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Mark Knopfler a Sultan of Swing

Mark Knopfler who the music press named, “The quiet man of rock’, seems to have had a good reason for keeping quiet during the interviews. For Knopfler the lead guitarist of Dire Straits who along with his brother David, who he hasn’t spoken to for thirty six years, and bassist John Illsley formed the rock group in the late 1970s has opened another can of worms that the music industry seems to throw up periodically?.

Though Knopfler was taken aback by the question asked at the P.R.S. plaque unveiling ceremony outside the council house in Deptford South London, that he’d shared with John Illsley before the group became famous, and exclaiming, “That was forty years ago,”. The dynamic master of the electric guitar revealed that he didn’t write the lyrics of the bands debut album Dire Straits.

Though his many fans thought he had, the Sultan of Swing guitarist maintains he has never stated that he himself has ever said that he wrote the lyrics, and points the oversight to the credits on the back sleeve of the album where it misleadingly reads Songs by Mark Knopfler, lyrics kindly reproduced by Straitjacket Songs.

This directs the blame of the oversight on the reporters who were writing about the band in the 70s, who had  presumed he had written the lyrics as well as the songs, and taken their information from the sleeve of the album. Amazingly Knopfler has only been asked twice in a interview regarding the debut album about the lyrics, he answered he liked, “Southbound Again,” as it reminded him of his journey from Newcastle to London where he worked as a lecturer.

Then when the groups second album Communique was released that lyrically had no similarity to the first, when asked about the huge variation between the two, he’d simply replied, “Its different,” and it certainly was and now we know the reason why. Again we can blame the reporters for getting it wrong, unless they hadn’t noticed that Knopfler this time took the credits for the lyrics on Communique as well as the song writing.

Though Edd Bicknell almost almost gave the game away, when he jokingly told a reporter from a well known newspaper, when he was asked about the debut album, “That a guy had whispered the lyrics into Mark Knopfler’s ear, and hoped he wouldn’t be taking them to court,” so if Bicknell hadn’t been told by his star protege that the lyrics were written by someone else, he doesn’t know how close to the truth he came, yet maybe there was a motive behind Bicknell’s slip of the tongue for he wasn’t usually loose with his comments even as a joke?.

He had witnessed the ruthless end of David Knopfler’s career with Dire Straits in 1980, in a studio in America where the band was putting together the music of the album, Making Movies, its said a row started between the two brothers, others say a fight but whatever it was it became a feud that has lasted until this day and it seems unlikely the two brothers will ever make up. And just to rub salt into the wound Mark Knopfler denied any credits and probably money to his younger brother, though David obviously played on the Making Movies talk about sticking the proverbial Six Blade Knife in the back, no wonder Edd Bicknell was also watching his back, he liked David so we can be assured the rumour that Brothers in Arms was written for David is just another myth. Though the meaning of a Sultan of Swing in Scotland, is a Highland Dancer, in English a Chancer, so who was it that whispered into Edd Bicknell’s ear that Mark didn’t write the lyrics, David perhaps?.

Rock’n Roll Hall of Fame Dire Straits

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It was October 2009 when I started this blog, and to tell my part in Dire Straits, a 100,000 hits later those who doubted my story and those who thought it would be removed pronto, must by now realize I was telling the truth?

And if its not obvious to Mark Knopfler fans why Dire Straits isn’t in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, start with my story, I wrote the lyrics of the two songs that should have seen D.S. sail into that picture. However if there is a hint of plagiarism in the equation those who judge who should get through the gates, must refuse too admit the nominated artist if there’s a hint of skulduggery involved?

That is why I believe plagiarism should be classified as a criminal intent like theft, rather than a civil matter where the claimant has to fork out big bucks to over priced Lawyers in the Law Courts to get the plagiarist into the dock. David Cameron when he was Prime Minister said he would be putting a paper before Parliament in a attempt to get this medieval law changed. For as we see  in my case I don’t have the money to get to the Law Courts, and Knopfler and Illsley don’t have the bottle to sue me, so they sit back and allow a outdated law to work for them?

