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Chart Chat Classic Album Review : Dire Straits – ‘Brothers In Arms’ 13.05.85

Chart Chat Classic Album Review : Dire Straits – ‘Brothers In Arms’ (13.05.85)

With the recent success of The Straits UK tour and the return to the UK charts of ‘Brothers In Arms’ it seemed a good time to look back at one of the biggest selling albums of all time as it reaches a new generation of listeners.


The album followed on from their double live album ‘Alchemy’ and was released in May 1985.  The LP ran eight minutes shorter than the cassette / CD due to the limitations of the format with reduced versions of ‘So Far Away’, ‘Money For Nothing’, ‘Your Latest Trick’ and ‘Why Worry’ featuring on side one while the other tracks remained the same.

The band had carved a reputation for longer tracks with the full length versions of ‘Romeo & Juliet’, ‘Skateaway’, ‘Private Investigations’ and ‘Tunnel Of Love’ all weighing in at over six minutes long.  Fans who have the ‘Love Over Gold’ album will also note the inclusion of ‘Telegraph Road’ which is their longest outing at 14 minutes and 20 seconds.  So it came as a surprise that ‘Brothers In Arms’ featured shorter, more radio friendly songs and that formula saw them notch up five top forty hits.  Despite being released in 1985 it won two Grammy Awards in 1986 and the Best British Album award at the Brit Awards in 1987.

The Sound

The album was one of the first to be recorded using only digital technology and the CD version became the first long player on that format to sell one million copies.  It was recorded at the AIR Studios in Montserrat, a small territory in the Carribean with Neil Dorfsman helping Knopfler on production duties.  The duo had previously worked together on the bands 1982 album ‘Love Over Gold’ and Knopfler’s soundtrack album to the film ‘Local Boy’.  The band continued to profile the CD with the title track being widely regarded as one of the first singles to be released as a CD single.  Copies of this are scarce and regularly fetch several hundred pounds each when they come up for auction.

The Hits

The first single released was ‘So Far Away’ which peaked at a modest no.20 but then came ‘Money For Nothing’, a track which won plaudits for both its guitar based music, its humorous lyrics and its ground breaking video.  It was rarely off the TV and radio during the Summer of 1985 and it went on to make the top five in the UK before topping the charts in the US.  An edited version of the title track reached no.16 but got a little lost in the Christmas market although it notched up a thirteen week chart run.  ‘Walk Of Life’ equalled the no.2 peak of their 1982 single ‘Private Investigations’ despite having already featured as a b side to ‘So Far Away’ while ‘Your Latest Trick’ became the final track to be taken from the album.  The proceeds went to charity in the UK and it peaked at no.26 but it topped the French charts, and in doing so displaced ‘No Limits’ by the Dutch dance music duo 2 Unlimited.

The album is now the eight biggest selling album of all time in the UK placed just behind ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ by Pink Floyd but ahead of ‘Bad’ by Michael Jackson.  It was certified 13 times platinum in the UK, and nine times in the US with an estimated 30 million sales being achieved worldwide.  Recently it has returned to the charts almost twenty nine years after it was first released and now may reach a new generation of listeners.  As I write it is at no.33, down two places on last week but still ahead of Tinie Tempah!  It’s sound quality meant that it was one of the first albums to sell on the CD format and it still sounds as good today.

Twenty nine years on…

Fans who listen to the annual “Dire Straits to reform and headline Glastonbury” rumours are likely to be disappointed as Mark Knopfler prefers to concentrate on his solo career.  However the bands keyboard player Alan Clark and the sax player Chris White have gone on to form The Straits, a band which perform the songs of the original band in live venues around the world.  John Illsley was never part of the band despite his original wish to reform the band with Knopfler.  He has a solo career too and is due to play a gig with his band at The Jazz Cafe in London in June this year.  The Straits however have gone from strength to strength having completed an extensive UK tour during February and they are now playing a series of concerts in the States.


Those who wish to find out more about John Illsley and his solo career or The Straits can click here :


2 March, 2014 Posted by | ChartChat | Leave a comment

Chart Chat Edition 745 – W/C 02.03.14

Chart Chat Edition 745 – Week Commencing Sunday 2nd March February 2014 


Welcome to edition 745 of Chart Chat, the music review site which has been running for over fourteen years.  You can find us on Twitter as @ChartChatUK so feel free to follow us and pass comment on the weeks new releases yourselves.  As always we will take a look at the current top forty followed by some reviews of the weeks new releases.  There is a new edition published weekly so if you are new here then I hope you will choose to revisit.  

