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Mark Knopfler

Mark Knopfler

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: August 12, 1949 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: United Kingdom Profession: musician, composer, music producer, arranger, music critic, newspaper reporter, English teacher

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Best known as the founder and lead guitarist of the chart-busting English rock band Dire Straits, Mark Knopfler has also dedicated himself to an equally successful second career composing film scores. He was a late bloomer who worked as a journalist and a teacher before forming Dire Straits in 1977. Two years later, the band (which included his younger brother David) scored their first hit, "Sultan of Swing", and anonymity was a thing of the past. His restrained, thoughtful songs provided an alternative to punk that was not a retread of some tired style and had the added appeal of his mournful guitar and world-weary voice. The band's third album, "Making Money" (1990), was his most personal, featuring what has become his best-loved song, "Romeo and Juliet", about a failed love affair, but for the most part Knopfler kept the deepest part of himself out of his songwriting, creating fictional characters whose expressions became his biggest songs. After the demise of Dire Straits, he returned to a more personal style for his debut solo album, "Golden Heart" (1996).Having received song credit in two 1980 movies ("Brothers and Sisters" and "Riding High"), Knopfler composed an enchanting first film score...

Best known as the founder and lead guitarist of the chart-busting English rock band Dire Straits, Mark Knopfler has also dedicated himself to an equally successful second career composing film scores. He was a late bloomer who worked as a journalist and a teacher before forming Dire Straits in 1977. Two years later, the band (which included his younger brother David) scored their first hit, "Sultan of Swing", and anonymity was a thing of the past. His restrained, thoughtful songs provided an alternative to punk that was not a retread of some tired style and had the added appeal of his mournful guitar and world-weary voice. The band's third album, "Making Money" (1990), was his most personal, featuring what has become his best-loved song, "Romeo and Juliet", about a failed love affair, but for the most part Knopfler kept the deepest part of himself out of his songwriting, creating fictional characters whose expressions became his biggest songs. After the demise of Dire Straits, he returned to a more personal style for his debut solo album, "Golden Heart" (1996).

Having received song credit in two 1980 movies ("Brothers and Sisters" and "Riding High"), Knopfler composed an enchanting first film score for fellow Scot Bill Forsyth's "Local Hero" (1983) and reteamed with the director on "Comfort and Joy" (1984). Also in 1984, he offered the lyrically haunting strains of "Cal". Since he chooses a movie project based on the script, he was very happy that "Last Exit to Brooklyn" (1989) lived up to the promise of the screenplay. Knopfler, who has performed his songs for many movies, was featured guitarist and music producer for Barry Levinson's "Wag the Dog" (1997), in addition to composing its score. His music exhibits the influence of the traditional Scottish and English music he heard as a boy, as well as its rock and country roots. Although he has collaborated with such artists as the Chieftans, Waylon Jennings and Vince Gill, make no mistake about it, Mark Knopfler has not forgot how to rock 'n' roll. Among his other film scores, he composed the music for Rob Reiner's "The Princess Bride" (1987) and arranged its theme song, "Storybook Love".

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1968:
Worked as a reporter and rock music critic, <i>Yorkshire Evening Post</i>
:
Member of the rock groups Brewer's Droop and Cafe Racers, both in London
:
Was lecturer in English at Loughton College
1977:
Founded the rock group Dire Straits
1979:
Dire Straits had first hit, "Sultans of Swing"
1980:
Received first film credits in "Brothers and Sisters" (for the song "Where Do You think You're Going?") and "Riding High" (for the song "Solid Rock")
1983:
First original movie soundtrack, Bill Forsyth's "Local Hero"
1984:
Reteamed with Forsyth, composing score for "Comfort and Joy"
1984:
Composed the haunting score for "Cal"
1985:
Instrumental in the release of Dire Straits' "Brothers in Arms" album, which became the then best-selling album in British recording history; last Straits album for six years
1986:
Formed the band The Notting Hillbillies
1987:
Provided the score for Rob Reiner's "The Princess Bride"; also arranged theme song, "Storybook Love"
1988:
Dire Straits disbanded
1989:
Wrote score for "Last Exit to Brooklyn"
1991:
Dire Straits reformed for one last album, "On Every Street"; subsequent world tour lasted nearly two years and drove the band into the ground
1996:
Released first solo album, "Golden Heart"
1997:
Wrote score and played guitars as featured musician, in addition to producing the music for "Wag the Dog"
1997:
Scored "Metroland"
1998:
Played at the second "Chet Atkins Musician Days" in Nashville, Tennesee, backed by his "Golden Heart" tour band, plus guitarist Brent Mason
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

University of Leeds: -

Notes

Awarded an honorary doctorate in music by Newcastle University in 1993

Made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in December 1999

"Mark Knopfler was actually Bernd Eichinger's (producer) idea, but I had always loved the music to his other films. He came to see the rough cut of the film and after the screening we drove to dinner together. In the car, he had already begun to enthusiastically retell individual scenes and to talk about the characters. As I saw his eyes sparkling in the dark, I knew that he was my ally." --Uli Edel, director of "Last Exit to Brooklyn", from PR

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Sue Hercombe. Musician. Formed band with a 16-year-old Knopfler.
wife:
Lourdes Salamone.
wife:
Kitty Aldridge. Mother of his youngest daughter.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Erwin Knopfler. Architect. Hungarian Jew who fled to Scotland during WWII.
mother:
Louisa Mary Knopfler. School teacher.
brother:
Dave Knopfler. Songwriter, musician web designer. Born on December 27, 1952; was member of band Dire Straits but left in 1980; married with one son.
sister:
Ruth Knopfler.
daughter:
Isabella Aldridge. Born c. 1998.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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