Usually for 80’s Mania Mondays, I focus on one song from the decade, but today I thought I would put the spotlight on one of the best albums from that era. It also happens to be one of my favorites: Dire Straits’ Brothers In Arms.
I’ll admit that before 1985, all I knew about Dire Straits was their debut hit song “Sultans of Swing.” I had heard it playing on local radio quite often, and I did like it, but I never thought much more about it. My musical taste was all R&B and rap in those days; while I listened to pop music too, I wasn’t as heavily into it as the others. Enter in MTV, and when you have hours of time to watch videos, certain songs and videos become addicting. One of those songs was “Money For Nothing.” The video was very creative, but the song is what caught me first; mainly because Sting of the Police was singing the hook “I want my MTV.”
By the fall of 1985, the song and the album were taking off. I remember sitting in the dorm listening to it with some of my friends, and the sound of it caught my ear. I began taking notice of individual songs: “So Far Away,” “Walk Of Life,” “Your Latest Trick” and the title track. So I made it my mission to buy my copy while on winter break. In my research, I found out that Brothers In Arms was the first album engineered, created and recorded primarily for CD; CDs were becoming the “in” format beginning in the mid-80’s. Because of this, the LP version featured edited versions of four songs: “So Far Away,” “Money For Nothing,” “Your Latest Trick” and “Why Worry.” The full-length tracks, combined with the remaining songs, could not fit on a single LP. Since I didn’t have a CD player yet, I bought my copy on cassette. It would be years later that I would get my CD copy, and of course, I now have it on digital only.
Being in college helped me appreciate rock music much more than I did before I got to school. Which isn’t to say that I didn’t appreciate it before, but it became more than just something I randomly heard on MTV when I wasn’t listening to what I normally listened to, or saw when I watched acts perform on a show like American Bandstand. I truly enjoy these songs just as much now as I did back then; the album certainly gets a listen at least three or four times a year.
I hope you enjoy this look back at the great songs from Dire Straits’ best selling album, Brothers In Arms. A few notes about the album:
- It was the first CD to sell over a million copies; and was also the first CD to outsell the LP version of the release.
- It was one of the first albums to be listed as a full digital recording, though there seems to be some doubt about that; the album’s co-producer claims the album mix was done on analog equipment, then recorded on a digital tape machine.
- The album reached #1 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart and charted at the top for nine weeks.
- It has sold over 30 million copies worldwide.
As always, thanks for reading and listening.