Chart Review

There were three new entries, two re-entries, six climbers, twenty seven songs going down and two non movers on this weeks chart. Amazingly it was Pharrell Williams who returned to the top spot again with ‘Happy’ which climbed one to no.1.  Sam Smith fell to no.2 with ‘Money On My Mind’.

Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne were a non mover at no.3 with ‘Rather Be’ but Katy Perry featuring Juicy J went up two to no.4 with ‘Dark Horse’. A Great Big World featuring Christina Aguilera fell one to no.5 with ‘Say Something’ while Tiesto got a new entry at no.6 with ‘Red Light’. Foxes went straight in at no.7 with ‘Let Go For Tonight’ and Zedd featuring Hayley Williams fell three to no.8 with ‘Stay The Night’. John Legend climbed twenty places to no.9 with ‘All Of Me’ while Paloma Faith rounded off the top ten with ‘Can’t Rely On You’ going straight in at no.10.

A further two climbers were to be found in what remained of the top twenty.  Ellie Goulding climbed ten to no.16 with ‘Goodness Gracious’ and American Authors went up twenty places to no.17 with ‘Best Day Of My Life’.

There were two re-entries and one climber in the lower half of the chart this week.  Beyonce climbed one to no.22 with ‘XO’ while Starship re-entered at no.26 with ‘We Built This City’.  The other re-entry went to Kid Ink & Chris Brown who returned to the top forty at no.35 with ‘Show Me’ having been at just no.75 last week.

New Releases

Chromeo – ‘Jealousy (I Ain’t With It)’

First up under review this week are the Canadian electrofunk duo Chromeo with their brand new single ‘Jealousy (I Ain’t With It)’.  It is set to feature on their fourth studio album ‘White Women’ which follows on from their 2010 long player ‘Business Casual’ which had became a minor hit for them peaking at no.70 in the US and no.151 in the UK.  As producers they have remixed tracks by various artists including Lenny Kravitz, Feist, Vampire Weekend and Mayer Hawthorne while also gaining new fans by seeing their music feature in video games such as FIFA 09, FIFA 11 and Dirt 3.  They originally formed back in 2004 but to date only ‘Needy Girl’ and ‘Fancy Footwork’ have made even a small indent on the charts peaking at no.189 and no.185 respectively.  So based on their previous chart performance this is likely to struggle to make the top forty.

Lily Allen – ‘Air Balloon’

Lily Allen’s return to music has so far worked out very well with her cover of Keane’s ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ reaching the chart summit and her ‘Hard Out Here’ single also making the top ten. Now comes her latest track ‘Air Balloon’ which is released as a single track download this week and looks set to feature on her third studio album later this year.  The accompanying music video was uploaded to YouTube on the 6th February and achieved over 1.5m views in its first week.  So far she has notched up ten top forty hits in her own right (including three no.1s) while also guesting on top forty singles by P!nk, T-Pain, Professor Green and Mark Ronson. I think that this is bound to attract plenty of attention and airplay and should therefore become her seventh top ten hit. However I don’t see it putting in a serious challenge to the top spot on Sunday afternoon. 

Nerina Pallot – ‘We Should Break Up EP’

This week sees Nerina Pallot release her new EP ‘We Should Break Up’, the follow up to ‘The Hold Tight’ which came out back in January.  Alongside the title track the EP contains four other new songs; ‘Dead To Me’, ‘Happy’, ‘Thicker Than Blood’ and ‘Don’t Be Late’.  She has declared 2014 to be the year of the EPs and has vowed to release twelve separate EPs this year, with this being th second. The peak in her UK popularity came with her 2006 album ‘Fires’ which contained her only two hit singles (‘Everybody’s Gone To War’ and ‘Sophia’) and saw her nominated for a 2007 Brit Award.  She hasn’t been seen in the top forty since though her two later albums ‘The Graduate’ and ‘Year Of The Wolf’ both achieve modest success peaking at no.46 and no.31 respectively. I think fans will be keen to own this in its entirety but I can’t see any single track charting in its own right.

Nick Mulvey – ‘Cucurucu’

Next up is the English musician Nick Mulvey who releases ‘Cucurucu’ this week, the follow up to his previous EPs ‘The Trellis’ and ‘Fever To The Form’. He studied music in Havana, Cuba and was originally one of the founder members of Mercury Prize nominated band Portico Quartet but left the group in 2011 to pursue a solo career. The single is released as a digital download and features the bonus track ‘Vetiver’. The accompanying video was uploaded on the 26th January and quickly picked up 66k views over its first three weeks. Last month saw him play gigs in Germany, Holland, Belgium and France but March sees him return for a seven concert tour of the UK concluding at the Scala club in London on 11th March. Nick is the sort of artist who is more likely to perform well on the album chart and as such I don’t forsee this charting as a standalone single. 

