Mark Freuder Knopfler was born on 12 August 1949 in Glasgow, the middle child of three, with an older sister Ruth, and a younger brother David, who is also a musician. During the 60's he formed and joined several bands and listened to singers like Elvis Presley and guitarists Chet Atkins, Scotty Moore, B.B King, and Hank Marvin, and at sixteen years of age he made a local television appearance as part of a harmony duo, with his classmate Sue Hercombe. In 1968, after studying journalism for a year at Harlow College, Knopfler was hired as a junior reporter for the Yorkshire Evening Post, and during this time he made the acquaintance of local furniture restorer, country blues enthusiast and part-time performer Steve Phillips, from whose record collection and guitar style Knopfler acquired a good knowledge of early blues artists. The pair subsequently formed a duo called The Duolian String Pickers, and performed in local folk and acoustic blues venues, but two years later he decided to further his education, later graduating with a degree in English at the University of Leeds. In April 1970 he recorded a demo of an original song he'd written called 'Summer's Coming My Way'. enlisting Steve Phillips to help out on second guitar, along with Dave Johnson on bass, and Paul Granger on percussion. In 1973, Knopfler moved to London and joined a band based in High Wycombe called Brewers Droop, appearing on their 'The Booze Brothers' album, after which he took a job as a lecturer at Loughton College in Essex, and stayed there for three years while continuing to perform with local pub bands, including the Café Racers.
By the mid-70's his brother David had moved to London, where he shared a flat with bass guitarist John Illsley, and in 1977, Mark moved in with David and John and all three began playing music together, forming a new band called Dire Straits. The group's first demos were recorded in three sessions in 1977, with David Knopfler as rhythm guitarist, John Illsley as bass guitarist, and Pick Withers as drummer. After signing to Vertigo Records, their debut album was released in 1977 to little fanfare in the UK, but when 'Sultans Of Swing' was released as a single, it became a chart hit in the Netherlands and album sales took off – first across Europe, and then in the United States and Canada, and finally in the UK. The group's second album 'Communiqué' was produced by Jerry Wexler and Barry Beckett and was issued in 1979, reaching number one in France, and 'Making Movies' quickly followed the next year. This album moved towards more complex arrangements and production, which continued for the remainder of the group's career, resulting in my favourite of their albums, 1982's 'Love Over Gold'. By the time 'Brothers In Arms' came out in 1985, the band were a world-wide phenomenon, with Knopfler also making a name for himself composing film music scores, and writing songs for other artists, including 'Private Dancer' for Tina Turner's comeback album of the same name.
After his guitar style became noticed following the 'Sultans Of Swing' single, he was often asked to play on other artist's records, including such global superstars as Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, and Steely Dan. He played on Phil Lynott's first solo album 'Solo In Soho' in 1980, and was invited back to help out on the follow-up 'The Philip Lynott Album' two years later. After helping out on Kate & Anna McGarrigle's first album in 1983, he joined family and friends by appearing on albums by his bother David and former band-mate John Illsley. In 1985 he got to play with one of his earliest heroes Chet Atkins, contributing some superb guitar to 'Cosmic Square Dance'. Although this album ends in 1985, Knopfler continued to play on records from artists such as Sting, Randy Newman, Joan Armatrading, Jeff Healey and Hank Marvin, right up to 1997, adding his instantly recognisable guitar-playing to over 40 releases during that time. For this album, though, enjoy his earliest appearances on some classic albums of the 80's.
01 Gotta Serve Somebody (from 'Slow Train Coming' by Bob Dylan 1979)
02 Loving You (from 'Oh! What A Feeling' by Mavis Staples 1979)
03 Time Out Of Mind (from 'Gaucho' by Steely Dan 1980)
04 Ode To Liberty (The Protest Song) (from 'The Philip Lynott Album' by Phil Lynott 1982)
05 Cleaning Windows (from 'Beautiful Vision' by Van Morrison 1982)
06 Love Over And Over (from 'Kate & Anna McGarrigle' by Kate & Anna McGarrigle 1982)
07 Blanket Roll Blues (from 'Climate Of Hunter' by Scott Walker 1983)
08 Madonna's Daughter (from 'Release' by David Knopfler 1983)
09 Never Told A Soul (from 'Never Told A Soul' by John Illsley 1984)
10 Cosmic Square Dance (from 'Stay Tuned' by Chet Atkins 1985)
Enjoy / Enjoy
For Mac users: after the file is unzipped the folder will appear empty inside. Press command+shift+period (to show hidden files) and a grayed out folder '...and on guitar' will appear and the mp3s will be inside. Either drag those to another folder or rename the folder to 'and on guitar'. Press command+shift+period to once again hide the hidden files.