Sultans Of Swing

Album: Dire Straits (1978)
Charted: 8 4
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  • This song is about guys who go to a club after work, listen to music and have a good time. They are there for the music, and not for the image presented by the band. The song was a marked change from the waning disco style and the nascent punk movement. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • Group leader Mark Knopfler got the idea for song this from watching a lousy club band perform. As the story goes, Knopfler was in Ipswich on a rainy night. He ducked into a bar where a mediocre band was closing out the night to an audience that was maybe four or five drunks unaware of their surroundings. The hapless band ended their set with the lead singer announcing, with no apparent irony, "Goodnight and thank you. We are the sultans of swing." Said Knopfler: "When the guys said 'Thank you very much, We are the Sultans of Swing,' there was something really funny about it to me because Sultans, they absolutely weren't. You know they were rather tired little blokes in pullovers."

    Knopfler got a lot of songwriting ideas from observing everyday people, something that got harder to do when he became famous. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    S.D. - Denver, CO
  • This was Dire Straits' first single. It was one of five songs on a demo tape they used to get their record deal. The tape got played on London radio and started a bidding war for the band.
  • Despite the title, the song is not played with a swing rhythm. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mark - West Bountiful, UT
  • A singer-songwriter from Indiana named Bill Wilson, who died in 1993, claimed that he wrote the lyrics to this song. He would often tell the story in concert, which was recorded for a 24-track CD that was released by a production company which recorded various artists between 1989-1995. One of the tracks is Wilson (identified only as "B. Wilson") performing "Sultans Of Swing."

    There is an asterisk after his name and on the CD it says that this was from a live show performed at The Warehouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. Before Wilson plays the song he says the following: "I do this thing I co-wrote about, I guess, it's been about 12 years ago I wrote the lyrics and a friend of mine used to work a lot of sessions for my old producer, Bob Johnston, and worked a session with this fellow from England by the name of Mark Knopfler. Has his own group over there called Dire Straits. He had this little melody. It sounded like 'Walk, Don't Run.' And he had this little story concerning a band that nobody wanted to listen to. Only a few people show up to hear. So we got together one night after the session and tossed these lyrics around on a napkin and I guess I wound up writing most of the lyrics to the tune. Made enough money to buy a new Blazer that year I remember, so... didn't do too bad. It goes like this..."

    Then he starts playing an acoustic guitar, strumming Spanish style and singing "Sultans." The lyrics are pretty close to what Mark Knopfler recorded but are slightly different. In 2009, this was posted to YouTube.

    It is unlikely that Wilson's account is true. Knopfler has never made mention of him, and Wilson is not credited for any contribution to the song. Also, the timeline doesn't sync: Mark Knopfler didn't come to America until after the album was released. The session work he did in Memphis was in the late '80s and early '90s when he was on a break from Dire Straits.
  • Regarding the line, "The band was playing Dixie double four time," Dixie double is a style popularized by Django Reinhradt (and Les Paul in his early years) where the guitar goes quite fast and plays bass as well, all together.
  • Knopfler has said that he is sick of this song because he had to play it thousands of times.
  • The "Guitar George" and "Harry" who are mentioned in the lyrics are George Young and Harry Vander, who were guitarists in the band The Easybeats. George Young is Angus Young's older brother and Harry and George helped get AC/DC recorded.
  • Dire Straits played a nearly 10 minute version with lots of saxophone at Live Aid in 1985. This performance is available on the Live Aid DVD.
  • Their 1998 Greatest Hits compilation Sultans of Swing: The Very Best of Dire Straits was named after this song.
  • System Of A Down sometimes covers this at concerts.
  • According to Rolling Stone magazine in their "100 Greatest Guitar Songs" issue, Mark Knopfler wrote the song on acoustic guitar, then switched to a Fender Stratocaster. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France, for above 5
  • Alan Freed played trombone in his band named Sultans of Swing. He is credited with coining the term "Rock and Roll" on his radio show in Cleveland in the early '50s. It is ironic that the lyrics, "They don't give a damn about any trumpet playing band, it ain't what they call rock and roll" references the type of band Alan Freed led. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Samuel - Russell, PA

Comments: 84

  • Saddo from NorthamptonPeter from northampton I used to drink with freinds of mine visiting depford united sports and social freinds club in depford weekends mark and his group played there.harry was the landlord and my o my could he play the honkeytonk like anything on a friday night and we was the crowd of young boys in the all fits in to the song
  • Mike from UkMark was originally called Mark Nopfler but record executives never read down lists on lists of new demos as far as ‘N’ so he added a K so his name would appear further up alphabetically lists but without changing how it was pronounced.

