Mark Freuder Knopfler OBE (born 12 August 1949) is a British singer-songwriter, guitarist, and record producer. He became known as the lead guitarist, singer and songwriter of the rock band Dire Straits. He pursued a solo career after the band first dissolved in 1988. Dire Straits reunited in 1990, but dissolved again in 1995. He is now an independent solo artist.
Knopfler was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and raised in Blyth, near Newcastle in England, from the age of seven. After graduating from the University of Leeds and working for three years as a college lecturer, Knopfler co-founded Dire Straits with his younger brother, David Knopfler. The band recorded six albums, including Brothers in Arms (1985), one of the best-selling albums in history. After they disbanded in 1995, Knopfler began a solo career, and has produced nine solo albums. He has composed and produced film scores for nine films, including Local Hero (1983), Cal (1984), The Princess Bride (1987), Wag the Dog (1997) and Altamira (2016). He has produced albums for Tina Turner, Bob Dylan, and Randy Newman.
Described by Classic Rock as a virtuoso, Knopfler is a fingerstyle guitarist and was ranked 27th on Rolling Stone’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”. As of 2009, he and Dire Straits had sold more than 120 million records. A four-time Grammy Award winner, Knopfler is the recipient of the Edison Award, the Steiger Award and the Ivor Novello Award, as well as holding three honorary doctorate degrees in music from universities in the United Kingdom. Knopfler was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Dire Straits in 2018.
Golden Heart is the debut solo studio album by British singer-songwriter and guitarist Mark Knopfler, released on 26 March 1996 by Vertigo Records internationally and Warner Bros. Records in the United States. Following a successful career leading British rock band Dire Straits and composing a string of critically acclaimed film soundtrack albums, Knopfler recorded his first solo album, drawing upon the various musical influences he’d engaged since emerging as a major recording artist in 1978. The album reached the top-10 position on charts in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The album peaked at 105 on the Billboard 200 in the United States.
Following the release of Dire Straits’ final studio album, On Every Street, and a grueling 15-month world tour of Europe, North America and Australia—a tour seen by 7.1 million people that ended in October 1992—Knopfler quietly dissolved the popular British rock band that had become one of the world’s most commercially successful bands, with worldwide album sales of more than 120 million. He would later recall, “I put the thing to bed because I wanted to get back to some kind of reality. It’s self-protection, a survival thing. That kind of scale is dehumanizing.” He spent two years recovering from the experience, which had taken a toll on his creative and personal lives. In 1994, he began work on what would become his first solo album. (wikipedia)
Mark Knopfler’s debut non-soundtrack solo album, Golden Heart, was, in effect, the follow-up to the last Dire Straits studio album, On Every Street (1991). But it was also a compendium of the various musical endeavors in which Knopfler had engaged since emerging as a major figure in 1978. “Imelda” was cast in the mold of “Money for Nothing,” with its trademark electric guitar riff and sardonic lyrics about Imelda Marcos, and other songs resembled Dire Straits songs, notably “Cannibals,” which recalled “Walk of Life.” But “A Night in Summer Long Ago” was presented in a Scots/Irish traditional folk style, complete with a lyric about a knight and a queen and would have fit nicely on Knopfler’s soundtrack for The Princess Bride, and “Are We in Trouble Now” was a country ballad featuring pedal steel guitar and the piano playing of Nashville session ace Hargus “Pig” Robbins that would have been appropriate for Knopfler’s duo album with Chet Atkins.
For all that, there was little on the album that was new or striking, and Knopfler seemed to fall back on familiar guitar techniques while intoning often obscure lyrics. You get the feeling that there was a story behind each song, but except in the cases of “Rudiger,” a character study of an autograph hunter, and “Done with Bonaparte,” the lament of a 19th century French soldier on the retreat from Moscow, you might have to read Knopfler’s interviews to find out what the songs were actually about. Knopfler hadn’t used the opportunity of a solo album to challenge himself, and at the same time he had lost the group identity (however illusory) provided by the Dire Straits name. The result was listenable but secondhand. (by William Ruhlmann)
When I ask others if they know Mark Knopfler (founder, lead singer, and main composer for the group Dire Straits), and get a negative response, my heart feels a little dejected…. and, then I feel immense sympathy for them. The media falls all over Clapton (still haven’t figured that out….I suspect deep-seated nepotism), whilst this gifted musician is roundly ignored. Yet, Knopfler’s compositions demonstrate authentic genius at play; his guitar playing and singing are closely married and are both heavily nuanced, smoky, mellow, articulate (his composition style is in fact a new language introduced to the human race).
Not a bad track here. This collection is amazingly varied and each track refreshingly timeless. This music simply cannot be ushered into a niche, or conveniently shown a pigeon-hole; because, simply put, it is the magnificent expression of one man’s soul.
How can one assemble 14 tracks without a dog or two in attendance -when some are only able to provide a memorable tune or two in the midst of a kennel of woofers? [Keep in mind, this is not a “Best of” compilation – but, a release of newly original music.] Genius can be the only answer. Knopfler tells stories about people and places as an intimate, sensual experience. His melodies, once heard, will haunt the psyche (sometimes out of the clear blue….love that). Few musicians have the ability, with their story-telling finesse, to make me smile, bring tears, and an occasional chill in quite the same way. (Tim Faulkner)
Eddie Bayers (drums on 01., 05., 09., 10. – 12., 14.)
Barry Beckett (piano on 09. + 12.)
Derek Bell (irish harp on 01.)
Richard Bennett (guitar, tiplé on 10.)
Paul Brady (whistle on 01.,076. + 13.)
Robbie Casserly (drums on 13.)
Steve Conn (accordion on 10.)
Chad Cromwell (drums on 02. – 04., 06. + 08.)
Danny Cummings (percussion, background vocals)
Bill Cuomo (organ on 06.)
Michael Doucet (fiddle on 10.)
Guy Fletcher (keyboards on 03., 04., 08. + 12., background vocals)
Paul Franklin (pedal steel-guitar on 01., 09., 11., 12. + 14.)
Seán Keane (violin on 01., 07. + 13.)
Mark Knopfler (guitar, vocals)
Sonny Landreth (national steel guitar , background vocals on 10.)
Dónal Lunny (bouzouki on 01., 07, + 13.)
Terry McMillan (djembe on 05.)
Paul Moore (bass on 07. + 13.)
Steve Nathan (keyboards)
Liam O’Flynn (uilleann pipes on 07. + 13.)
Máirtín O’Connor (accordion on 01., 07. + 13.)
Hargus “Pig” Robbins (piano on 14.)
Don Potter (guitar on 14.)
Michael Rhodes (bass on 01., 05., 09 ´. – 12. + 14.)
Matt Rollings (piano on 01., 05. + 11.)
Jo-El Sonnier (accordion on 08.)
Billy Ware (triangle on 10.)
Glenn Worf (bass on 02., 03, 04., 06. + 08.)
Brendan Croker – Vince Gill
01. Darling Pretty 4.31
02. Imelda 5.26
03. Golden Heart 5.01
04. No Can Do 4.54
05. Vic And Ray 4.36
06. Don’t You Get It? 5.16
07. A Night In Summer Long Ago 4.43
08. Cannibals 3.41
09. I’m The Fool 4.28
10. Je Suis Désolé 5.14
11. Rüdiger 6.03
12. Nobody’s Got The Gun 5.25
13. Done With Bonaparte 5.06
14. Are We In Trouble Now 5.54
All songs are written by Mark Knopfler