OLD NEWS......


COMIC RELIEF FEATURE: Mark has written and recorded the underscore for a 30 minute Comic Relief animated 'Robbie the Reindeer' feature called Hooves of Fire. Mark has written a short disco pastiche called Get Busy, sung by Mark and Guy. A second composition, a song sung by actress Jane Horrocks and Mikey Graham from Boyzone, called The Other Side of the Moon, has been co-written by Mark, Guy and screenwriters Andy Riley and Kevin Cecil. Hooves of Fire was televised at 2.30 p.m. on BBC1 on Christmas Day and will be released on video by BBC Worldwide. (21/12/99)


ED BICKNELL'S CHARITY AUCTION, OCTOBER 1999: This was the biggest ever auction of DS/MK gold and platinum awards. To view items, etc, click here


THE AUSTIN SESSIONS: At last Kris Kristofferson's The Austin Sessions album has been released. Mark plays on one track, Please Don't Tell Me How The Story Ends. Also featured on the album are Vince Gill, Steve Earle, Jackson Browne, Paul Franklin, Jim Cox and a few others. The album should have been released last year on the Guardian Record label but it has now been released by the Atlantic Recording Corporation, Cat No: 83208-2 Atlantic.


MARK PRESENTS AWARD: Mark attended the Audio Electronics Society Conference in New York on 27th September. He was there to present his mate Chet Atkins with a Lifetime Achievement award. (28/09/99)



So, you want to play like Mark, eh ? Well, for all you budding Mark Knopflers out there Total Accuracy have published a new tab book in their Jam with.. series. The book comes with two CDs which allow you to play along to many of your favourite Dire Straits tracks such as Brothers In Arms, Telegraph Road, Romeo & Juliet, Private Investigations and Walk of Life.

Hal-Leonard Publishers have produced a Mark Knopfler volume in their Guitar Signature Licks series (ISBN 0-7935-8129-X). Wise Publications are offering a Dire Straits volume in their The Chord Songbook series (ISBN 0-7119-7483-7) in addition to a Mark Knopfler volume in their Riff By Riff series (ISBN 0-7119-6607-9).

Also out now is a new guitar tabulature book for the Sultans of Swing: The Very Best of Dire Straits compilation album. This contains complete guitar tabulature and standard notation transcriptions of all the songs from the album, including melody line, lyrics, guitar boxes and chords symbols. It includes guitar tabulation explanation in English, French, German and Italian. Order from www.musicsales.co.uk or music shops.


Despite fierce competition the Sultans of Swing: The Very Best of Dire Straits compilation album entered the UK album chart at Number 6. It entered the Norwegian album chart at Number 5, the Australian album chart at Number 6 and the Irish album chart at Number 10. It entered at Number 5 in Austria, Number 11 in Belgium, Number 22 in the Netherlands, Number 60 in Canada, Number 13 in Finland, Number 6 in Germany, Number 8 in Portugal, Number 8 in Denmark, Number 7 in Italy, Number 9 in New Zealand, Number 6 in Spain, Number 10 in Sweden, Number 6 in Switzerland, Number 3 in Greece, Number 11 in South Africa, Number 47 in Hungary, Number 13 in Iceland, Number 7 in Argentina, Number 29 in the Czech Republic and straight in at Number 1 in France ! The album has sold well in various other countries throughout the world, such as Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Poland, Turkey, India, The Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and Japan.

Highest chart position reached:

Argentina (7), Australia (4), Austria (5), Belgium (2), Canada (60), Czech Republic (27), Denmark (8), Finland (1), France (1), Germany (6), Greece (3), Hungary (23), Iceland (13), Ireland (10), Italy (4), Netherlands (6), New Zealand (6), Norway (2), Portugal (4), South Africa (8), Spain (4), Sweden (7), Switzerland (3), UK (6).


Guy Fletcher played with Jimmy Nail on BBC's Breakfast Show on Friday 28th May 1999 and performed with Jimmy at the 'City in the Park' concert in Nottingham's Wollaton Park on Sunday 30th May. Also on the same bill were The Corrs, Del Amitri, East 17, Picture House and Younger, Younger, 28.


Fans might like to get hold of a copy of a German CD single by Killer called Bring It On which features Mark's guitar work from Brothers in Arms. Mercury catalogue number CD566737-2.



