My Life in Dire Straits: The Inside Story of One of the Biggest Bands in Rock History

My Life in Dire Straits: The Inside Story of One of the Biggest Bands in Rock History

My Life in Dire Straits: The Inside Story of One of the Biggest Bands in Rock History

My Life in Dire Straits: The Inside Story of One of the Biggest Bands in Rock History


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The first, and only, inside story of one of the greatest bands in rock history—Dire Straits—as told by founding member and bassist John Illsley

One of the most successful music acts of all time, Dire Straits filled stadiums around the world. Their albums sold hundreds of millions of copies and their music—classics like “Sultans of Swing,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Money for Nothing,” and “Brothers in Arms”—is still played on every continent today. There was, quite simply, no bigger band on the planet throughout the eighties.

In this powerful and entertaining memoir, founding member John Illsley gives the inside track on the most successful rock band of their time. From playing gigs in the spit-and-sawdust pubs of south London, to hanging out with Bob Dylan in LA, Illsley tells the story of the band with searching honesty, soulful reflection, and wry humor. Starting with his own unlikely beginnings in Middle England, he recounts the band’s rise from humble origins to the best-known venues in the world, the working man’s clubs to Madison Square Garden, sharing gigs with wild punk bands to rocking the Live Aid stage at Wembley. And woven throughout is an intimate portrait and tribute to his great friend Mark Knopfler, the band's lead singer, songwriter, and remarkable guitarist.

Tracing an idea that created a phenomenal musical legacy, an extraordinary journey of joy and pain, companionship and surprises, this is John Illsley’s life in Dire Straits.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781635769159
Publisher: Diversion Books
Publication date: 11/09/2021
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 287,387
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

John Illsley rose to fame as the bass guitarist of the critically acclaimed band Dire Straits. With Dire Straits, John has been the recipient of multiple Grammy Awards and a Heritage Award. As one of the founding members (with Mark Knopfler, his brother David and drummer Pick Withers) John played a major role in the development of the Dire Straits sound. When Dire Straits finished touring in 1993, John became involved in the art world. Having carved a reputation for himself as a painter, John had solo exhibitions in London, New York, Sydney, and across Europe. He also cofounded the children's charity Life Education in 1987, which was recently integrated into Coram, one of the oldest UK charities. John also owns a pub, the

East End Arms in the New Forest.

Table of Contents

Foreword Mark Knopfler vii

1 The Heart of It 1

2 Night Flight to Luxembourg 13

3 Banjos, Beatings, and Bass 22

4 Girls and Gigs 35

5 Timber and Tenements 44

6 Mr. Knopfler, I Presume? 54

7 Punks on the Lawn 63

8 Five Hundred Pounds 77

9 Panic in the Shower 84

10 Off with the Heads 95

11 Wolverhampton Woe to Marquee Magic 106

12 Sessions in the Sun 120

13 Into the Blizzard 133

14 The Night at the Roxy 143

15 Into the Arena 151

16 Grim Fairy Tale of New York 161

17 The Big Wheel Keeps on Turning 172

18 Electric Power 188

19 Brothers and Souls 205

20 Jerusalem Syndrome 220

21 Live Aid Union 231

22 New Worlds 241

23 What Now? 249

24 Here We Go Again 261

25 When the Music Stops 270

Acknowledgments 279

Picture Acknowledgments 281

Index 283

About the Author 291

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