Timeline

1947
5 September

Mel Collins born

Mel Collins (Sax, 82-83) is born on the Isle of Man.
1948
11 January

Terry Williams born

Terry Williams (drums, 82-88) is born in Swansea.

4 April

David ‘Pick’ Withers born

David ‘Pick’ Withers (drums, 77-82) is born in Leicester.

1949
2 June

Tommy Mandel born

Tommy Mandel (keyboards, 82-83) is born in New York, New York.

24 June

John Illsley born

John Illsley (bass/vocals, 77-95) is born in Leicester.

12 August

Mark Knopfler born

Mark Knopfler (vocals/guitar, 77-95) is born in Glasgow.

1952
5 March

Alan Clark born

Alan Clark (keyboard, 80-95) is born in Durham.

9 September

Phil Palmer born

Phil Palmer (guitar, 91-92) is born in London.

27 December

David Knopfler born

David Knopfler (guitar/vocals, 77-80) is born in Glasgow.

1953
30 June

Hal Lindes born

Hal Lindes (guitar, 80-85) is born in Monterey, California.

14 September

Joop de Korte born

Joop de Korte (Percussion, 81-88) is born in Brielle, The Netherlands.

1954
31 May

Paul Franklin born

Paul Franklin (pedal steel, 91-92) is born in Detroit, Michigan.

9 December

Jack Sonni born

Jack Sonni (guitar, 85-88) is born in the borough of Indiana, Pennsylvania.

1955
13 July

Chris White born

Chris White (sax, 85-92) is born in Bristol.

1957
1 October

Danny Cummings born

Danny Cummings (percussion, 91-92) is born in Sheffield.

1959
26 March

Chris Whitten born

Chris Whitten (drums, 91-92) is born in Blackpool.

1960
24 May

Guy Fletcher born

Guy Fletcher (keyboards, 84-95) is born in Maidstone.

1977
1 March

Founding of the band

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The founding lineup of Dire Straits – Mark Knopfler, John Illsley, David Knopfler, and Pick Withers – begins rehearsing at Farrer House in Deptford.

26 June

Crossfield Estate Deptford Festival

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Dire Straits play their first show (as Café Racers), outdoors, as part of the Crossfields Festival. The set includes ‘Sultans Of Swing’, ‘Down To The Waterline’, and ‘Southbound Again’, as well covers of songs by Ry Cooder and Brenda Lee.

24 July

First recording session

Dire Straits record their first demo at Pathway Studios, including an early version of ‘Sultans Of Swing’, which BBC Radio London DJ Charlie Gillett would later play on-air.

28 July

First show as Dire Straits

The band performs for the first time as Dire Straits, supporting Squeeze at The Albany in Deptford.

31 July

Demo played on BBC Radio

The demo recording of ‘Sultans Of Swing’ is played on the BBC Radio London program, Honky Tonk.

12 December

Signing with Phonogram

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Dire Straits sign with Phonogram Records. The band also performs a number of gigs in and around London that autumn, including regular appearances at Rock Garden and Hope And Anchor.

1978
20 January

First tour, supporting Talking Heads

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Dire Straits’ first tour, as support for Talking Heads, begins in Sheffield.

13 February

Recording session for first album begins

Recording for Dire Straits’ debut album begins at Basing Street Studios.

3 May

Second tour, supporting Climax Blues Band

The band hits the road again, opening for Climax Blues Band. Another tour supporting Styx follows, as well as concerts supporting Gerry Rafferty and Elvis Costello.

15 May

The Old Grey Whistle Test

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Dire Straits make their television debut, performing ‘Sultans Of Swing’ and ‘Lions’ on The Old Grey Whistle Test.

9 June

First Dire Straits headlining tour

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The band begins their first headlining tour in Wolverhampton, spanning 55 shows in the UK and Europe.

7 October

First album ‘Dire Straits’ released

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The band’s self-titled debut is released on Vertigo Records (a division of Phonogram). Produced by Muff Winwood, Dire Straits includes the hit ‘Sultans Of Swing’, and peaks at #5 on the UK albums chart.

28 November

Recording for ‘Communiqué’ begins

Sessions for the second Dire Straits album begin at Compass Point Studios in Nassau before moving to Alabama’s famed Muscle Shoals Sound Studio to complete the album.

1979
11 February

Communiqué Tour

The Communiqué tour begins in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Consisting of 116 shows in 14 countries, the tour includes their first performances in North America – a whirlwind 51 shows in 38 days.

5 June

‘Communiqué’ released

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The second album by Dire Straits, Communiqué, is released. Produced by Barry Beckett and Jerry Wexler, the album hit #1 in several European countries and peaked at #5 in the UK.

1980
20 June

Recording for ‘Making Movies’ begins

Sessions for the third Dire Straits album, Making Movies, begin at Power Station in New York.

25 July

David Knopfler leaves

David Knopfler leaves the band to pursue a solo career. His debut album, Release, is issued in 1983.

17 October

‘Making Movies’ released

Making Movies, Dire Straits’ third album, is released. Produced by Jimmy Iovine and Mark, Making Movies peaks at #4 on the UK charts and includes the singles ‘Romeo And Juliet’, ‘Skateaway’ and ‘Tunnel Of Love’.

22 October

First US TV appearance on Solid Gold

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The band makes their US television debut, performing ‘Sultans Of Swing’ and ‘Skateaway’ on Solid Gold.

22 October

On Location Tour

The first night of the On Location Tour at the Commodore in Vancouver, Canada. The tour will span 116 shows in 19 countries before ending in July 1981, and serves as the introduction for new members Alan Clark and Hal Lindes.

