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     Knopfler, Mark (12th August 1949-Present)

    He is a singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer and movie composer born Mark Freuder Knopfler in Glasgow, Scotland, to an Anglo-Hungarian family who had fled from Hungary during the fascist regime.  When he was nine years old they settled in the North of England at his mother's hometown of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and it was here that he started to listen to boogie-woogie music performed by his uncle on harmonica and piano.  The impression this left led to him getting a guitar as a teenager and performing with various bands as well as appearing in a duo with a school-friend on a local television show when he was 16.   He didn't leave school to study music though and concentrated on journalism at Harlow Technical College before getting a job as a junior newspaper reporter and as a sideline performed in the duo The Duolian String Pickers.  He stayed with the Yorkshire Evening Post newspaper for around two years before moving on to lecture at Loughton College and take further studies at the University of Leeds to gain his English degree.  During this time he was a member of Cafi Racers with friends from college.  He was married for a brief time but then after splitting up with his wife he moved to the London area and joined the band Brewers Droop that hailed from High Wycombe.  Around that time he also made a demo of "Summer's Coming My Way" at a London studio.  1977 would be his turning point as this is when he and his brother, David, co-founded the extremely successful rock band Dire Straits.  They recorded their self-titled debut album in 1978 to little attention, but once the single "Sultans of Swing" appeared in the singles chart then it suddenly increased in popularity in the UK and Europe, followed by the United States.  They would then begin nearly two decades of touring and recording albums with hit singles that included "Romeo and Juliet",  " Private Investigations", "So Far Away", "Twisting by the Pool", "Walk of Life" and "Money for Nothing" which has the distinction of being the first video aired on MTV in the UK.  During this time he would also marry for the second time in 1983 and become the father of twin boys in 1987; the couple split in 1993.  Also in 1987 Dire Straits took a break and he became one of the artists involved in "Ferry Aid" after the Zeebrugge ferry disaster the ensuing charity single, which was a version of "Let It Be", topped the charts in March.  That same year he put together the group The Notting Hillbillies, which used more of a country music influence.  His interest in country music would go even further when he collaborated on the album Neck and Neck with Chet Atkins in the '90s.  Dire Straits got back together in 1988 for the Wembley Stadium tribute in London for the tribute to Nelson Mandela for his 70th birthday where they performed with his friend Eric Clapton and Elton John.  He toured and recorded with The Notting Hillbillies in 1990 and then, once again, Dire Straits got back together to tour with Elton John and Slowhand.  They recorded their final studio album in 1991 and went on a final world tour, which carried on right through until the latter end of 1992.  After having released the contractual album Live at the BBC in 1995 the group disbanded, this time officially, and he ventured out into his solo career with his band The '96ers.  That same year he also appeared on the single "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" which was released in the wake of the Dunblane school-shooting tragedy. 2002 saw the band getting back together briefly to perform at four charity concerts and that same year he was also in the process of releasing his third solo album.  The tour was shelved though as he was in a motorcycle accident and suffered several broken bones.  After he recovered he recorded his next album in California and resumed his tour plans, which included venues in the Middle East and India.  Having worked with many, many artists over the course of his career to date he has featured live or worked on recordings with John Anderson, Joan Armatrading, Clint Black, Mary Chapin-Carpenter, The Chieftains, The Dandy Warhols, Willie DeVille, Phil Everly, Guy Fletcher, Bryan Ferry, John Fogerty, Vince Gill, Nanci Griffith, Emmylou Harris, Jools Holland, Waylon Jennings, George Jones, Ben E. King, Kris Kristofferson, Sonny Landreth, Lindisfarne, Phil Lynott, Mink DeVille, Hank Marvin, Van Morrison, Jimmy Nail, Randy Newman, The Shadows, James Taylor, Tina Turner, Scott Walker, Glen Worf, Bill Wyman and Weird Al Yankovic to name just a few.  The albums he has appeared on as a musician and/or producer are numerous and include his own Grammy nominated All the Roadrunning plus Golden Heart, Kill to Get Crimson, The Ragpicker's Dream, Sailing to Philadelpia and Shangri-La as well as Alchemy, Brothers in Arms, Communique, Love Over Gold, Making Movies and On Every Street with Dire Straits, Knife by Aztec Camera, Take the Weather With You by Jimmy Buffett, After Midnight: Live by Eric Clapton, Infadels by Bob Dylan, Damn Right, I've Got the Blues by Buddy Guy, Songbird: Rare Tracks & Forgotten Gems by Emmylou Harris,  Small World Big Band by Jools Holland & His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, 80 by B.B. King, Love Over and Over by Kate & Anna McGarrigle, MissingPresumed Having a Good Time by The Notting Hillbillies, Another World by Gerry Rafferty, Rock Connection by Cliff Richard, Gaucho by Steely Dan, Human by Rod Stewart, Nothing Like the Sun by Sting and Soldier of Fortune by Thin Lizzy.  As a film composer he began writing movie scores in the early 1980s with soundtracks such as Local Hero, which was his first success in 1983, and then Cal, Comfort and Joy, Last Exit to Brooklyn, The Princess Bride and Wag the Dog.  Recognised for his contribution to music he was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1999 and has received honorary doctorates in music from Newcastle and Sunderland Universities.  Acclaimed for his fingerstyle performance on the guitar, he was given the position of No. 27 on the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" by Rolling Stone magazine.  He is also recognised for drinking tea while he's on stage and has had the newly discovered specis of dinosaur, Masiakasaurus knopfleri, named after him.  He currently continues to tour and record and lives with his third wife and their two daughters in Chelsea, London.

     

    Sources:

    1. http://www.markknopfler.com/about/
    2. http://www.myspace.com/markknopfler
    3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Knopfler#Early_days
    4. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&searchlink=MARK|KNOPFLER&sql=11:kjfexqe5ldse~T1
    5. http://www.mark-knopfler-news.co.uk/frameset.html
    6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dire_Straits
    7. http://www.ukmix.org/articles/2000/mark.html
    8. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0461360/
    9. http://www.buffettnews.com/resources/coralreeferband/?bid=249
    10. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&searchlink=MARK|KNOPFLER&sql=11:kjfexqe5ldse~T4
    11. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:kjfexqe5ldse~2~T40B
    12. http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:kjfexqe5ldse~3~T40B

     

    Here he is performing his "Boom Like That"...

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



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