    It staggers me how such patently made-up nonsense can be passed off as ‘songfacts’. Unless this site is an utter piss-take and I’ve missed the joke, don’t’ waste any more time on it. I mean, George Young and Harry Vander (Easybeats, Flash and the Pan) playing Jazz in a pub in Deptford? "And the Sultans, they played New Wave"… FFS!

    Try Wiki or Discogs; these at least are peer-reviewed and have some roots in the real world.
  • Birdman_euston from London, UkA top-10 radio hit in North America in 1979. For me, Mark Knopfler's guitar virtuosity was a welcome antidote to the unrelenting disco dross that was stifling the airwaves at the time.
  • Bob F from ManchesterMark, when talking to Brian Johnson (AC/DC) says he saw the Sultans of Swing band in Deptford or Greenwich. In the first Dire Straits Biography (unofficial) the Author mentions a pub in Ipswich. So if even Mark is unsure I don't believe anybody can really be sure.
  • Joe from Uk Apparently, it cost Dire Straights just £125- to record sultans of swing! (recording studio cost) back in 1978.
  • Yuming from ChinaThis song is presented in the movie Bohemian Rhapsody before QUEENs went up and play, please update this ester egg.
  • Blacker from NisWhat is the STORY behind changing of pitch and tempo speed at 2:36 then it goes back to normal at 2:43 (
    C'mon someone have to explain this, or I am deluded it's realy happening :)
  • Paul from LondonJohn is right - it is indeed about a band that MK once saw play in a near deserted pub in Greenwich. Not Ipswich, like above, or Deptford like most of the internet. They lived in Deptford, so thats an easy (and lazy) mistake to make. MK liked the irony of the band's grandiose name as opposed to the pub's less than salubrious surroundings.

    However, I disagree with John, Mick and Peter about the pub it would have been in. I have always been told that the pub was the Gypsy Moth. My source was a family friend who used to frequent these pubs back in the day and who reckons he actually saw the performance alluded to. He said that it wasn't an empty pub - there were around 10-15 people in there - but he says that most of them weren't interested and it was a pitiful turn-out considering the crowds that other bands drew. He is not given to exaggeration or hyperbole, so I have no reason to disbelieve him.

