Mark Knopfler explains the real Sultans of Swing from the iconic Dire Straits song

News 30/03/2021

During an appearance on Brian Johnson's 'A Life on the Road Season 2', ex-Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler spoke about one of Dire Straits' most well-known track - 'Sultans of Swing'.

Originally released in 1978 on Dire Straits' debut album, the 'Sultans of Swing' was a "dusty little jazz, Dixieland jazz band" that was playing down in Deptford. Knopfler described the pub as almost empty, except a couple of lads playing pool at the end of the pub in their baggies and platforms.

Knopfler told UCR, "I think they were actually surprised they had an audience of three or four. "I remember asking them to play 'Creolo Love Call' or 'Muskrat Ramble.'… I think they were amazed that somebody was in the pub who actually knew a few of the titles."

"I was just there to have a couple of pints. And at the end of the night, the trumpet player or whoever does the announcement says, 'Well, um, right... That's it; it's time to go home.'

"And he says, 'We are the Sultans of Swing.' And you couldn't be less a sultan of anything, you know, if you were in that band, on that night, in that pub," Knopfler chuckled.

You can listen to Knopfler's episode on Brian Johnson's 'A Life on the Road' below: