Dire Straits was formed in the late '70s by guitarist/vocalist Mark Knopfler. Mark was playing with his brother David (guitar) and his roommate John Illsley (bass). During the summer of 1977, they recorded a demo with drummer Pick Withers. This demo, "Sultans of Swing", began being played on his BBC show Honky Tonkin' and soon the band began recording their debut for Vertigo Records with producer Muff Winwood in early 1978.
They had signed with Warner in America, releasing their debut in the autumn. Thanks to the Top Ten hit "Sultans of Swing," Dire Straits was a major success in both Britain and America, with the single and album climbing into the Top Ten on both sides of the Atlantic.
Their second album, Communique (1979), consolidated their audience, selling three million copies worldwide. As the group was recording its third album, David Knopfler left the band. He was replaced by former Darling member Hal Lindes.
Making Movies was a big hit in America and Britain containing the hits "Romeo and Juliet" and "Skateaway." Dire Straits followed the album two years later with Love Over Gold, an album filled with long, experimental passages, plus the single "Private Investigations," which became a number two hit in the U.K. . Shortly after the release of Love Over Gold, former Rockpile drummer Terry Williams replaced Withers.
During 1982, Mark Knopfler began exploring musical avenues outside of Dire Straits, scoring the Bill Forsyth film Local Hero and playing on Van Morrison's Beautiful Vision. Apart from releasing the Twisting by the Pool EP early in 1983, Dire Straits were quiet for the majority of 1983 and 1984.
In the summer of 1985, Brothers in Arms was Dire Straits' breakthrough album, making the band international stars. Supported by the groundbreaking computer-animated video for "Money for Nothing," a song which mocked music videos, the album became a blockbuster, spending nine weeks at the top of the American charts and selling over nine million copies; in England, the album became the biggest-selling album of the '80s. "Walk of Life" and "So Far Away" kept Brothers in Arms in the charts through 1986.
In 1990, Knopfler reconvened Dire Straits, which now featured Illsley, Clark, Fletcher, and various session musicians. The band released On Every Street in the fall of 1991 to great anticipation. However, the album failed to meet expectations, and failed to generate a hit single. Similarly, the tour was a disappointment, with many tickets going unsold in both the U.S. and Europe. Once the tour was completed, the live album On the Night was released in the spring of 1993 and the band split up.
Mark Knopfler: Born 1949 in Scotland. Composer, guitarist, pianist and singer. Mark was the leader of the band, and wrote the vast majority of the band´s recordings. He is a perfectionist and a very talented and influental guitarist besides being a fine songwriter
David Knopfler: Born 1952; Mark´s younger brother. Guitarist. Left the band after the second album to pursue a solo career.
John Illsley: Bass. Illsley is featured on all albums.
Pick Withers: Drummer. Left the band after their fourth album "Love Over Gold".
Hal Lindes: Replaced David Knopfler in 1979
Terry Williams: Replaced Pick Withers around 1981.
Guy Fletcher: Featured on the final album.