And if Dire Straits were in the Rock n Roll Hall, it would be Mark and David Knopfler Dave Pick Withers and Illsley as the artists, for they all played on Sultans of Swing, and that was the song that brought them fame and into the house of Rock n Roll. When Money for Nothing was released Illsley had fired David Knopfler and Dave Pick Withers had left the scene, and Dire Straits was just the name of the band in fact I’d have called it the John Illsey set featuring Mark Knopfler and a variety of artists hand picked and vetted by Illsley.

Of course the excuses made by Mark Knopfler fans for his exclusion from the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame is hilarious, M.K. declined the offer, yet M.K. wouldn’t get in with his solo work?

I’m sure M.K got the call and turned it down, and that’s the end of it.

Its not going to happen, and if D.S. was even considered Mark for sure would put the kibosh on any consideration of a D.S. induction, it would necessitate a D.S. reunion?

Would he desperately want another medal on his chest?

Hello is this Mark Knopfler….Yes how did you get my number,….Never mind we want to induct you into the Rock n Hall of Fame, are you in,……No strike me out, call Ozzy Osbourne instead?

I mean can you reject receiving it, that’s like Bob Dylan skipping the Nobel Prize?

The Hall of Fame becomes irrelevant when you are fully satisfied with your career and the recognition you get. Needless to say Mark probably thinks that’s irrelevant, I happen to agree?…….Does that mean he’s happy to be a plagiarist,  and rip of the writer of the lyrics that made him famous, and just a bread head come on?

As Mark already has Brit awards, Grammy awards, a O.B.E.. Honorary doctor of music from three Universities, I doubt if he’d be bothered?……Well I agree with that a person who has the character to turn away the person who gave him all that, bothered no?

And here is one from another guardian of the Knopfler reputation on why they have not taken me to court for libel,…Why should a Elephant be worried about a mouse?

A Mark In Time

It may come as a surprise to some people who comment on the Mark In Time threads, but I do not scour through what is being said or should I say guessed about Mark Knopfler.
I’m more interested about Dire Straits and Mark was just a band member, though he did play a very integral role in making the group popular. However so did Dave Pick Withers help massively as he was the only professional, and had played drums for some of Britain’s best rock stars and bands, he also opened doors in the music industry that the Knopflers and John Illsley could only stand outside.
So if I read articles where Mark Knopfler becomes the only focus of the writer, I surmise that person came into the picture during Mark’s solo career, and any knowledge they have about him is by attending his gigs, and probably gained from other fans who have heard about his talent as musician, and since the heavy vibes of enthusiasm from the Dire Straits fans no longer linger, and the serene gentility of the the Albert Hall and such have followed those new arrivals to the Knopfler fan club. Those who have braved to poke their heads into the silence of the arena, that at one time was explosive rather than this thoughtful listening for note perfection these new heads that I have witnessed attending a Knopfler gig, in reality are seeking to hear the Dire Straits band they have heard about but were to timid or to young to attend.
Knopfler may have surrounded himself with top notch musicians, but the ones that really brought out his true mastery of the guitar, were his brother David Pick Withers and Illsley.
Wouldn’t it be great to see that line up again and get back to the start of Dire Straits, I dare those D.S. fans who are left and attend his concerts to demand a D.S. reunion, and while they are at it ask what he has done with my money, Money for Nothing, Ill cocoa.

Mark Knopfler the Bob Dylan Con

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Mark Knopfler has just had his 67th birthday, that is 45 years he’s been in the music scene with Dire Straits and as a solo artist.

When I got in touch with him in 2006, I thought that was when the con-men part of Knopfler and Illsley’s characters had started, because obviously they didn’t want to share either the money their friendship, or their experiences with me.

In fact it had started in 1979 when Bob Dylan had heard the music and the lyrics of the Dire Straits album, Bobs a wordsmith a poet and he’d heard something he liked.