    There is a clue in the lyrics too. They mention "too much competition" and there are more popular pubs in the immediate area, such as the Admiral Hardy, the Spanish Galleon and the Coach and Horses. The Gypsy Moth holds its own amongst those nowaways, but was not the most popular in the late 70s.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 23rd 1979, Dire Straits embarked on their first North American tour* with a concert in Boston, Massachusetts...
    At the time their debut U.S. charted record, "Sultans of Swing", was at #29 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; a little over five weeks later on April 1st it would peak at #4 {for 2 weeks} and it stayed on the chart for 15 weeks...
    Between 1979 and 1986 the group had seven Top 100 records; three made the Top 10, their other two Top 10 records were "Money for Nothing" at #1 for 3 weeks on September 15th, 1985 and "Walk of Life" at #7 for 1 week on January 19th, 1986...
    * The tour comprised of fifty-one sold out concerts in a thirty eight day period.
  • Howard from Levittown, Pa"It's Trad, Dad," a British pop film (featuring Helen Shapiro) from the early 60's that I saw on TCM recently, immediately reminded me of "Sultans" with its mix of pop and trad jazz performances. Was Mark Knopfler writing about the remnants of a declining scene? I'm texting this in, so I won't go into the details.
  • Kieran from Brisbane, AustraliaSeemed like Mark Knopfler got a lot of his inspiration from mundane everyday situations as with this song and also, Money for nothing and Calling Elvis.
  • Jack from Burlington, NjWhile the song was faded for unknown reasons, it actually has an "extended" ending, totaling a 6 minute rendition.
  • Mick from London, United KingdomThe setting is a jazz pub in Greenwich London.
    Meantime, and south of the river are the clues.
    Before they hit the big time , they shared a council flat in Deptford , which is about a mile from Greenwich park .The pub is either the Mitre in Greenwich , or the Prince of Orange in Rotherhithe
    The story goes that close to where they lived in Farrer House on the Crossfield council estate. "Love over gold" was scrawled on a wall. The rest is history.
    John is Bang on the money with this-although MK has never publicly said what pub the band were supposedly playing in another pub is the Gloucester Arms by the gates at Greenwich park that had live Jazz bands on a Friday night - Glen Tilbrook of Squeeze was often to be found in there listening to the local amateur talent.
  • Eddie from Billericay, United KingdomI wish i could do that.
  • Dennis from Swansea, Il i don't think he is dissing the band at all-he is sympathetic to them and probably was in a similar band situation once-every musician was. A nice slice of English weekend party life told by an expert storyteller; so much imagery in the lyrics as well as the music-his Dylanesque vocal makes it even more fantastic. Very unique lead playing. Dennis G., USA.
  • Dennis from Swansea, Il i think it is a positive song-he sings "you feel alright when you hear that music ring". I think he sympathizes with the "band" more than the audience, the latter of whom he makes disparaging remarks. I'm sure he was in a similar band situation once-every musician was. The music is too good to be a slam at a bad band, and he is too good a musician to put other bands down that are at least out there trying to do their thing.
  • Budoshi from Sandnessjøen, NorwayJust love to sing to this song.. It's so easy to follow:D
  • Vinicius from Taubaté, BrazilDon't know if I believe him, but there's a video, actually, an audio, of this Bill Wilson who credits himself as a cowriter on youtube:

    If you prefer to search by yourself, or it's not allowed to put a link in the comments, you can search as 'Sultans of Swing - 1991 Bill Wilson's Rendition'
  • Gus from Fort Smith, ArThis is one of the songs that inspired me to learn how to play guitar. The day I was able to play along to the CD was a very happy day.
  • Peter from London, United KingdomAstonished to see so many comments from people across the world, who haven't listened to the lyrics or have no UK geography. This song is not about a club, its about a pub. Possibly but not definitely the Half Moon in Herne Hill, south London which had a big reputation for jass in the 70s - I used to go there. It's very definitely "way on down south, London town" - and the park "It's raining in" would be Brockwell Park just next door. A lot of the Knopflers' songs have strong south London overtones, including "SIngle Handed Sailor" which refers to the Cutty Sark clipper in Greenwich, and the Gypsy Moth which used to be moored next to it.
  • Slik from Land Of Awesomeness, AustraliaThis song is timeless - An awesome guitar riff combined with an awesome guitar solo attributed to an awesome performer and composer. An inspiration to me forever - amen.
  • Joaquin from San Francisco, Catotally a masterpiece!!!!!!!!!!
  • Sean Doone from Belfast, Irelandi Also Thought He Sounded Like Dylani also think that he wud do a good version of house of the rising sun
  • John from London, United KingdomThe setting is a jazz pub in Greenwich London.
    Meantime, and south of the river are the clues.
    Before they hit the big time , they shared a council flat in Deptford , which is about a mile from Greenwich park .The pub is either the Mitre in Greenwich , or the Prince of Orange in Rotherhithe
    The story goes that close to where they lived in Farrer House on the Crossfield council estate ."Love over gold" was scrawled on a wall.The rest is history.
  • Ian from Paddock Lake, WiI always thought that the lyrics and vocals sounded a bit like Bob Dylan. I love this song.
  • Norman from Oxnard, CaI forgot to mention, I recently heard a version of this song where instead of "platform soles" Knopfler says "best King's Road". Kings road is I believe a well-known street in London with some high-end shops.

    Of further interest is that when Knopfler says "Kings Ro.." he strums the gutar loud at that exact point where the 'O' leaves off, and you can't really tell for sure if he's saying "Row" or "Road". I think this is intentional - "King's Row" is an old movie (starring Ronald Reagan) that depicted the lives of several youths growing up in an idyllic town.
  • Norman from Oxnard, CaHello, I noticed someone below seemed to say that Chet Atkins did not use a pick. I saw him in a YouTube video with Knopler however, and he was using one is the 2-song "medley" where they play "Imagine" and some other song. The show a close-up of Atkins' hand.

