Mark Knopfler, the leader of Dire Straits, was born on August 2, 1949.
"My sound is fingers on a Strat," Knopfler once said. His fingerstyle playing landed Mark Knopfler at No. 27 on Rolling Stone's list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.
Knopfler was born in Glasgow, Scotland to an English mother and a Jewish-Hungarian father.
In 1977, Knopfler formed Dire Straits with his brother David and friends John Illsley and Pick Withers. The group recorded a five song demo that featured Sultans of Swing. They asked a radio DJ for advice, but the DJ liked Sultans of Swing so much that he started playing it on the air. Dire Straits soon has a record contract.
Dire Straits released a string of successful albums in the late 1970's and early 1980's.
Mark Knopfler is credited for writing just about every Dire Straits song. But, the song that would launch the band into the stratosphere featured a very famous co-writer.
Brothers in Arms was Dire Straits' fifth studio album. It was released in May of 1985.
Money For Nothing was the second song on Brothers in Arms. Thanks in part to the song's innovative music video, Money For Nothing became Dire Straits' only No. 1 hit.
But, unlike virtually every other Dire Straits song, Mark Knopfler is not the only person credited for writing the song.
The other writer?
Sting did not add a lot of quantity to the song, but his contribution to the song is legendary. At the beginning and end of the song, you can hear Sting sing "I Want My MTV." That's all he added, but it perhaps the most memorable part to any song of the era. Sting's lyrics followed the melody of his song, Don't Stand So Close to Me.
Thanks to Money For Nothing and other hits like So Far Away and Walk of Life, Brothers in Arms became one of the best selling albums of all time.
But, Dire Straits would only release one more album, 1991's On Every Street. The band actually broke up in 1988. But, they got back together and recorded On Every Street in 1991. After a grueling tour, Dire Straits broke up for good.
One of the main reasons for the band's breakup was Knopfler's desire to participate in the huge operation that is the life of a band as popular as Dire Straits. But, he hasn't stopped making music.
Since 1996, Knopfler has released several solo albums and has done several soundtracks for movies.
Over the years, Knopfler has worked with a wide range of musicians including Bob Dylan, Chet Atkins, Emmylou Harris, Tina Turner, Eric Clapton, and many more.