I’d been into Dylan from the early sixties, he spoke of things I could relate with, times were hard, but Bob said they were changing, and my mates who all played the guitar did there damnedest to imitate the music he played while I vamped on the harmonica, and tried to get them interested in my poetry and lyrics. But who could compete in verse with Bob Dylan, and being a poet is like a seer looking into the future, and your always looking for people who share that gift.

So what happened when Mark Knopfler got the invite from Dylan to meet him, it wasn’t because like him Knopfler’s a Jew, it was because he liked what he’d heard on the Dire Straits album, and thought he’d found another writer and seer. So did Knopfler come clean and tell Bob Dylan that he hadn’t written the lyrics but he could probably get in touch with Robert Marshal the guy who had. Not on your life the conman took the great man on and probably like all the times he was asked about that album, he acted the quiet man n0t wanting any praise for the gift of having such a talent to write such great lyrics.

Their was however one bit of reality that came out of the meeting with Bob Dylan, Dave Pick Withers who also was obviously conned into believing Mark Knopfler had written the lyrics on the Dire Straits  album, got the job of drumming on Dylan’s Slow Train album, while Illsley and Knopfler just continued to be a couple of Sultans of Swing.

Mark and David Knopfler Communique

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It was 2006 when I got in touch with David Knopfler and though our conversations have been slightly reserved I thought by now he’d have got the message that I’d wrote the lyrics of the Dire Straits album. However I see in a interview in 2013 he’s still saying Dave Pick Withers came up with the idea of naming the band Dire Straits even though Pick wasn’t even there at the time the band was formed. I know that David was miffed about not having his own lyrics included into any of the albums, but honestly I don’t know where they would have fitted in, Dire Straits was a rock band and as David has said his thread was folk, and his only solo gigs were with the boy Scouts. I think he was a really lucky fella letting his older brother Mark lead the band musically, but again David when I once asked you about the lyrics of Dire Straits the album you stuck to the story of assuming Mark had written them though his previous lyrics bore not a sliver of originality to them, so I’m going to include a review written about Communique the album some fans think was written for me to get in touch ie [ You don’t have to worry about the previous release,] I’d have thought there was a easier way to communicate so here is the review.

Whenever somebody says, “That Dire Straits album is the most boring shit,” I say”You must have confused that one with Communique,”. Seriously though Dire Straits second album was a great disappointment. The album doesn’t make the band any new friends and the old ones had to dig in, Communique is nothing but a pale carbon copy of the bands debut. First of all I’m disappointed with the lyrics, where the lyrics on the Dire Straits album were very much subject orientated , drawing vivid and impressive images of a dark depressing London, this is intimate and personnel and far from what everyone can identify with, what the hell is Once upon a time in the West all about. Not that the lyrics are bad, but this deeply rooted pseudo mystical attitude is not what I’d have expected, some say he was influenced by Dylan, but I prefer him singing,”French kisses in the darkened doorway,”. How can a Dire Straits album sound so diverse from the debut. Whats worse is Communique is full of recycling, and what in hell is “Lady Writer,”. Again I reiterate that none of these defects are enough to condemn the record its when you suddenly realize while the form is the same, the breathtaking magic has evaporated, I wonder why David I wonder why.

[Excerpts from George Starostins review Dire Straits]

 

I know a lot of reviews rate Communique due to Marks guitar playing, but that’s his department mines was lyrics and its reviews that mention them I’m interested in. And I’d again ask Mark Knopfler to give the Dire Straits fans what they want before we all get to old a return to Dire Straits and a reunion.

In Communique Mark Knopfler neglects his duty as a songwriter, and focuses on other facets of the bands sound, forgetting that the songwriting on any album is the most crucial department of all. Much of the atmospherics  sound lifeless and flaccid caused by rudimentary melodies.

