Brothers in Arms (1985) – Dire Straits

Today’s featured song is the title track from Dire Straits 1985 album.  It’s the first song to feature in this music library from Dire Straits and cofounder/lead singer/guitarist Mark Knopfler, although Mark’s musical influence and collaborative efforts with Bob Dylan have been mentioned here before. It seems to me that Dire Straits and Mark Knopfler don’t get their just deserts when aficionados reminisce on 80’s music and/or rock’n roll in it entirety. I just don’t see them paid the due attention in musical circles that other big rock groups get and that’s that. Brothers in Arms is one of the world’s best-selling albums, having sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.

Brothers in Arms is difficult to write about and it’s also hard not to get emotional about this song. I think it’s the ants pants as far as war songs go, yet like most of Dire Straits songs you don’t hear it paid mention. It was actually written during the Falkland’s War and is essentially a solidarity song for war troops.  Mark Knopfler explains that the song is sung by a soldier dying on the battlefield; as a real singer he has to immerse himself, so to speak, in his view and feelings. In the first two verses it is the own comrades to whom the speaker turns, i.e. the “brothers in arms”. Only in the final line does it become clear that all enemy soldiers are included within “brothers in arms”.

These mist covered mountains
Are a home now for me
But my home is the lowlands
And always will be
Some day you’ll return to
Your valleys and your farms
And you’ll no longer burn
To be brothers in arms

Of course Money For Nothing was a megahit from that album and may have done more harm than good retrospectively as it was criticized of reeking of mega bucks and sell out stadium concerts.  Knophler himself concluded “the old rockschool restraints and the undeniably attractive smell of the winning formula seem to block out any such experimental work and what you end up with is something very like the same old story.” He said this just after exploring different creative directions with his work on Bob Dylan’s Infidels.

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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3 comments on “Brothers in Arms (1985) – Dire Straits
  1. badfinger20 says:

    Great post Matt. You are right. Money For Nothing overshadowed everything else on the album. You also had Walk Of Life that got the rest of the airplay. It was such a massive album at the time…yet I rarely heard this one…until I bought the album.

    I’ve been a fan of Mark since I heard the intro to Sultans of Swing.

    • I love both of those songs: Walk of Life and Sultans of Swing. They have made just so many iconic rock songs and his guitar playing is to die-for. I love Knophler’s ‘Princess Bride’ soundtrack too – absolutely beautiful guitar and unforgettable melody. Also ‘Local Hero’ which has the legendary ‘Going Home’ theme. Brilliant.

  2. I think you’ll find some love over at CB’s place. Did a take on the debut a while back. Knophler continues to pump out great music.

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