Jewel from the “I Love Rock n Roll” CD we recorded live and released in 2002.

Love Me, Just Leave Me Alone
Standing Still

Vocals: Maria Berbeo, Tim Howell, Jeff Wilson
Drums: Ron Swallow
Rhythm Guitar: Jeff Wilson
Lead Guitar: Tim Howell
Bass: Mo Budlong

This Month In Music History

August 1

• 1942: Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead is born Jerome John Garcia

• 1981: MTV is seen in 2.1 million homes during its first day on the air

August 3

• 1972: The Eagles perform at the Denver Coliseum.

August 4

• 1958: Billboard magazine debuts its “Hot 100” record list

August 8

• 1992: Metallica’s James Hetfield is seriously burned onstage by a pyrotechnics machine

August 9

• 1966: John Lennon apologizes for his statement that “The Beatles are more popular than Jesus”

• 1973: John Denver performs at Red Rocks

• 1995: Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead dies of a heart attack while in a rehabilitation center

August 11

• 2001: The Eagles play the first event held at INVESCO Field at Mile High

August 12

• 1967: The Mamas and the Papas perform at Red Rocks

• 1975: Eric Clapton performs at the Denver Coliseum.

• 1994: Over 350,000 people attend Woodstock II in Saugerties, New York

August 14

• 1969: Diana Ross & The Supremes perform at Red Rocks

August 15

• 1969: The Woodstock Music and Peace Festival opens on Max Yasgur’s farm in Bethel, New York

August 16

• 1974: The Ramones play their first show at CBGB’s

• 1977: Elvis Presley dies at Graceland, his Memphis, Tennessee mansion

August 21

• 1962: Ray Charles performs at Red Rocks

August 23

• 1980: AC/DC releases their LP Back in Black with new lead singer Brian Johnson replacing the deceased Bon Scott

August 25

• 1957: Louis Armstrong performs at Red Rocks

August 26

• 1964: The Beatles perform at Red Rocks

• 1970: Jimi Hendrix makes his final public appearance at the Isle of Wight Festival in England

• 2004: Beatles-tribute band “1964” performs at Red Rocks, exactly forty years after The Beatles

August 27

• 1990: Stevie Ray Vaughn dies in a helicopter crash near Alpine Valley, Wisconsin

August 28

• 1930: Denver’s Paramount Theatre opens

• 1965: The crowd boos Bob Dylan for plugging in during a concert in Forest Hills, New York

August 30

• 1978: Grateful Dead performs at Red Rocks

New Song Release “Lost and Lonely”

This is a sad song but hopeful in the end. Like many of you I have been isolated during this pandemic. Limited travel outside the house and missing friends and family. One day, to break up the boredom, I was browsing through old recordings and found this music recording “Lost and Lonely Without You” from 2018. At the time it didn’t fit other music I was working on so it went on the shelf. Oddly it seems to fit well in the world we know today. So I wrote some lyrics with help from a distant friend and this is the results. We will all get through these unusual times and my next song will be an upbeat, get up and dance, raise the roof hoot! Play safe and be well.

“Lost and Lonely (without you)”
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