MUSIC

Brothers In Arms Dire Straits Album Cover

Brothers In Arms

Released: Vertigo/Warner Bros. (1985)

Album Credits

Mark Knopfler: guitars and vocals
Allan Clark: keyboards
Guy Fletcher: keyboards and vocals
John Illsley: bass and vocals
Omar Hakim/Terry Williams: drums

Produced by Mark Knopfler and Neil Dorfsman
Engineered by Neil Dorfsman, assisted by Steve Jackson, Air Montserrat and Bruce Lampcov/David Greenberg, Power Station
Recorded at Air Studios, Montserrat, W.I.
Mixed at Power Station, New York
Mastered by Bob Ludwig at Masterdisk, New York

Songs written by Mark Knopfler, except 'Money For Nothing' written by Mark Knopfler/Sting
Published by Chariscourt Ltd/Rondor Music (London) Ltd., except 'Money For Nothing' published by Chariscourt Ltd/Rondor Music (London) Ltd./Virgin Music (Publishers) Ltd.

Original Design by Sutton Cooper and Andrew Prewett
Photography by Deborah Feingold
Painting by Thomas Steyer
Design for reissued package by Mystery.co.uk

Sting appears courtesy of Universal Records

Brothers In Arms - An Appreciation

Looked at now with 20/20 vision of hindsight, the image on the sleeve of Brothers In Arms seems uncannily prophetic: that National steel guitar heading up into the clouds - a shiny 6 stringed rocket devoid of any obvious means of propulsion - describes, better than any words can, what happened to Dire Straits after the release of their 5th studio album. Up till the summer of 1985 success had, for them, come as a by-product of the music making process. They had never courted celebrity, chased fads or played safe. Dire Straits had been loved and respected as one of the few bands to have maintained strong and credible links with the multifarious roots of rock and roll at time - remember all the desperate pop posing of the early 80's? - when roots were emphatically not a fashionable place to be.

At first hearing, Brothers In Arms didn't sound like an album which was going to storm the barricades of global popular taste, much less one which would establish itself as the UK's biggest selling album of all time. And there lay the surprising beauty of it. Where others shouted this album talked. Having little in the way of front, it offered instead a world of interiors. It opened not with a bang but with a gently ticking hi-hat and it faded away, 9 tracks later, on a defiantly untriumphant wash of moody keyboards and achy, echoey guitar. Many of the songs in between were quiet, reflective, sombre even: the soldierly themes contained in the title track, or "The Man's Too Strong" or again in "Ride Across The River" were tinged with regret and remorse. The love songs were apt to begin and end in disappointment, with Mark Knopfler grumbling down the phone in a lonely hotel room or disconsolately reviewing a late night encounter with someone he hardly met. Like the sleeve again, the album was predominantly blue in tone.

Life being what it is, Brothers In Arms soon became celebrated for its lighter moments, notably the big hits "Money For Nothing" and "Walk Of Life". Both of these tracks have intriguing behind-the-scenes tales to tell. Knopfler's ode to blue collar dreams, "Money for Nothing", eventually ended up with Sting singing the catchy "I want my MTV" refrain. The then lead singer of The Police happened to be on holiday nearby and received an invitation to contribute, which he did to great effect. "Walk Of Life" nearly didn't make it as an album track at all but co-producer Neil Dorfsman was out-voted by the band, thereby ensuring that an album etched with several varieties of sadness also contained one of the most uplifting tunes Knopfler has ever written. Now wonder the world found, and continues to find this such an irresistible package.

- Robert Sandell (from the liner notes for the 20th anniversary edition of Brothers In Arms)

The fifth studio album for Dire Straits, Brothers in Arms has a decorated history. It is the seventh best-selling album in UK charts history and won two Grammy Awards in 1985: Best Rock Performance by a Group with Vocal for 'Money for Nothing' and Best Engineered Recording, Non Classical for the full album. Sting also appears on the record as a guest artist.

