Septuagenarian Sultan of Swing: Mark Knopfler celebrates his 70th birthday today

Credit: Derek HudsonHere’s wishing a very happy 70th birthday to former Dire Straits frontman and lead guitarist Mark Knopfler.

Knopfler co-founded Dire Straits in 1977, and the band enjoyed immediate success with its 1978 self-titled debut album, which reached #2 on the Billboard 200 chart and featured the enduring hit, “Sultans of Swing.”

Mark wrote nearly every song the group recorded, and his fluid, tasteful finger-style guitar playing was the driving element of the band’s sound.

Dire Straits had its greatest success with its fifth studio album, 1985’s Brothers in Arms, which topped the Billboard 200 for nine consecutive weeks. The record featured the #1 smash “Money for Nothing” — a collaboration with Sting — and the #7 hit “Walk of Life.”

While in Dire Straits, Knopfler began composing and producing film scores, among them 1983’s Local Hero, 1984’s Cal and 1987’s The Princess Bride. He also has worked with a wide variety of other well-known artists, either as a session musician or a collaborator, including B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Steely Dan, Elton John, Chet Atkins, Bryan Ferry, George Jones, Thin Lizzy‘s Phil Lynott, Emmylou Harris and James Taylor.

Since Dire Straits’ breakup in 1995, Mark has released a string of critically acclaimed solo albums, the latest being 2018’s Down the Road Wherever.

Knopfler has won several Grammys, and in 2018 he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Dire Straits, although he didn’t attend the ceremony.

According to a message on his Twitter feed, Mark is spending his 70th birthday celebrating with friends and family. He launches a North American tour in support of Down the Road Wherever this Friday, August 16, in Mashantucket, Connecticut.

Here are all the dates:

8/16 — Mashantucket, CT, Foxwoods Resort Casino – Grand Theater
8/17 — Philadelphia, PA, Metropolitan Opera House
8/18 — Vienna, VA, Filene Center at Wolf Trap
8/20 — New York, NY, Beacon Theatre
8/21 — New York, NY, Beacon Theatre
8/23 — Boston, MA, Rockland Trust Bank Pavilion
8/24 — Montreal, QC, Canada, Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier – Place des Arts
8/25 — Toronto, ON, Canada, Sony Centre for the Performing Arts
8/27 — Indianapolis, IN, Old National Centre
8/28 — Kansas City, MO, Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland
8/30 — Minneapolis, MN, Orpheum Theatre
8/31 — Milwaukee, WI, The Riverside Theater
9/1 — Chicago, IL, The Chicago Theatre
9/3 — Nashville, TN, Ryman Auditorium
9/4 — Atlanta, GA, Cadence Bank Amphitheatre at Chastain Park
9/6 — Sugar Land, TX, Smart Financial Centre at Sugar Land
9/7 — Austin, TX, ACL Live at The Moody Theater
9/8 — Grand Prairie, TX, Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie
9/10 — Denver, CO, Red Rocks Amphitheater
9/11 — Salt Lake City, UT, Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre
9/13 — Portland, OR, Keller Auditorium
9/14 — Woodinville, WA, Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery
9/15 — Woodinville, WA, Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery
9/16 — Vancouver, BC, Canada, Orpheum Theatre
9/18 — Berkeley, CA, The Greek Theatre
9/20 — Santa Barbara, CA, Santa Barbara Bowl
9/21 — Phoenix, AZ, Comerica Theatre
9/22 — Los Angeles, CA, Greek Theatre
9/25 — New York, NY, Madison Square Garden*

* = Bonnie Raitt opens.

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