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Sultans of Swing: The Very Best of Dire Straits

4.3 out of 5 stars 266 customer reviews

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Product Description

Knopfler & Co. have never sounded so good-this 20-bit remastered 16-track anthology features the breakthrough-hit title track; their 1985 #1 smash, Money for Nothing , plus So Far Away; Walk of Life; Love over Gold (live); Twisting by the Pool; Romeo and Juliet; Lady Writer; Wild Theme-Theme from Local Hero , and more by one of rock's great guitar bands.

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This compilation repeats seven tracks from 1988's Money For Nothing anthology. Given that Mark Knopfler and crew have recorded one new album during the decade between best-of collections, how different could Sultans of Swing be? For one thing, CD dominance has made for longer compilations, and this one is fleshed out by singles, three tracks from 1991's On Every Street, and Knopfler's solo "Local Hero" theme, performed live. More importantly, the second track here is the band's terrific second single, "Lady Writer," previously only available on the otherwise dismal Communiqué LP. Five tracks from Dire Straits' huge Brothers in Arms LP appear here, but only two tracks surface from Making Movies, the group's pinnacle achievement. Ultimately, if you own Making Movies and this compilation, you own the essential Dire Straits. --Bill Holdship
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 27, 1998)
  • Original Release Date: October 27, 1998
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Bros.
  • ASIN: B00000DGUY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (266 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,489 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert I. Hedges HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on September 5, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I count myself among the biggest of fans of Dire Straits and Mark Knopfler and consider him to be the greatest guitarist of all time (certainly the greatest non-classical guitarist) so on that alone I gave this CD a 5 star score.
I would just mention one potential drawback, that being the editing. Several of the songs, for instance "Money For Nothing", are in their 'single' form, which is to sat edited for time to fit into an FM radio broadcast, therefore, if you really want the whole song you need to buy the original CD. So this is a plug to buy the whole collection. More expensive, surely, but totally worth it.
I am a bit unsure who picked the songs for this CD, but the mix is a bit tilted to newer stuff. I think it might have been improved if a couple of tracks ("Heavy Fuel" comes to mind) had been left out and the unedited versions had been put on the CD.
Of course, this is all quibbling. I still recommend the CD, the sound quality is superb and the mix of old and new makes it an interesting career retrospective (to date). I have seen Dire Straits and Mark in concert several times and "Local Hero/Wild Theme" live at the close of the CD still gives me goosebumps when I hear it.
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I was lucky enough to be living in England just outside London in a little town called West Ruislip just down the cobbled streets from the "T" station near the famous "Orchards" pub when Dire Straits released their "Love Over Gold" album in 1982, and the young English couple living in the flat upstairs played it over and over, introducing me both to their good taste in music and the terrific group called "Dire Straits" in the process. Of course, as I think back upon it, I was familiar with their hit "Sultans Of Swing", but never really paid much attention until hearing this terrific album and Mark Knopfler's unbelievably stirring, crisp and innovative guitar solos. Soon I was down at the music shoppe buying all their other albums. By that time I was familiar with their unique and unforgettable sound and also their very introspective lyrics. I came to love all their albums as much as "Love Over Gold", and I was pleased when they recently released this anthology of many of their hits, even including a theme from Knopfler's "Local Hero" movie score.
I really like all the cuts here, from "Sultans Of Swing' to "Romeo And Juliet" to "Lady Writer". In each, Knopfler's distinctive twanging guitar sound echoes in my house till all hours of the morning, along with "Private Investigations, " Tunnel Of Love", and "So Far Away". My own personal favorites here are the live version of "Love Over Gold" and "Money For Nothing". In the time since the band was actively recording in the mid 1980s, Knopfler has become a kind of institutionalized artistic force everywhere one looked, writing soundtrack music for (among other films) "Local Hero" and "Cal", performing both alone and with Dire Straits, and collaborating with other artists, as well.
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Format: Audio CD
While this was as good a compilation of Dire Straits as you could find for a time, the recent "Private Investigations: The Best of Dire Straits & Mark Knopfler" ups the ante for two reasons. First and foremost, on that 2-disc collection, the Dire Straits songs are included in their full length versions (edited versions are here for "Money For Nothing" in particular), and the live cuts - especially "Love Over Gold" - are replaced with studio versions. Since Dire Straits were always a product of studio perfections and the belief that great things last longer than 4 minutes, losing almost half of "Money For Nothing" just isn't acceptable.

Secondly, the "Private Investigations" set has its second disc devoted to the best of Mark Knopfler's solo career. Since that was madly uneven, it beats his spotty solo albums. Here, "Local Hero" is the only solo track, and again in a live version.

While I have long been a fan of Dire Straits ("Love Over Gold" and "Brothers In Arms" were the two CD's I often used to show off - gawd I'm Getting Old - the brand new CD player and its spanking new technology), "Sultans Of Swing - The Very Best Of" under represents the band. On the other hand, "Private Investigations" leaves off "Heavy Fuel" and the goofy "Twisting By The Pool." That was the first time Knopfler showed off his sense of humor prior to (the also missing) "Industrial Disease." ("Private Investiagtions" also completely ignores the "Communique" album).

I have a few personal favorites here. The shock of hearing "Sultans Of Swing" during the period of all things Clash or Sex Pistols has never worn off.
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Format: Audio CD
I was pleased with this collection, until I realized that the entire second verse of "Money For Nothing" had been edited out. I assume that this was done so as not to offend sensitive ears with a derogatory term for male homosexuals, which was used as a shorthand device to make no doubt of the ignorance of the song's narrator. And Knopfler has always maintained that the song came from an actual conversation that he overheard. Too bad that irony is lost on the do-gooders, and that they have taken a song that makes a blistering point and have removed much of its power. A complete disgrace. Politically correct morons, 1, Rock and Roll, 0. I sure hope these people never listen to "Rednecks" by Randy Newman.
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