In 1985, it felt like the music industry was destined to drown under an ocean of lipstick, puffy skirts and pop music frivolity. Madonna was steaming up the charts with her mix of fun and unbridled sensuality, Cindi Lauper was getting plenty of work looking like Madonna's slightly odd cousin and the Go Go's were bopping their way firmly into the hearts and minds of teenage girls everywhere.
So through the morass, came an album that reminded the collective music public that rock ’n’ roll was still king, actual songwriting was still a skill and that everybody loves a face melting guitar solo. Dire StraitsBrothers in Arms served as a beacon to all the rock lovers that they could emerge from their caves and reclaim their place at the apex of the musical food chain.
The album picked up two Grammy awards and sat at the top of the US Billboard charts for nine weeks, the UK charts for 10 and spent a staggering 34 weeks at #1 here in Australia. It is no surprise that this album garnered so much critical acclaim and commercial success, very few albums of the 1980s have the seamless combination of all out rock, soul-filled ballad and angst filled political anthem.
Brothers in Arms was beautifully produced, highlighting once again the craftsmanship of lead man Mark Knopfler, who wrote all the compositions. It was to become one of the first albums to be recorded on digital equipment , a testimony to Knopfler’s passion to embrace new technologies .
Flick through the tracks and it’s easy to see why this became the band’s most successful album.
So Far Away made a heartwarming entrance with its catchy bass line and Knopfler’s vocal melody, followed by the classicMoney For Nothing with his old mate Sting warblingI want my MTV in a grandiose introduction to what was easily the heaviest track on the album - and the most commercially successful
Walk of Life gave us the feel of 50s rock and roll with its catchy tempo and cheesy organ, juxtaposed into the morose rendition ofYour Latest Trick, just perfect for a downtempo trademark Knopfler vocal.
The title track, Brothers in Arms, was the fitting finale, showcasing once more his guitar mastery
Fans need no reminding but let’s just say it…this was Dire Straits at their best