R5 – Loud

American rock band R5 release their debut single ‘Loud’ this week a year after it first appeared in the US.  The band is led by Ross Lynch who appears on the Disney Channel show Austin & Ally and they achieved a no.69 chart placing with this EP.  He is joinedin the band by brothers Riker and Rocky, sister Rydel and family friend (and drummer!) Ellington Ratliff. They achieved further success Stateside with their debut album ‘Louder’ which peaked at no.24.  The digital format contains a live, acoustic and instrumental version of the song alongside the main radio edit.  The video to the track was uploaded to the internet back in February 2013 and since then it has received almost 7.5m views.  Despite the inclusion of a UK greeting video on the download I think they may struggle to match the kind of success that they have enjoyed the other side of the water.

Route 94 featuring Jess Glynne – ‘My Love’

British singer / songwriter Jess Glynne is fresh from guesting on Clean Bandit’s no.1 hit ‘Rather Be’ and now she turns up on the Route 94 single ‘My Love’. The track is released as a single track download along with an EP of remixes which features four new versions; the Sigma Remix, the Mason Sky Remix, the Billon Remix and the Royal-T Remix.  They produced a track on the recent Katy B album ‘Little Red’ and are currently supporting BrEaCh on his UK tour which concludes in Dublin on 22nd March. The track has already featured on the ‘Annie Mac Presents 2013’ compilation and the video has received over 380k views since being uploaded to their Vevo account at the end of January.  This is one of those tracks which is able to transcend the differential between the clubs and the mainstream chart so I expect this to be one of the highest new entries next weekend. 

Space – ‘Fortune Teller’

It has been over ten years in the making but finally the new Space album ‘Attack Of The Mutant 50ft Kebab’ is ready for release. The band have undergone several line up changes since their peak in the late 1990’s and sadly their original drummer Andy Parle died in 2009.  You would have to go back to 1998 to find their last top forty appearance which came with the no.20 hit ‘Bad Days’ EP  That was the last of their eight top forty hits which were achieved back to back between 1996 and 1998. ‘Fortune Teller’ is out this week and is the first single to be taken from the new album. It is available on both 7″ clear vinyl and download formats with ‘The Perfect Sin’ as a bonus track.  March sees the new line up undertake a six date tour to celebrate the bands 20th anniversary and they will be hoping for a return to the charts with both this new single and the forthcoming album. 

Stylo G – ‘Move Back’

Twenty eight year old Jamaican born Stylo G (known to his parents as Jason McDermott) scored a debut hit with his fourth single ‘Soundbwoy’ which peaked at no.18 and will now aim to follow that up with his latest release ‘Move Back’.  It is released digitally this week and comes in two forms, the Radio Edit and the Friction Radio Edit.  For anyone wanting to catch him live he is set to appear at the London Barfly on 6th March with support from fellow rapper Scrufizzer.  His Facebook page has 7.7k likes from fans and the video to the track received 10k views in its first two days of upload. Fans visiting his website can pick up several free downloads including the Drake remix of ‘Started From Jamaica’ and the ‘Call Mi A Yardie Reloaded’ mixtape. Interest in Stylo and his musical output has certainly grown in recent months and as such I think that this will become a second top forty single for him. 

Todd Terry – ‘Feel The Sun’

World famous producer Todd Terry is back this week with ‘Feel The Sun’.  The digital format features the original version alongside three new mixes; the Mineo Remix, the Howson’s Groove Remix and the YoungTEE Remix. It has been sixteen years since the Todd Terry Project achieved the last of their top forty hits ‘Ready For A New Day’ while their biggest hit came in 1997 with the top five smash ‘Something Goin’ On’.  However Todd has worked his magic on many artists since then including Annie Lennox, Duran Duran, Kylie Minogue, Michael Jackson, Snap! and Yes.  He has been viewed by many as one of the pioneers of House music through his work on the late 80’s crossover hit ‘I’ll House You’ by Jungle Brothers and six years later the remix of Everything But The Girl’s ‘Missing’. It would be great to see such a musical legend back inside the top forty but I’m not sure this track will achieve that.

Also released this week is ‘Everyday Robots’ by Damon Albarn.

Next Week…

Although she is yet to chart in her own right Jess Glynne looks destined for the top spot again but this time providing vocals on the Route 94 track ‘My Love’. Don’t forget to stop by next week when artists releasing new singles look set to include Arctic Monkeys, Kylie Minogue, One Direction and Pixie Lott.  Until then have yourself a good week.


Ian Anderson

2 March, 2014 Posted by | ChartChat | Leave a comment