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Dire Straits Make Their Own ‘Movies’

With ‘Making Movies,’ the band entered a new decade well on the way to the radio-friendly roots-rock sound that would go on to dominate the ’80s.

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Makin' Movies

The compact disc was still two years away when Dire Straits released their third album in 1980, with the gargantuan Brothers In Arms probably not even a twinkle in Mark Knopfler’s eye. But with Making Movies, the band entered the new decade well on the way to the radio-friendly roots-rock sound that would go on to dominate the ’80s. The album was released on 17 October that year and made its UK chart debut on the 25th.

Tunnel Of Love Picture SleeveWith Knopfler’s sibling David having left the band during the summer 1980 recording sessions, Mark became the group’s sole guitarist and songwriting force, with ambitions befitting those of a band whose previous two albums had both hit the UK No.5 spot. His songs were increasingly stretching beyond the six- and eight-minute marks, allowing the group to flex their muscles on the likes of ‘Tunnel Of Love’, which incorporates the theme from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s much loved 1945 musical, Carousel, before later diverting into a jazzy breakdown.

As the album’s title suggested, Knopfler’s songs were taking the shape of mini-movies in and of themselves, thanks to the narrative focus of his lyrics. When Romeo sidles up to Juliet in the song named after the star-crossed lovers, propositioning her in Knopfler’s gravelly tones (“You and me, babe – how about it?”), the moment is simultaneously intimate and cinematic: the world’s greatest love story given street smarts, over a decade before Baz Luhrmann brought his Romeo + Juliet adaptation to the silver screen.

Romeo and Juliet Dire StraitsCredit, too, goes to producer Jimmy Iovine, who, having manned the boards for Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Run and Darkness On The Edge Of Town albums, was adept at giving small-town concerns a universal appeal. Even the comparatively low-key album cut, ‘Expresso Love’ – built on choppy guitars and Knopfler’s hoarse vocals – edges towards the epic by virtue of its layered guitar sound and evocative keyboards provided by Roy Bittan, on loan from Springsteen’s E Street Band.

Unsurprisingly, ‘Romeo And Juliet’ hit No. 8 in the UK, matching Dire Straits’ previous best, the indefatigable ‘Sultans Of Swing’, while Making Movies hit No. 4, paving the way for a three-album chart-topping run which began with 1982’s Love Over Gold. The time might have been wrong for Romeo and Juliet, but for Knopfler and company, it was undoubtedly perfect.

Making Movies can be bought here.

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Follow uDiscover’s Dire Straits Best Of playlist.

16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Galley

    November 18, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    Making Movies has always been my favorite Dire Straits album.

  2. Sriram Kalaga

    January 28, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    One of my favorite albums. The rousing guitar at the end of Tunnel of Love is simply the greatest guitar solo ever played. Period.

    • aziz

      January 29, 2016 at 3:41 am

      fully agreed! For me personally too! The guitar solo at the end of Tunnel of Love is the best ever!

    • Eddie Davis

      April 6, 2016 at 2:44 am

      Mark Knopfler is the most under appreciated guitarist on the planet.Plus,he should be in the R*R HOF twice!!

      • Mari

        December 24, 2017 at 4:03 am

        Mark Knopfler é um guitarrista incomparável !!!
        DS fez os anos 80 os meus anos dourados. Sou apaixonada pela banda até hoje. Meu maior sonho é vê-los juntos outra vez.Tomara que se juntem para o Rock & Roll em Abril de 2018. Certamente ficarão na história. Estarei na torcida !!!
        Para eu, Alchemy Live, é o melhor álbum !!!

  3. Eddie Davis

    April 6, 2016 at 2:47 am

    My favorite Dire Straits work is Brothers In Arms.One of the greatest albums of the 80’s,if not THE greatest!

  4. Lee Nazer

    May 15, 2016 at 12:19 am

    Love this got it on vinyl love it xx

  5. Witekj

    May 15, 2016 at 10:17 am

    I love Tunnel of love, specially the 6th minute, when the best guitar solo starts. Master peace.

  6. Kipps

    June 17, 2016 at 6:50 am

    Brothers in arms one of the best albums on the planet got the vinyl tooo!!! The C D also has a great sound to it as well compared to most other cd’s

  7. Karen

    October 18, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    I’ve spent years willing them to get back together for a tour. However, recently I’ve come to the idea that it’s best left. Somehow, I don’t think it could possible be better.

  8. Andrew

    October 18, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    Mark & the band were on fire by this stage, brilliant players & superb production team both in studio & touring. Life changing music for this fan.

  9. Vicki

    October 20, 2017 at 12:33 am

    Love to listen to Mark and fall into the story of the song. Can not pick a favorite,

  10. Vicki

    October 20, 2017 at 12:35 am

    I love to listen to Mark and fall into the story of the song. I can not pick a favorite!

  11. Arthur Blakemore

    October 27, 2017 at 6:47 am

    Mark has this uncanny ability to make the very best of very simple themes and words and turn them into something almost magical.
    Always been my favourite British guitarist, not to take anything away from John Mc Gloug. and Jeff Beck of course but I find Marks playing more accessible to work out on the guitar now that I understand his style of playing. Still not easy by any stretch of the imagination. So, so articulate, well polished and humble.. Where is his knighthood?

  12. Steven Rogers

    December 5, 2017 at 2:33 am

    It’s easy to see Dire Straits as being all about Mark Knopfler, but when I listen to the songs now it’s the Pick Withers influence that stands out. His work is absolutely outstanding, driving every song with complete authority without ever taking over or overwhelming the music.

  13. Mari

    December 24, 2017 at 4:10 am

    Mark Knopfler é um guitarrista incomparável !!!
    DS fez os anos 80 os meus anos dourados. Sou apaixonada pela banda até hoje. Meu maior sonho é vê-los juntos outra vez.Tomara que se juntem para o Rock & Roll em Abril de 2018. Certamente ficarão na história. Estarei na torcida !!!
    Para eu, Alchemy Live, é o melhor álbum !!!

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