Flynn Amps and the value of enthusiasmK is for Knopfler, MarkM is for Modes

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K is for Knopfler, Mark
October 2, 2013

I really liked the basic bio of Robert Johnson that I did last week so here is another one! I thought I knew a bit about Mark already but I didn’t know he was born in Glasgow so that makes this even more topical!

Knopfler was a late bloomer who worked as a journalist and a teacher, before forming Dire Straits in 1977. Two years later, the band, including his younger brother David, scored their first hit, ‘Sultans of Swing’. He made his debut into the world on 12 August 1949. Knopfler was born in Glasgow, Scotland to an English mother and Hungarian-Jewish father. At the age of seven years, Knopfler moved to Northumberland with his family where he attended Gosforth Grammar School with his younger brother David.

From a young age, he started playing the guitar and listened to Elvis Presley and BB King for inspiration. He formed and joined bands at school before pursuing a journalism career from 1970. In 1973, he moved to London where he joined the band Brewers Droop and became a lecturer at Loughton College in Essex where he stayed for three years. By the mid 1970s he had formed the band Café Racers. His brother joined him in London and the pair moved in with John Illsley, who Knopfler asked to join Café Racer, which became Dire Straits.

Though Dire Straits began as a group with a permanent line-up, it evolved into a title for Knopfler with varying personnel. An apolitical alternative to punk in the radical late 1970s and early 1980s, his restrained, thoughtful songs were characterised by mournful guitar and world-weary vocals. The band’s third album, ‘Making Movies’, was his most personal, featuring what has become his best-loved song, ‘Romeo and Juliet’, about a failed love affair. For the most part, Knopfler kept the deepest part of himself out of his song writing, creating fictional characters and narratives.

That’s enough for now I think. I’ll have to try and do something more related to playing for “L”.

/harry