David Knopfler

David Knopfler (born 27 December 1952) is a British singer-songwriter. He was born in Scotland and raised in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, from the age of two. Together with his older brother Mark Knopfler, John Illsley, and Pick Withers, he founded the rock band Dire Straits in 1977, serving as rhythm guitarist on their first two albums. After quitting the band, Knopfler embarked upon a solo career as a recording artist. Knopfler initially created smaller record labels, publishing companies, and indie labels.

David Knopfler
Knopfler performing at Blacksheep Festival 2017
Knopfler performing at Blacksheep Festival 2017
Background information
Born (1952-12-27) 27 December 1952 (age 70)
Glasgow, Scotland
OriginNewcastle-upon-Tyne, England
Occupation(s)Multi-instrumentalist, poet, record producer, singer-songwriter
Instrument(s)Guitar, vocals
Years active1977–present
LabelsPhonogram, Cypress, Peach River, Ariola

Early lifeEdit

Knopfler was born in Glasgow, Scotland, to an English mother, Louisa Mary (née Laidler), a teacher, and a Hungarian Jewish father, Erwin Knopfler, an architect.[1][2] When Knopfler was four, his family moved to Newcastle upon Tyne, England, where he grew up and later attended Gosforth Grammar School. By the age of 11, Knopfler owned a guitar, a piano and a drum kit, and by 14 he was playing and singing his own compositions in folk clubs.[3] After attending Bristol Polytechnic, Knopfler became a social worker in London.[4]


Dire StraitsEdit

Knopfler introduced his older brother, guitarist Mark Knopfler, to his bassist flatmate John Illsley. After gaining the interest of drummer Pick Withers, the four founded the rock band Dire Straits.[4] One of Mark's friends came up with the band's name, which was supposedly a reference to their financial situation at the time the band was beginning to gain notice in the music industry. David however, asserts on his website that "[the] notion that the band were literally in dire straits is largely retrospective myth making and not really factually supportable. We all had day jobs until we got a whacking big advance from Polygram."[5]

Knopfler played rhythm guitar beside his brother, who was lead guitarist in the band. He appeared on Dire Straits' first two albums: Dire Straits (1978) and Communiqué (1979). The stress of composing, arranging songs, recording the then-requisite two albums and tours to support them took its toll on the brothers, and David left the band during the recording of their third album, Making Movies (1980), leaving him uncredited on the album.[4]


After leaving Dire Straits, Knopfler released his first solo album in 1983, Release. Mark Knopfler and John Illsley both played on the album.[4] Harry Bogdanovs, a lifelong friend of Knopfler,[3] is credited with having co-written three of the tracks and playing synthesiser.[6] The album was supported by the single "Soul Kissing" on the label of Peach River Records. The single peaked at No. 82 in the UK Albums Chart,[7] after Knopfler retrieved the rights from the bankrupt record label.[8]

Behind the Lines, his second album, was released in 1985 and his third solo album, Cut the Wire, followed in 1986.[4] In 1988, the U.S. label Cypress Records released his fourth album, Lips Against the Steel.[9]

Knopfler scored the soundtracks for the films Shergar (1984) and Laser Mission (1989),[4] and the German productions Treffer (1984), Jakob hinter der blauen Tür (1989) and The Great Bellheim.[10]

Lifelines in 1991 released by Phonogram, was recorded in Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios. That album was followed in 1993 by The Giver,[4] released by MESA/Bluemoon in the U.S., and Ariola in Europe. Its sparse, acoustic arrangements received positive reviews, as did 1995's Small Mercies, which Knopfler co-produced with Harry Bogdanovs,[4] featuring Chris White on saxophone.[11] In 2001, Knopfler worked with Bogdanovs again to co-produce the album Wishbones, which has guest appearances by Chris Rea[4] and Eddi Reader. His ninth solo album, Ship of Dreams, which featured Chris Rea as guest guitarist, was released in 2004.

In May 2005, Knopfler published a book of poetry, Blood Stones and Rhythmic Beasts,[4] which was released by the UK's BlackWing books (ISBN 0955026008).

The Canadian jazz label Justin Time Records released Ship of Dreams in October 2005 with an alternate rendition of "Tears Fall" featuring Megan Slankard (replacing Julia Neigel on the original European release).[10] Knopfler's tenth solo album Songs for the Siren was released in 2006.[4] Recent songwriting projects with other artists have included sessions with Amilia Spicer, Mack Starks, Megan Slankard and Wendy Lands.[12]

He played various acoustic and electric gigs in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Canada, Turkey and Australia from 2007 to 2009 with Harry Bogdanovs and his band.[citation needed] A new double CD Acoustic, which contains unplugged renditions of new and old songs was released in 2011.

Knopfler continued to tour in Spain, Germany, the UK, the United States and Canada in 2012 to 2015. The first-ever limited edition live album, Made in Germany (recorded in Erfurt, Germany during the 2012 tour with Bogdanovs), was released in April 2013 exclusively via CDBaby.com.

The album Last Train Leaving was released in 2020. Another album, Songs of Loss and Love, was released in December 2020.

Discography with Dire StraitsEdit

Solo discographyEdit

  • 1983 – Release
  • 1985 – Behind the Lines
  • 1986 – Cut the Wire
  • 1988 – Lips Against the Steel
  • 1991 – Lifelines
  • 1993 – The Giver
  • 1995 – Small Mercies
  • 2001 – Wishbones
  • 2004 – Ship of Dreams
  • 2006 – Songs for the Siren
  • 2009 – Anthology: 1983–2008
  • 2011 – Acoustic (with Harry Bogdanovs)
  • 2013 – Made in Germany (Live in Erfurt) (with Harry Bogdanovs)
  • 2015 – Grace
  • 2016 – Anthology Vol. 2 & 3
  • 2019 – Heartlands
  • 2020 – Last Train Leaving
  • 2020 – Songs of Loss and Love[13]
  • 2021 – Anthology Volume Four
  • 2021 – Shooting For The Moon
  • 2022 – Skating On The Lake

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Brothers of Scottish Rock and Pop (mostly) – Fun Facts, Questions, Answers, Information". Funtrivia.com. Archived from the original on 3 October 2012. Retrieved 6 November 2011.
  2. ^ http://www.encyclopedia.com/article-1G2-3414800180/knopfler-mark-freuder-1949.html[bare URL]
  3. ^ a b "David Knopfler Biography". Knopfler's official website. April 2005. Archived from the original on 7 January 2009. Retrieved 9 January 2009.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Christian Genzel (April 2005). "David Knopfler Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 9 January 2009.
  5. ^ "Wikiphobia". Knopfler's official website. Archived from the original on 14 March 2009. Retrieved 9 January 2009.
  6. ^ "Harry Bogdanovs – Credits". Allmusic. Retrieved 10 January 2009.
  7. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 306. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  8. ^ "NME Artists – YouTube videos, gigs, biography, discography, and books". New Musical Express. Archived from the original on 15 March 2009. Retrieved 10 January 2009.
  9. ^ "Lips Against the Steel – Overview". Allmusic. Retrieved 10 January 2009.
  10. ^ a b "David Knopfler Discography". Discogs website. Retrieved 10 January 2009.
  11. ^ "Some pieces of Chris White's musical biography..." Chris White Unofficial Home Page – by Slavi. Retrieved 10 January 2009.[dead link]
  12. ^ Nigel Lawry. "Songstuff: David Knopfler". Interview with David Knopfler. Archived from the original on 27 December 2008. Retrieved 10 January 2009.
  13. ^ "David Knopfler | Album Discography". AllMusic.

External linksEdit