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True Brothers: The Day Dire Straits Officially Conquered America

‘Brothers In Arms’ hit the top of the US album chart on August 31, 1985 and held sway for nine weeks.

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

On August 31, 1985,  Dire Straits officially conquered America. The Billboard magazine from that date showed the band’s already massively successful Brothers In Arms album taking over from Tears For FearsSongs From The Big Chair at No.1, a position it wouldn’t give up for nine weeks.

The magazine’s front cover advertised a special edition exploring the phenomenon of the “exploding video universe,” and especially the exercise workout craze. “Jane Fonda’s Video Victory” was emblazoned across an image of the actress and, by then, fitness icon. But in a very different way, Dire Straits were a sales phenomenon in their own right with this fifth studio album, which had entered the British charts at No.1 at the end of May.

Buoyed by its opening single “So Far Away” and the group’s already enviable reputation as a live attraction, the LP spent two weeks atop the UK bestsellers. It returned for two more in August and then really its stride with a further ten-week reign from January 1986. The album did not leave the Top 10 during that entire time, racking up an astonishing 60 top ten weeks in a row that lasted until July 1986.

Dire Straits - So Far Away

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In the States, Brothers In Arms arrived on the bestsellers in early June, and when it hit the top in its 13th chart week, Dire Straits became the fourth consecutive foreign act to top the US countdown, following Phil Collins, Tears For Fears, and Bryan Adams.

The Second British Invasion

During this period of the so-called “Second British Invasion,” Wham! had also been No.1 in March, which meant that five overseas artists had worn the album crown that year, equal to five domestic chart-toppers to that point in 1985 (Prince, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, John Fogerty and USA For Africa).

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

In the week that Brothers In Arms rose 5-1 in the US, its flagship single “Money For Nothing” raced 17-10 on the Hot 100. Three weeks later, it would be starting its own three-week run at No.1 — helped, unsurprisingly, by heavy rotation on the all-powerful video channel that Mark Knopfler namechecked in the song’s lyrics: MTV.

Buy or stream Brothers In Arms.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Zoheir B

    September 1, 2016 at 10:13 am

    It is though such a BIG LOSS that such a gretar band woud exist no more, even if Mark Knopfler still give us an opportunity to envoy some good soft rock…HOPE one day day they will come back …IMAGINE THE BIG SURPRISE AND THE BIG PLEASURE AS WELL!!!

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