    Btw I prefer Lady Writer over too has fantastic guitar work.

    --The Analyzer
  • Arnold from Nashville, TnMark Knopfler is great ! This song is a Masterpiece !
  • Max from Stockholm, Sweden1st verse: As the story goes, Mark was out rainy night. Meanwhile a band was "blowing dixie" somewhere.

    2nd verse: He step into the bar which is almost empty, just to hear a mediocre band playing somewhere "downsouth London town".

    3rd verse: "Guitar George" should be George Borowski or perhaps George Young. He play his rythm stuff just the way it should be and nothing more than that at an old guitar.

    4th verse: Harry in this case, doesn't really care if people think they're good. He just want to play their stuff at Friday nights and don't become famous at all.

    5th verse: A crowd of youngsters "fooling around in the corner" and they don't think that any trumpet-playing band can be rock n' roll.

    6th verse: The story says that the band end up with "Thank you good night! We are the Sultans of swing!".
  • James from Midlands, United Kingdom"The band was playing Dixie double four time,"

    Blowing - screwing it up
    Blowing - playing something quiet very loudly...
  • James from Midlands, United Kingdom"The band was playing Dixie double four time,"

    It's a metaphor guys - In the song it's actually "A band is blowing dixie double four time" In literal terms it means playing something slow really fast. Mark layers this over his observation of the band to say "whatever the're playing - they're getting it really wrong!"
  • Jd from Australia, Australia"Regarding the line, "The band was playing Dixie double four time," Dixie double is a style popularized by Django Reinhradt (and Les Paul in his early years) where the guitar goes quite fast and plays bass as well, all together."

    Duh, Dixieland Jazz is an upbeat style of jazz, and "double-four time" is Mark's genius literary way of saying 4/4 time, the most common time signature. So they are playing Dixieland jazz in 4/4 (four-four), not whatever rubbish you said, yours doesn't even make sense if you read the lyrics your way.
  • Stuart from .you are crazy rob its not on making movies its on their first album called dire straits
  • Liquid Len from Ottawa, CanadaThe only resemblance between this song and Bulbs by Van Morrison is they both do bluesy fingerpicking, and the beat is somewhat similar. There's a bunch of styles and songs in the 70s that bear no more or less resemblance to Sultans, and could all be said to have influenced Sultans, I think you've got Van Morrison on the brain to be honest, Kevin from Ireland.
  • Jens from Westkapelle, BelgiumGuitar George was George Borowski who died recently (2005 I think). Session musician in London. Don't know who "Harry" is though. MK's voice is perfect for what he sings.
    - Bob, Manchester, England

    If it's the George Borowski i think you're talking about (from the Manchester erea), he certainly is not dead :)! I got the opportunity to jam with him @ the Bradford international market (august '06). He is a great musician and he really inspired me, and helped become a better songwriter. I had no idea he was the "guitar george" from "The Sultans of Swing". Cool to know!
  • Bob from Manchester, EnglandGuitar George was George Borowski who died recently (2005 I think). Session musician in London. Don't know who "Harry" is though. MK's voice is perfect for what he sings.
  • Brock from Waco, TxThe "B. Wilson" mentioned below is Bill Wilson, a singer-songwriter from Bloomington, IN. He was signed to Columbia Records for a while, releasing 'Ever Changing Minstrel' in 1973. He had 3 other independent albums during his career, but never really hit the bigtime, despite his songwriting prowess. He passed away from a heart attack in 1993, at age 46.
  • Rob from Raleigh, NcCan someone tell me if Sultans of Swing was on Making Movies album? It's not listed, but I swear I had that on disc as a kid...and that was the ONLY album I owned.

    Am I crazy?
  • Kevin from Dublin, IrelandIt's funny listening to so many people wax poetic about both Sultans of Swing and Knopfler. There's no doubt he's a fine player but he's also a magpie or to put it more politely, he was only VERY HEAVILY influenced by a Van Morrison song when choosing his guitar playing style for SOS. Take a listen to Bulbs on Morrison's 1973 album Veedon Fleece. Mr Knopfler wasn't hit by a rush of brilliant inspiration, more like, 'ehh, I like the sound of that Morrison song, I wonder will anyone notice if I lift it'. As Morrison wrote in one of his songs, 'Copycats ripped off my songs, copycats ripped of my words, copycats ripped off my melodies'... well I'm sure he was tempted to include the line, 'Copycats ripped off my guitar fills'.
  • Mark from Dundee, ScotlandGreat song.

