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Mark Knopfler

On 12/08/1949: Mark Knopfler was born. He was born in Glasgow, Scotland and his full birth name was Mark Freuder Knopfler. When Mark was seven the family moved to Newcastle upon Tyne. His Uncle would play boogie woogie on the piano when he was eight or nine and Mark developed a passion for music. A few years later he started to play the guitar on an affordable Hofner before his father bought him a Fender. When he was 16 he recorded a demo with a few friends of his and performed in a vocal group that appeared on local television. In 1967 he started studying journalism at Harlow Technical College and became a journalist the next year at the Yorkshire Evening Post. After two years he went to Leeds University to study English, where he met guitarist Steve Phillips. They formed a duo called Duolian String Pickers. In 1973 he graduated and moved to London, There he joined pub rock group Brewer's Droop, with Pick Withers on drums. He was only with the band a short time. Knopfler took up a lecturer position at Loughton College. He formed a new band with local musicians called the Café Racers. Mark's brother introduced him to musician John Illsley. Mark asked to John to fill in one night with the Café Racers and soon Mark, David and John were sharing a flat and working on songs. Mark invited Pick Withers to play drums. They played a few gigs as the Café Racers before switching to a name that Withers had come up with, Dire Straits. Dire Straits made a demo. BBC disk jockey Charlie Gillett began playing on his show. It caught the attention of manager Ed Bicknall and Polygram A&R man John Stainze. Bicknall came on board as manager and Stainze signed them up with Polygram subsidiary Vertigo Records. In 1978 Dire Straits self titled debut album was released. The song "Sultans of Swing" from the album became a hit in the US and UK. The group would become very successful, but with several lineups. Mark Knopfler and John Illsley would be the only musicians to stay in all of the lineups. In 1979 Knopfler played lead guitar on Bob Dylan's "Slow Train Coming". In 1983 Knopfler produced and led the backing band on Dylan's "Infidels" album. He would also that year write the score for the film "Local Hero". In 1984 Tina Turner released the album "Private Dancer", with the title track having been written for her by Knopfler. In 1985 Dire Straits released the album "Brothers in Arms" was released. It sold over nine million copies in the US and was the top selling CD in the 80s in the UK. In 1990 Knopfler teamed up with Chet Atkins to release the album "Neck and Neck". It would be the first non soundtrack album that Knopfler would release under his own name. Mark also had a side project band called the Notting Hillbillies featuring Brendan Croker, Guy Fletcher, and Steve Phillips. In 1992 Dire Straits played their final concert in Spain. In 1995 Knopfler announced that the band had been retired. In 1996 Knopfler released his first solo album, "Golden Heart". In 2000 he released "Sailing to Philidelphia", which included guest appearances by Van Morrison, James Taylor, Gillian Welch, and Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford of Squeeze. In 2002 he released "The Ragpicker's Dream" but he was involved in a motorcycle accident and had to cancel the tour supporting its release. In 2004 he released the album "Shangri-La". In 2006 he colloborated with Emmylou Harris and released the album "All the Roadrunning". In 2007 he released "Kill to Get Crimson" and in 2009 "Get Lucky". Also contributing during the period to albums by Sonny Landreth, Bill Wyman, Diane Schuur, Bap Kennedy, and America. In 2012 he released "Privateer" and three years later "Tracker". In 2016 he colloborated with Evelyn Glennie on the soundtrack for Altamira. Knopfler has produced recordings for Aztec Camera, Randy Newman, and Willy DeVille. He has been a session guitarist on recordings by Van Morrison, Phil Lynott, Steely Dan, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Cliff Richard, and Scott Walker. He has scored for the films Cal, The Princess Bride, Last Exit to Brooklyn, and Wag the Dog, among others.

The Music History Calendar is written by the Blues Rock artist Marshland Pete
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