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brothers in arms

Dire Straits are one of those bands whose global success has rather overshadowed the reason they were successful in the first place.

Good songs are usually at the heart of a group’s popularity, particularly if that success endures for more than a hit single or album.

Mark Knopfler has written over 300 songs – many of them memorable and timeless – as is the case with the title track from that Dire Straits’ mega album from the mid-80s.

The song was featured yesterday in a welcome repeat in the BBC Radio 4 ‘Soul Music’ series, which I missed the first time round.

And then as if the schedule planners had done some joined up thinking, a documentary I did see on its first airing in 2011, appropriately titled ‘Mark Knopfler: A Life In Songs,’ got a repeat showing last night on BBC Four.

What both programmes confirmed about Knopfler (or ‘Knoffler’ as the ‘Soul Music’ website has it!) is that success is fleeting, class is permanent.

The first time I heard ‘Sultans Of Swing,’ I like lots of other people thought: ‘This is pretty good.’

And given his consistency as a songwriter over the past four decades, Mark Knopfler perhaps deserves far more credit and plaudits than he usually is given by critics and fans of popular music.

Soul Music – Brothers In Arms – BBC iPlayer

Mark Knopfler: A Life In Songs – BBC iPlayer

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Dire Straits – Sultans Of Swing

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