    Dire Straits and Eric Clapton performed a craking 10-minute long version of this at Concert for Mandella in 1988.

    Just search on YouTube for "Sultans of Swing Clapton" (no quotes) and you'll find it.
  • Vincent from Newington, CtKnopfler rules.
  • Patrick from Tallapoosa, GaWhenever I listen to this, I can imagine myself sitting in a smoke-filled bar, where local musicians gather to perform. I can easily see the "young boys in the corner" who "don't give a damn about a trumpet-playing band." I picture it being a short story about a single band called "The Sultans of Swing" performing in a "battle of the bands"-like contest.
  • Paul from Marysville, WaEverything about this song works. I love it from the very first drum hit to the fade out where the hook gets revisited.

    The tempo is brisk but unhurried. And the guitar--- well it's brilliant.

    David Knopler and John Illsley play their parts in a cool work-make like manner, while Mark Knopler bounces his guitar lines off Pick Withers' drums for maximum effect.

    I understand that Mark wrote this tune after seeing an unappreciated swing band at a club. he said they played "Creole Love Song" at his request.

    After the sng was a hit, Mark heard a band butcher this song at a Holiday Inn, and took them aside later and showed them the proper chords.
  • Spencer from Mcbride, Canadaawesome song...knopfler rules...telegraph road and brothers in arms has great solos too
  • Vincent from Newington, CtKnopfler is a fantastic player with great chops and a brilliant observer of human nature. His writing craft is above and beyond many of his comtemporaries. I have witnessed only four performances dating from the early eighties to the last tour, Shangra la.

    In Connecticut there is a comapny,, Kaman ovations, an old friend of mine was working there reparing guitars when Dire Straits stopped by to check the place out. He said,, "They were swinging off the rails,, having a great time,, kids really enjoying themself".. Another friend met Knopfler at a house party in Hartford maybe 25 years ago,, Very polite, quiet,, taking it all in,, observing the people.. A hobby which as turned into a profession.
    My coworker played darts with Knopfler and Issley in a pub in Nothingham.. "Nothing special says Ian", just played and drank some beers.

    His lyrics are thought provoking with a great deal of imagery. A writer who observes from a distance,, takes out a small pad or paper and jots down the events of his environment. A year or so later you may find yourself as a character in one of his songs...

    Europeans always have had a fascination with the cowboy and indian movies, Gary Cooper etc.. "Once upon a time in the west" Knopfler again, (as in Telegraph Row), vividly describes life as it was back in the colonial days. "Mother mary the children you have slaughtered, some of you mothers outa lock up your daughters".. A brillant reference to the view of abortion as it was back then.

    Gambling, much to be said about knopflers songs and how gambling is always in there somewhere. Even on the new CE cover, "All the Roadrunning" his duet album with Emmy Lou Harris,, there is a shot of a casino on it. (One armed bandit fever).

    Knopfler likes the risk taker, the working man who may have a few coins left at the end of the day and may slide those coins down the slot machine in the hopes of winning the jackpot.. Or as least making his money back,, if he loses, oh well,, back to work the next day and try it again.
    Music was never like this before him and will never be the same after him.
  • Scott from Chattanooga, TnTHE pinnacle of solo work! Not to brag, but I CAN play this solo took many hours of determined practice, but I learned it.
    From what I understand, this "solo" was actually the compiliation of several tracks. After recording many runs from start to end, Mr. Knopfler disected each solo, taking exerpts from each he felt good with. Ivan (from Turkey), the ending IS done with the first 3 fingers, and is nothing more than a reverse Banjo finger roll. The few times I have been priveleged enough to play it with a group has been an incredible experience!!!
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScOops. I meant David Gilmour sorry. Anyway they're both great guitarists.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScCool Solo! I think I can hear the David Gillmore influences.
  • Steve from Fenton, MoI always thought the lyric of "Guitar George, he knows all the chords, but he's strictly rhythm,he doesn't want to make it cry or sing" was kind of a reference to George Harrison's While My Guitar Gently Weeps (even though that weeping guitar solo was played by Eric Clapton).
  • Dee from Khancoban, Australiai love rocking out to this song. its mad!
  • Alberto from Carpi, ItalySimply wonderful... I like the rhythm of the song and obviously the great solo. Knopfler kicks ass!
  • Elie from The U.k, Englandthis somg is great especially on the live album alchemi its my favorite along with telegraph road
  • Damian from Melbourne, AustraliaThe live versions of this song are very different and much longer (which Knopfler loves to do whenever the chance comes ie: on "Alchemy" and at "Live Aid"). I think the best performance of this song is either on "Live at the BBC" or "Live Aid".

