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Mark Knopfler Biography

Home > Music > K > Knopfler, Mark > Biography

Born: 1949/08/12
Birth Place: Newcastle, England
Years Active: 1965–present
Genres: Roots Rock, Celtic Rock, Country, Blues-rock

Mark Knopfler, OBE (born August 12, 1949) is a Scottish-born British guitarist, singer, songwriter, record producer and film score composer. He is best known as the lead guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for the British rock band Dire Straits, which he co-founded in 1977. After Dire Straits disbanded in 1995, Knopfler went on to record and produce several solo albums. He has composed and produced film scores for eight films. In addition to his work with Dire Straits and as a solo artist and composer, Knopfler has recorded and performed with many prominent musical artists, including Chet Atkins, The Chieftains, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Jools Holland, Sonny Landreth, and Van Morrison. He has produced albums for such artists as Tina Turner, Bob Dylan, and Randy Newman.

Knopfler's first solo album, “Golden Heart,” featuring the U.K. single “Darling Pretty,” was released in March 1996. During the recording sessions for the album the main line-up of Knopfler's backing band, also known as “The 96ers,” was formed, featuring Knopfler's old bandmate Guy Fletcher on keyboards.

In 1997 Knopfler recorded the soundtrack for the movie “Wag the Dog.” 2000 saw the release of Knopfler's next solo album, “Sailing to Philadelphia.” The album featured a number of collaborators including Van Morrison, James Taylor, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings among others.

In 2002 Knopfler released his third solo album, “The Ragpicker's Dream.” However, in March 2003 he was involved in a motorbike crash in Grosvenor Road, Belgravia and suffered a broken collarbone, broken shoulder blade and seven broken ribs. The planned Ragpicker's Dream tour was subsequently cancelled, but Knopfler recovered and was able to return to the stage in 2004 for his fourth album, “Shangri-La.”

“Shangri-La” was recorded at the Shangri-La Studio in Malibu, California in 2004, where The Band made recordings years before for their documentary/movie, “The Last Waltz.” In November 2005 a compilation, “The Best of Dire Straits & Mark Knopfler: Private Investigations” was released, consisting of material from most of Dire Straits' studio albums and Mark Knopfler's solo and soundtrack material. The only previously unreleased track on the album was “All the Roadrunning,” a duet with country music singer Emmylou Harris, which was followed in 2006 by a collaborative album of duets of the same name.

Released in April 2006, “All the Roadrunning” reached #17 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. “All the Roadrunning” was nominated for Best Folk Rock/Americana Album at the 49th Grammy Awards. Selections from the duo's performance at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, California, were released as a DVD entitled “Real Live Roadrunning” in November 2006. In addition to several of the compositions that Harris and Knopfler recorded together in the studio, “Real Live Roadrunning” features solo hits from both members of the duo, as well as three tracks from Knopfler's days with Dire Straits.

Knopfler released his fifth solo studio-album “Kill to Get Crimson” in September 2007. Continuing a pattern of high productivity through his solo career, Knopfler began work on his next studio album, entitled “Get Lucky,” in September 2008 with long-time band mate Guy Fletcher. The album peaked at #5 on the Billboard Rock Albums chart.