1982
27 February

Recordings for ‘Love Over Gold’ begin

Sessions for the next Dire Straits album begin at the Power Station in New York. Pick Withers will leave the band shortly after recording is complete.

24 September

‘Love Over Gold’ released

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Produced by Mark Knopfler, Love Over Gold is released. Their first UK #1 album, Love Over Gold includes the singles ‘Private Investigations’ and ‘Industrial Disease’ and propelled the band to their first Brit, for Best British Group, the following year.

30 November

Love Over Gold Tour

First night of the Love Over Gold tour, the first with new drummer Terry Williams. The band goes on to play 92 shows in 19 countries.

1983
14 January

‘ExtendeDancEPlay’ EP released

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The ExtendeDancEPlay EP (titled Twisting By The Pool in some territories) is released.

‘Alchemy’ released

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Alchemy: Dire Straits Live, the band’s first official live album, is released featuring recordings made over two nights at London’s Hammersmith Odeon on the Love Over Gold tour.

1984
2 November

Recording ‘Brothers In Arms’ begins

Work begins on Brothers In Arms, recording at AIR Studios on the island of Montserrat. Hal Lindes leaves the band, these sessions were the first to include new members Guy Fletcher and Jack Sonni.

1985
25 April

‘Brothers In Arms’ Tour

The marathon tour in support of Brothers In Arms begins in Yugoslavia. The tour lasts a full year, encompassing 248 shows in 23 countries, including a remarkable 14 consecutive nights at Wembley Arena.

17 May

‘Brothers In Arms’ is released

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Brothers In Arms is released. Produced by Mark Knopfler and Neil Dorfsman, the album features the hit singles ‘Money For Nothing’, ‘Walk Of Life’, and ‘So Far Away’. The record-breaking album goes to #1 in a dozen countries, winning the Brit for Best British Album and Grammys for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group (for ‘Money For Nothing’), Best Engineered Recording, Non-Classical, and Best Music Video, eventually selling more than 30 million copies worldwide.

1 June

‘Money For Nothing’ video released

The groundbreaking, computer-animated video for ‘Money For Nothing’ is released. The video will help drive the single to the top of the US singles charts. It goes on to win Video of the Year and Best Group Video at the 1986 MTV Video Awards , and is the first video shown when MTV Europe launches in 1987.

4 July

Wembley Arena residency

Dire Straits play 14 concerts in a row at the iconic Wembley Arena, beginning July 4th with the Prince’s Trust Rock Gala performance; featuring special guests Sting, Pete Townshend, Hank Marvin, Francis Rossi, T-Bone Burnett, Nils Lofgren, Paul Brady and Dave Edmunds.

13 July

Live Aid

Dire Straits perform an afternoon set at Wembley Stadium as part of the historic Live Aid benefit concert, which is seen by a global television audience of nearly 2 million people. Sting guests on ‘Money For Nothing’. The band plays their own headlining show at Wembley Arena the same night.

1988
11 June

Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute concert

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Dire Straits headlines the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute concert at Wembley Stadium, with Eric Clapton guesting on second guitar.

17 October

‘Money For Nothing’ is released

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‘Money For Nothing’, Dire Straits’ first greatest hits compilation, is released. The album includes a handful of previously unreleased outtakes, mixes and edits.

1989
9 October

Gala for Joanne Gillespie

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Dire Straits make a surprise appearance at the Mayfair Ballroom in Newcastle for a charity gala concert in honour of 11-year-old Joanne Gillespie – the National Children of Courage and North East Personality award winner who published the 1989 book Brave Heart about her fight against cancer. The concert raised more than £35,000.

1990
5 March

The Notting Hillbillies

Missing...presumed Having A Good Time

Mark Knopfler and Guy Fletcher join Steve Phillips and Brendan Croker to form The Notting Hillbillies. The band releases one album, Missing…Presumed Having a Good Time, and embarks on several UK tours throughout the 1990s.

1 November

Recording for ‘On Every Street’ begins

Sessions for the final Dire Straits album, On Every Street, begin at London’s Air Studios and continue until May 1991.

1991
23 August

‘On Every Street’ Tour

The On Every Street tour begins with a five-night stand at the Point Depot in Dublin, Ireland. Continuing for more than a year, the tour will finally wrap up in Zaragoza, Spain after 229 shows in 19 countries.

9 September

‘On Every Street’ released

Dire Straits’ sixth and final studio album, On Every Street, is released. Including the singles ‘Calling Elvis’, ‘Heavy Fuel’ and the title track; the album tops the charts throughout Europe and reaches #12 in the US.

1993
10 May

‘On The Night’ released

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Dire Straits’ second live album, On The Night, is released. Recorded in May 1992 during the On Every Street tour, a VHS version including three additional songs is also released.

10 May

‘Encores’ EP released

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Encores, a companion EP to On The Night, containing four more tracks recorded during the On Every Street tour, is released.

1995
26 June

‘Live At The BBC’ released

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Live At The BBC, a collection of BBC recordings dating 78-80, is released.

1998
19 October

‘Sultans Of Swing: The Very Best Of Dire Straits’ is released

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2002
23 July

Mark Knopfler and Friends

Under the name ‘Mark Knopfler and Friends’, Dire Straits performs three gigs at the Shepherds Bush Empire in London, and one at Beaulieu Castle. The shows consisted of a set by The Notting Hillbillies, followed by Dire Straits playing the second hour.