    Knopfler is the best guitarist to ever set foot on this earth. I went to see him on March 12th, 2005. Bloody hell, he is THE BEST!!
    By the way, Knopfler has never used a pick, for all those people who have commented about this above. He finger picks, and when he recorded "sultans" he finger picked as well. It's part of his tradition and trademark. He only used a pick on "Expresso Love" and "Twisting by the Pool".
    Damo, Melbourne
  • Brian from Corpus Christi, Txyou people are wrong, the rythmn paterns ARE in fact swung, just very lightly
  • James from Westchester, EnglandIt's good guitar, but I think Knopfler's best guitar work is found in the last three minutes of Telegragh Road.

    I too prefer the live versions of this song.
  • Aylin from Montreal, CanadaAwesome, awesome guitar solo.
  • Bill from Moriches, Nythe ending solo has some taste of classical influence in some of thoes chord progressions.
  • Bill from Moriches, NyGreat solo, up there with 'Kid Charlegmane', 'Stairway', 'Freebird', etc
  • Bill from Moriches, NyKnopfler has sited David Gilmour of pink floyd as an inspiration. some of his solo licks could be taken as complete rip offs, althought his solos are different in a sense.
  • Ryan from Lincoln, EnglandThis gets my vote for the best ever Guitar Solo ever written by Mark Knopfler.
  • Jo-c from Lima, PeruI can play the first solo. The second one is too hard!
  • Steve from Raynham, MaYou're right the solo is amazing, did knofler play a tele? because it sure has that tele twang sound.
  • Greatwall from Nanjing, ChinaGreat solo!!!
  • Arun from Hyderabad, Indiathe ending solo was just out of the world,even a layman would find it awesome,i cant imagine how he played it so fast yet so rythamic and more over without a pic,salute the "sultans of swing"
  • Nick from Hartline, WaI love this song, i just played the bass to it the other night in a club in Idaho, the chord progression is crazy, only a band like Dire Straits goes from an A to a Bb, I mean, cmon 145? lol, yeah right, anyway, Dire Straits kicks ass, as well as this song
  • Ben from Perth, CanadaThis I have to say is on of the best guitar Solos I have heard close to Jimmy page's wonders and freebird by lynard skynard. Too bad Knopfler can't sing, if you have heard him live it sounds almost as terrible as listening to most modern day singers. But I can't complain this song was wonderfully written and one of my personal favorite songs
  • Dan from City, Cadefinitely one of the best solos ever recorded... but try freebird by lynyrd skynyrd--nothing can compare to that solo
  • David from Wrtwrtywrty, AustraliaOmg Ivan, i do the same thing :O i find picks difficult. He has played it with Eric Clapton live which sounds amazing.
  • Daryl from Stoke, EnglandYou got it right there Bart! Spot on! This guy is a genius, long live Knopfler!
  • Bart from Enschede, NetherlandsAll the Chords in Sultans of Swing are Dm, C, Bb, A, A7, F and C :). This certainly is neither rock 'n' roll or swing. It's Dire Straits! :), which is why I love it.
    Indeed dthe band described certainly isn't seen as lousy (he can play the honky tonk like anything), but it doesn't refer to Knopfler's own band either.
    I don't see why it would be so amazing to do the solo without pick. Naturally the solo is amazing. But the end part is easier playing it with the three-fingered technique Knopfler always uses. The well-known fast part at the end of the studio version is done using only two: the thumb and the index finger. Tabbing his solos is a lot easier when you know his style. Quite unique!