Brothers In Arms

  • 1. So Far Away
    Here I am again in this mean old town
    And you’re so far away from me
    And where are you when the sun goes down
    You’re so far away from me

    So far away from me
    So far I just can’t see
    So far away from me
    You’re so far away from me

    I’m tired of being in love and being all alone
    When you’re so far away from me
    I’m tired of making out on the telephone
    And you’re so far away from me

    So far away from me
    So far I just can’t see
    So far away from me
    You’re so far away from me

    I get so tired when I have to explain
    When you’re so far away from me
    See you been in the sun and I’ve been in the rain
    And you’re so far away from me

    So far away from me
    So far I just can’t see
    So far away from me
    You’re so far away from me
  • 2. Money For Nothing
    Now look at them yo-yo’s that’s the way you do it
    You play the guitar on the MTV
    That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
    Money for nothin’ and chicks for free

    Now that ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
    Lemme tell ya them guys ain’t dumb
    Maybe get a blister on your little finger
    Maybe get a blister on your thumb

    We gotta install microwave ovens
    Custom kitchen deliveries
    We gotta move these refrigerators
    We gotta move these colour TV’s

    See the little faggot with the earring and the makeup
    Yeah buddy that’s his own hair
    That little faggot got his own jet airplane
    That little faggot he’s a millionaire

    We gotta install microwave ovens
    Custom kitchens deliveries
    We gotta move these refrigerators
    We gotta move these colour TV’s

    I shoulda learned to play the guitar
    I shoulda learned to play them drums
    Look at that mama, she got it stickin’ in the camera
    Man we could have some fun

    And he’s up there, what’s that? Hawaiian noises?
    Bangin’ on the bongoes like a chimpanzee
    That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
    Get your money for nothin’ get your chicks for free

    We gotta install microwave ovens
    Custom kitchen deliveries
    We gotta move these refrigerators
    We gotta move these colour TV’s

    Lord, now that ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
    You play the guitar on the MTV
    That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
    Money for nothin’ and your chicks for free

    Money for nothin’ and chicks for free

    ADDITIONAL MUSICIANS
    Sting: vocals
  • 3. Walk Of Life
    Here comes Johnny singing oldies, goldies
    Be-Bop-A-Lula, Baby What I Say
    Here comes Johnny singing I Gotta Woman
    Down in the tunnels, trying to make it pay

    He got the action, he got the motion
    Yeah, the boy can play
    Dedication devotion
    Turning all the night time into the day

    He do the song about the sweet lovin’ woman
    He do the song about the knife
    He do the walk, he do the walk of life

    Here comes Johnny and he’ll tell you the story
    Hand me down my walkin’ shoes
    Here come Johnny with the power and the glory
    Backbeat the talkin’ blues

    He got the action, he got the motion
    Yeah, the boy can play
    Dedication devotion
    Turning all the night time into the day

    He do the song about the sweet lovin’ woman
    He do the song about the knife
    He do the walk, he do the walk of life

    Here comes Johnny singing oldies, goldies
    Be-Bop-A-Lula, Baby What I Say
    Here comes Johnny singing I Gotta Woman
    Down in the tunnels, trying to make it pay

    He got the action, he got the motion
    Yeah the boy can play
    Dedication devotion
    Turning all the night time into the day

    And after all the violence and double talk
    There’s just a song in all the trouble and the strife
    You do the walk, you do the walk of life
  • 4. Your Latest Trick
    All the late night bargains have been struck
    Between the satin beaus and their belles
    And prehistoric garbage trucks
    Have the city to themselves
    Echoes roars dinosaurs
    They’re all doing the monster mash
    And most of the taxis and the whores
    Are only taking calls for cash

    I don’t know how it happened
    It all took place so quick
    But all I can do is hand it to you
    And your latest trick

    My door was standing open
    Security was laid back and lax
    But it was only my heart got broken
    You must have had a pass key made out of wax
    You played robbery with insolence
    And I played the blues in twelve bars down Lover’s Lane
    And you never did have the intelligence to use
    The twelve keys hanging off my chain

    I don’t know how it happened
    It all took place so quick
    But all I can do is hand it to you
    And your latest trick

    Now it’s past last call for alcohol
    Past recall has been here and gone
    The landlord finally paid us all
    The satin jazzmen have put away their horns
    And we’re standing outside of this wonderland
    Looking so bereaved and so bereft
    Like a Bowery bum when he finally understands
    The bottle’s empty and there’s nothing left