"My friend Steve Phillips said once...", declared Brendan Croker, "...drinking lager is good for you : it makes you sociable - and you sleep well". Certainly, the booze at the bar aided the atmosphere between the 19th and 24th of April 1999 at Soho's Twelve Bar Club for Brendan's Dying To Sing nights - but the power of the music performed was more intoxicating. The week was dedicated to preserving the memory of singers who enriched the lives of many at the expense of shortening their own; all comers were invited to pay tribute to those of their heroes who, in Brendan's words, "just exploded".

Come they did - and what a vaguely surreal bunch they were. Comedian Tony Hawkes, film actor Adrian Dunbar, ex-Wah! singer and all round Scouser Pete Wylie and pedal steel maestro BJ Cole (not to mention "the legendary Marcus Cliffe", as Brendan exclaimed at Ronnie Scott's last year, and percussionist Danny Cummings, who Dire Straits fans will remember from their 1991-2 tour) were among the less than insane but not quite sensible rabble that assembled around the idea, all united by their need to keep alive the memories of the songs that shaped them.

Jon Langford's portrait of Hank Williams as Saint Sebastian provided the backdrop to the tiny stage, and Hank himself was well represented in Brendan's choices - but he also created a spine tingling version of The Doors' Light My Fire and a take on Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit that was nothing less than disturbing.

Brendan will insist the series was about those who gave their lives for us - but he deserves credit for being the driving force behind a crazy, drunken, emotional week. "It's not karaoke" he repeated late on Saturday night for the umpteenth time. You can say that again, Brendan!

Reviewed for MKNews by Daniel Dlark. Daniel Clark, 1999


GUY FLETCHER and MARCUS CLIFFE appear on Jimmy Nail's album Tadpoles In A Jar.


The 24th Annual Lunch of the Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy Centres was held on Friday, June 26th, 1999. Around 300,000 was raised to help fund the centres which care for serverely disabled and autistic children. Mark presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to Pete King of Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club which is celebrating it's 40th Anniversary this year. Mark gave a speech in which he jokingly said that the third worst dressing room in the world was at Ronnie Scott's in London and the second worst dressing room in the world was at Ronnie Scott's Birmingham! Mark declined to say which was the worst dressing room in the world but according to Ed it was the one the NHBs used at last year's private Swan Hunter gig which had two inches of water for a carpet!!


CONGRATULATIONS to John Illsley and his new wife, Stephanie Latham. John and Stephanie have been an item for quite a while now but they finally tied the knot Saturday, 19th June, at Beaulieu Abbey. This is John's second marriage and none other than Mark Knopfler was John's best man! After the wedding there was a reception at John's place with lots of food and wine, a disco, and a band.

click on pic for larger image

About 11 pm another band took to the stage for a highly impromptu performance. The personnel of this make-shift band will have a very familiar ring to all DS fans: Mark Knopfler on vocal and guitar, John Illsley, vocal and bass guitar, sharing the same keyboard were Alan Clark and Guy Fletcher, and then there was the drummer, a certain Ed Bicknell. Chris White was there but didn't have his sax with him - shame Chris! Surely, every fan will envy the guitar player with the other band, he ended up playing second guitar with MK and company! The guys played Walk of Life, Sultans of Swing, Money For Nothing, Nadine and Wild Theme from Local Hero (Mark and Guy). Oh yes, and before we get thousands of e-mails asking the question - NO, this does not mean that Dire Straits are getting back together or starting a world tour next week!


MESSAGE FROM JACK SONNI: I have been in contact with Jack and asked him to to let old DS fans know what he has been up to. Here is his reply dated 21/08/99.

