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Articles Home » 1980 Articles » Dire Straits - 1980 Making Movies
Dire Straits - 1980 Making Movies

ARTIST: Dire Straits
ALBUM: Making Movies
LABEL: Vertigo
SERIAL: 7150 034
YEAR: 1980
CD REISSUE: 1996, Vertigo, 800-050-2, plus many others


LINEUP: Mark Knopfler - vocals, guitar * John Illsley - bass * Pick Withers - drums

Additional Musicians: Roy Bittan - keyboards * Sid McGinnis - guitar (uncredited)

TRACK LISTING: 01 Tunnel Of Love * 02 Romeo And Juliet * 03 Skate Away * 04 Expresso Love * 05 Hand In Hand * 06 Solid Rock * 07 Les Boys


1980 was a breakout year for me in terms of music. Yes, my year was filled with everything from Rush, Judas Priest, Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush and a slew of others. It was also a breakout year for Mark Knopfler and his band Dire Straits. I kinda liked their first two albums, and listened to them during 1977 and 1979 (admittedly I listened to Foreigner far more!), mainly because everyone else was. Some good tracks on both the debut and 'Communique', but 1980's 'Making Movies' lifted the band into the stratosphere. It wasn't released until October that year, and by that stage, the band were down to a trio, with David Knopfler having opted out of the band. The E Street Band keyboardist Roy Bittan plays a significant role on the album, and helps flesh out these seven songs with ambience and dabbled brush-strokes of musical colour and texture.

The Songs
I've enjoyed this album over the years, and it regularly gets a call up onto the death-deck. It surely was a bold call to put the eight minute 'Tunnel of Love' at the head of the album, but what a song it is. With its carnival atmosphere pervading throughout, the song comes to a beautiful crescendo with Knopfler's soaring guitar-solo at the six minute mark, and Bittan's gliding piano run. It still sends shivers down the spine. The single 'Romeo And Juliet' reached #8 on the UK charts, and remains an artful exercise in balladry.. 'you and me babe.. how about it' I liked the expressive 'Skateaway' too, it weaves in and out of darkened spaces, Bittan's organ work providing the song with a light-switch. 'Expresso Love' has more of the feel we heard on 'Communique', complete with jangly guitar lines. 'Hand In Hand' features Bittan's delicate piano work and Knopfler's acoustic guitar. The combination gradually builds up energy but is restrained mostly. Knopfler takes it out to the edge with 'Solid Rock'. Musically, this reminds me of early Cold Chisel though without the Jimmy Barnes reference points. The offbeat moment on the album is the risque 'Les Boys', not exactly classic DS material, but it is kinda cheeky and humourous, hinting at the band's origins from the London pub-rock circuit.

In Summary
'Making Movies' did all sorts of ridiculous numbers as far as album sales went. Singles wise it didn't do that great outside of the UK, not that the songs were primed for the singles market anyway. It set the scene for what would come later with 'Love Over Gold' and 'Brothers In Arms'. Like Eric (refer his 'Love over Gold' article), I didn't really warm to their 'Brothers In Arms' material, much preferring all the albums prior to that. Still, a good band in their prime, and Knopfler really is a jewel as a guitarist, one that kids should investigate for their guitar lessons rather than one-trick heavy metal ponies.

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#1 | Eric on December 28 2014 12:09:32
Agree with the breakdown of this album and especially Knopfler's guitar abilities. No one sounds quite like him.
#2 | swazi on December 29 2014 20:28:17
Brilliant release! I have had it for many years and it still spins at my house and brings backs good old memories!
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