    I don’t know how it happened
    It was faster than the eye could flick
    But now all I can do is hand it to you
    And your latest trick
  • 5. Why Worry
    Baby I see this world has made you sad
    Some people can be bad
    The things they do, the things they say
    But baby I’ll wipe away those bitter tears
    I’ll chase away those restless fears
    That turn your blue skies into grey

    Why worry, there should be laughter after pain
    There should be sunshine after rain
    These things have always been the same
    So why worry now
    Baby when I get down I turn to you
    And you make sense of what I do

    I know it isn’t hard to say
    But baby just when this world seems mean and cold
    Our love comes shining red and gold
    And all the rest is by the way
    Why worry, there should be laughter after pain
    There should be sunshine after rain
    These things have always been the same

    So why worry now
  • 6. Ride Across The River
    I’m a soldier of freedom in the army of man
    We are the chosen, we’re the partisan
    The cause it is noble and the cause it is just
    We are ready to pay with our lives if we must

    Gonna ride across the river deep and wide
    Ride across the river to the other side
    I’m a soldier of fortune, I’m a dog of war
    And we don’t give a damn who the killing is for

    It’s the same old story with a different name
    Death or glory, it’s the killing game
    Gonna ride across the river deep and wide
    Ride across the river to the other side

    Nothing gonna stop them as the day follows the night
    Right becomes wrong, the left becomes the right
    And they sing as they march with their flags unfurled
    Today in the mountains, tomorrow the world

    Gonna ride across the river deep and wide
    Ride across the river to the other side
  • 7. The Man’s Too Strong
    I’m just an ageing drummer boy
    And in the wars I used to play
    And I’ve called the tune
    To many a torture session
    Now they say I am a war criminal
    And I’m fading away

    Father please hear my confession
    I have legalised robbery
    Called it a belief I have run with the money
    And hid like a thief
    I have re-written history
    With my armies and my crooks
    Invented memories
    I did burn all the books
    And I can still hear his laughter
    And I can still hear his song
    The man’s too big
    The man’s too strong

    Well I have tried to be meek
    And I have tried to be mild
    But I spat like a woman
    And sulked like a child
    I have lived behind walls
    That have made me alone
    Striven for peace
    Which I have never known
    And I can still hear his laughter
    And I can still hear his song
    The man’s too big
    The man’s too strong

    Well the sun rose on the courtyard
    And they all did hear him say
    ‘You always were a Judas
    But I got you anyway
    You may have got your silver
    But I swear upon my life
    Your sister gave me diamonds
    And I gave them to your wife’
    Oh Father please help me
    For I have done wrong
    The man’s too big
    The man’s too strong
  • 8. One World
    Can’t find no sleeves for my records
    Can’t get no laces for my shoes
    Can’t get no fancy notes
    On my blue guitar
    Can’t get no antidote for blues

    Can’t find the reasons for your actions
    Or I don’t much like the reasoning you use
    Somehow your motives are impure
    Or somehow I can’t find the cure
    Can’t find no antidote for blues

    They say it’s mostly vanity
    That writes the plays we act
    They tell me that’s what everybody knows
    There’s no such thing as sanity
    And that’s the sanest fact

    That’s the way the story goes
    Can’t get no remedy on my TV
    There’s nothing but the same old news
    They can’t find a way to be
    One world in harmony
    Can’t get no antidote for blues
  • 9. Brothers In Arms
    These mist covered mountains
    Are a home now for me
    But my home is the lowlands
    And always will be

    Some day you’ll return to
    Your valleys and your farms
    And you’ll no longer burn
    To be brothers in arms

    Through these fields of destruction
    Baptisms of fire
    I’ve watched all your suffering
    As the battles raged higher

    And though they did hurt me so bad
    In the fear and alarm
    You did not desert me
    My brothers in arms

    There’s so many different worlds
    So many different suns
    And we have just one world
    But we live in different ones

    Now the sun’s gone to hell
    And the moon’s riding high
    Let me bid you farewell
    Every man has to die

    But it’s written in the starlight
    And every line on your palm
    We’re fools to make war
    On our brothers in arms