"Old DS fans..well they'd have to be to remember me, or wouldn't they!!??!! Seems like another lifetime ago.   Much has happened but the Reader's Digest version is over the past 13 years since my last contact with the DS crew, sometime just after the Nelson Mandela show, I've focused on building a life around my twin daughters, rather than around a career as a gypsy musician. I returned to university at one point to continue my education in literature and marketing. During much of this time, I was a single father, my daughters living with me full-time while I worked in Marketing for several Musical Instrument companies of note and, then, as a freelance writer and creative director for Television and Advertising agencies. About two and half years ago, I was asked to join a company called Line 6 as Director of Marketing. The company makes digital guitar amplifiers - most famous of which is a device called "POD" which I was instrumental in both design and marketing. It's an amazing product designed for musicans who record guitars and is rapidly becoming the industry standard in studios around the world. Music? Since I retired from the professional scene, playing guitar has become what it once was...FUN. I play at my local (a great Brit pub complete with Fuller/s ESB, Guiness and Abbott's on tap - it's Eric Idle's local also)...when and if I feel like it. I'll make a round of calls to see who's in town and we'll throw a gig together. (Doane Perry - drummer from Jethro Tull is a mate and usually joins us - among a large crew of LA session players or pros that live in the area). It's for giggles and grins...and more than a few pints. All in all, it's great. Grab a guitar, toss the amp in the trunk, rock the house and I'm home by 1am. I have nothing to prove, no one to impress and no worries about record deals. And I'm probably playing better than ever before. That's about it. I continue to write stories and essays and have started gathering material to send to publishers. Who knows...stranger things have happened! All the best - and give my regards to Col. Parker and Elvis!!   Jack" 


A NEW GERMAN compliation album has been released which contains the full-length (6 mins, 39 secs) studio version of Brothers In Arms. The album, called Voices For Peace, aims to promote world peace and has been released on the BMG Ariola label, No 74321685132. The album also features tracks by artists such as Paul McCartney, Elton John, Queen, Pink Floyd and Phil Collins. Among various comments from different people Mark writes in the sleeve notes, "Had my grandfathers met during the First World War they would have had to try to kill eachother. Any small thing we can do to avoid the absurdity and calamity of war is to be given every encouragement."


CHANNEL 4's MR ROCK AND ROLL SERIES: Ed was one of a number of music industry notables who took part in the Channel 4 TV documentary about the career of rock manager Peter Grant screened on 26th September, 1999.


ED'S ANECDOTES: And, talking about Ed, some of you may know that Ed is famous among his friends for anecdotal stories....thought you might like to hear one or two so here goes......

Did you know, for example, that when Dire Straits did Live Aid, Ed got a call from Bob Geldof asking if the band would appear. Ed checked in the diary and saw that the Straits were playing at Wembley Arena the night of the Live Aid concert. He told told Bob that if the Straits could go on stage at about 6.00 pm then they would do it. The band did a sound check at the Arena and then simply walked across the road to perform in the stadium. Then they walked back over the road to get ready for the Arena gig!

How did Sting end up singing on Money For Nothing ? Well, the Straits were in Montserrat to record the BIA album, they had absolutely no idea Sting was on the island. It turned out that Sting and his family were on holiday. Now, Sting likes his food and, as far as he was concerned, he knew that the best cook on Montserrat was to be found at the recording studio. He turned up with his family looking for food and ended up singing on Money For Nothing!

There are people who don't know that Tina Turner's Private Dancer, a Mark Knopfler song, was actually written for the Love Over Gold album. When time came to choose a final tracklist for the album it eventually came down to a choice between Industrial Disease and Private Dancer. Industrial Disease was chosen partly because it gave a greater variety to the album and partly because Mark felt that Private Dancer ought to be sung by a woman. Six months after the release of Love Over Gold, Tina came into Ed's office looking for new songs and asked if Paul Brady had anything. Ed rang Paul who he said he didn't think he had anything available at the time, though in the end Tina did in fact record one of his songs. Ed just happened to be sitting in his swivel chair and as he was talking to Paul he swung round and saw the tape of Private Dancer in a box. He phoned Mark and asked if he was going to do anything with the song and Mark said "no"adding that, as it was about a burlesque dancer, he still felt it needed a woman's voice. Ed then told Mark that he had Tina in the office and Mark said it was OK for her to consider the song. Ed picked up the tape and gave it to Tina who left for her hotel. About 20 minutes later, she phoned the office saying she loved the song! Shortly after she decided to use the song as the title track to her album. Some of you may not know that there was a complaint in America about the use of the words "American Express" in the song. This is why, on the US single, Tina is heard to scream over these words in an effort to mask them out! Tina wanted to use the Straits backing track but it wasn't in her vocal key. So, Ed got all the band together and rushed them down to the studio. Mark was in America so wasn't able to be there. John Illsley said afterwards that Tina sang as if the recording studio was full with 10,000 people! Oh, the red shoes from Tina's Private Dancer video - Mark has them in a glass case!! (23/09/99)




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