Even the LYRICS are a step down from Dire Straits eponymous debut album, coming across as basic and derivative. The album seems to be a bastardize remake of the debut, yielding predictably tepid results compared to the first album, its lacking in the substance that made the Dire Straits album a undisputed classic.?

Review by Evansrock

Dire Straits Straitjacket Music ( Songs)

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I was asked recently what is Straitjacket Music (Songs) and someone else told me to contact the Harry Fox Agency as they were against plagiarism in the music business and had big bucks to back up those who had been ripped off.

Straitjacket Music was to be set up for Mark Knopflers music, and seemingly that’s what he did in the 1970s, for I received a email from Jeff Tucker, (Photo above) an American Musician and Singer. Who told me he had recorded two of Knopflers songs Romeo and Juliet, and Once Upon a time in the West, that was in 1980 and the rights of the recording was Straitjacket Music. But guess who was the administrator in the United States of Straitjacket Music, the Harry Fox Agency.?

Before I had this information I’d actually contacted someone in the Harry Fox Agency and they had a look at what I’d written, I was a bit disappointed when it was all they did, for I believed they would have taken my case up with Knopfler and Illsley, but I suppose when your agency is the distributor and have the recording rights, maybe it was prudent to back off, but definitely not kosher or as they claim on the side of those being ripped off.

Straitjacket songs was for the lyrics, and since Mark Knopfler was singing the songs he would have a percentage in the royalties, however when Robert Allan the Dire Straits Lawyer drew up a new contract for the music and lyric rights, Straitjacket Music seemed to vanish into one off Mark Knopflers back pockets, only to reappear to pay the five million for the building of the Grove Music Studios. Its also interesting to note that John Illsley has lost his position as Secretary of Straitjacket Songs, and been replaced by Mark Knopflers wife Kitty Aldridge, could it be Mark is coming back into the real world where it was the Dire Straits fans that made him so popular and rich and helped by a few lyrics from myself whether it be Straitjacket Songs or Music.

Robert Marshal Bay City Rollers Dire Straits

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The Bay City Rollers were playing at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1975 the same year I met Mark Knopfler and John Illsley. I was a conductor at the time on the number 11 bus, we were the last bus back into the city, and at the terminus at Hammersmith the fans from the gig were just a horde of tartan clad spirits screaming their love for the five lads from Edinburgh. That soon changed into a obsessed baying for blood when my driver decided he’d seen enough and sped away from the terminus without stopping to  pick up a passenger. As hundreds of them chased after us it looked from the open deck at the back of the bus, like a scene from a zombie film as we were pursued by some pretty fit teenagers?

It seems like us Edinburgh boys are susceptible to meeting those who want to use or talents, but want to pocket the profits we bring them so Illsley and Knopfler to me just fit in nicely with Tam Paton, the manager of the Bay City Rollers. Paton’s father had a haulage firm in Musselburgh a town just outside Edinburgh that delivered sacks of potato’s, he also enjoyed the company of teenage boys and always having money to spend he was never without a young admirer from the rent boys of Edinburgh.

I came across him in a late night dance venue in Wallyford, he was dressed in a light blue suit and wearing cowboy boots and a  stetson hat. Most of us were still in our teens and he looked completely out of place, of course he could have been giving the live bands a once over, but he wasn’t into the music business at that time. And his intentions were made clear when my mate ended up taking him outside and setting about him after being propositioned, all I remember is seeing the stetson flying in the air and the blue suit changing colour as they rolled about in the muddy grass outside the gig. If I’d known he would turn out to be a rip off merchant and leave the five Bay City Rollers without the money they were entitled too, he’d have got a few punches from me as well.

I’d like to say its great to see the boys together again, but the scars are deep when you get a using like that, when their lives should have been one of having no money worries after their break up it wasn’t, but unlike Ken Buchanan Edinburgh’s world champion boxer who can’t remember which bank he deposited his money in, the Bay City Rollers know where theirs went straight into Tam Paton’s pocket, I wonder if 1975 was a fatalistic year for rip offs.