‘Brothers In Arms’: Dire Straits Reach Millions Of Comrades

The incredible chart domination of a decade-defining album began with its release on May 13, 1985.

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Dore Straits 'Brothers In Arms' artwork - Courtesy: UMG
Dore Straits 'Brothers In Arms' artwork - Courtesy: UMG

No one, not even Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits themselves, could have anticipated what happened when they released their new album on May 13, 1985. It went on to top the US chart for nine weeks, became a global No.1, a double Grammy-winner and has sold an estimated 30 million copies worldwide. After the preview of the single “So Far Away,” May 25 was the date that year that Brothers In Arms made its debut on the UK listings.

In America, the album also gave Dire Straits a residency on pop radio and on MTV, as “Money For Nothing” hit No.1 on the Hot 100. Brothers also became the first million-selling compact disc, and generated a tour that ran to a total of 248 gigs in 117 cities. In the week that it entered the US chart at No.54, it fell to No.3 after its first two weeks at No.1 in the UK (there would be 12 more, later) but continued at the summit in Australia.

Now happy to be touring in a more manageable way in his own name and with his current, stellar band, Knopfler has come to realise that the enormous scale of that mid-1980s tour couldn’t be sustained. “I always want to go everywhere but you can’t, you have to cut it down a bit,” he said some years ago.

Dire Straits - Walk Of Life (Official Music Video)

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“We used to do all these enormous tours but I think I was sort of running away, and you can’t really run away,” he went on. “These tours end and you have to come back, But now I don’t want to run away, I just want to do a reasonable length of tour and then come home again.”

Musical milestones

Nevertheless, he knows that the songs on that 1985 record-breaker found a place in people’s hearts that they will occupy forever. “I don’t sit at home and play my stuff, I think that would be an unbelievably sad thing to do,” he says. “But when I’m on the road I see all these people that want to hear you play some of these songs, and I think that’s just fine. I get into them when I’m doing them.

Listen to uDiscover Music’s Dire Straits Best Of playlist.

“There’s always a lot of you that wants to move forward, I’ll always be like that, but I don’t think that should stop you from playing a song. These songs, some of them are milestones in people’s lives, they’re really important to them.”

Buy or stream Brothers In Arms.



  1. Reg Holwill

    June 9, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    One of the greatest albums of all time. Mark said in his comments that these songs leave a mark on some peoples lives. Well he was right there. Three months after this album came out my Father died, and I will never forget playing Brothers in Arms over and over again. Keep going Mark, I still love your music.

    • Roger W Henderson

      May 14, 2018 at 3:27 pm

      Well done mark love your chops

  2. ercuoz

    June 10, 2015 at 3:34 am


  3. Henrik B.

    June 12, 2015 at 11:38 am

    My very first CD – and I didn’t even own a CD-player at the time….


  4. Rock Singer

    February 21, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    Sorry but I always pefered the stark sound of the 4 piece band, to me although a great effort by Mark it doesn’t hold a candle to the sound of their first 2 Lp’s.

  5. marian

    June 8, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    !st time I heard Brothers in Arms was on Miami Vice back in the Don Johnson days. I fell in love and have never fallen out of love since.

  6. yu-go fan

    June 13, 2017 at 9:29 pm

    Dont forget album On every street ! Hi is much better than Brothers in arms. Dire Straits was like The Doors, one of the best bands ever and forever ! Mark Knopfler wil never die. Amen !

  7. Neal Thielke

    August 31, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    The greatest joy of my life – forever

  8. Alison Monks-Plackett

    August 31, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    Yup – straight off to replay my vinyl album. Superb as ever

  9. ineke

    August 31, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    Brothers in arms was also my first album.

  10. Charlie

    September 2, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    Sailed the Godspeed across the Atlantic in ’85, dancing on the deck to “Walk of Life” on the midnight watch. The music always takes me back to that voyage. Lovin the new music too. One day live I hope.

  11. JORGE Alonso ZAFRA

    May 16, 2018 at 10:03 pm


  12. Gillian

    October 12, 2018 at 10:05 pm

    Although I haven’t bought all MK/DS cd/LP I do have Love over Gold, Brothers in Arms. I do love having music with value running through every groove. I must catch up on the others!

  13. Joke Klijnsma-Starrenburg

    August 31, 2019 at 11:10 pm

    Dit heb ik gedraard op de crematie van mijn man,pracgtig.

  14. Telmo Marques

    December 5, 2023 at 1:33 am

    For me, as much as I like BIA, my favourite DS albums are their debut and then Making Movies. Tunnel of Love is for me, their best song

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