    But what about brothers in arms? That's a magic number as well. Because of course there are faster guitarists than Mark, but here he shows he's a melodic genious. Or think of the sax theme in 'Your latest Trick' which I personally also love!
  • Ivan from Telki, HungaryDefinitely one of the best guitar solos...
    I also played it (even the last part I could never play exactly like he), Knopfler almost never use any pick, this unique kind of guitar sound can be done only with fingers. But it's a kind of special picking, It was not to easy to learn it, especially because my fingers are shorter. He used his first 3 fingers to pick while the other 2 fixed on the pickboard or the bridge.
  • Sarah from Missoula, MtAmazing.......
  • Andres from Santa Rosa, Caacctually the song was inspired by Knopfler and the band's long clubbing career in England. The Song doesnt make it soung like the band is bad it makes them sound good it is just that the drunk punks "dressed in thier best brown baggies and platform souls" didnt think it was rock.
  • Mike from Clinton, MaBrooks and Dunn used the guitar riff from the chorus and outro of this song (Sultans of Swing) for their Only in America. To my knowledge this has never been brought up and I don't know if permission was used.
  • Geo from Eugene, OrI'm still not tired of this song. Maybe it's cuz my name is George and I play guitar. But I don't know ALL the chords!
  • Julia from London, EnglandAWESOME song, love it, the guitar solo is amazing
  • Nick from Shelton, CtTrey Anestasio from Phish covered this when he went solo, it was an amazing version i saw it live, He added trumpets as kind of joke ("don't give a damb about no trumpet playin band") They played the whole solo on brass it was amazing, and of course they busted out some guitar solo's too, i would love to have a recording of this.
  • Marvin from East Brady, PaKnopfler doesn't use a pick b/c chet atkins didn't. The logic is that your fingers are more versatile than a pick. Anyhow, if you want to hear something amazing, check out knopfler and atkins playing together. It was the great one's twilight years, but he could still do things nobody else ever could do or will do.

    Nat, "Sultans of Swing" might have the best guitar solo ever played or recorded, but it's not the studio version. The live version on their Alchemy album can battle it out w/ the many bootlegged versions for the absolute best. (I'll take the one I heard, from a benefit concert, I belive, featuring Eric Clapton.)
  • Brian from Toronto, CanadaJust simply breathtaking. One of the best guitar solos ever played or recorded. The End is to DIE FOR.
  • Prat from Ooga, OtherI have a few live videos of Knopfler playing , he doesn't use a pick.
  • Chris from Hull, MaAnd it is rumored that Knopfler was not using a guitar pick when it was recorded! Amazing!
  • Brian from Paoli, InGreat song, guitar work in it is AMAZING. It's un-real how he can play that fast, like on the final solo....Un real.
  • Marvin from East Brady, PaDamn, if my job were to play this song in front of millions of people eight hours a day, 5 days a week I would consider myself the luckiest person alive.
  • Nat from Istanbul, United Statesbest guitar solo ever been played or recorded
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Howard Jones

Howard JonesSongwriter Interviews

Howard explains his positive songwriting method and how uplifting songs can carry a deeper message.

Julian Lennon

Julian LennonSongwriter Interviews

Julian tells the stories behind his hits "Valotte" and "Too Late for Goodbyes," and fills us in on his many non-musical pursuits. Also: what MTV meant to his career.

Dean Friedman - "Ariel"

Dean Friedman - "Ariel"They're Playing My Song

Dean's saga began with "Ariel," a song about falling in love with a Jewish girl from New Jersey.

Matt Sorum

Matt SorumSongwriter Interviews

When he joined Guns N' Roses in 1990, Matt helped them craft an orchestral sound; his mezzo fortes and pianissimos are all over "November Rain."

A Monster Ate My Red Two: Sesame Street's Greatest Song Spoofs

A Monster Ate My Red Two: Sesame Street's Greatest Song SpoofsSong Writing

When singers started spoofing their own songs on Sesame Street, the results were both educational and hilarious - here are the best of them.

Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & PalmerSongwriter Interviews

Greg talks about writing songs of "universal truth" for King Crimson and ELP, and tells us about his most memorable stage moment (it involves fireworks).