Dire Straits released its debut album in 1978, and it was immediately a hit with the public and rock stations. The band had a heavy guitar-centric sound and released five albums before quitting in 1995.
While they had many hits, we’re going to tell you the top 15 best Dire Straits songs of all time!
1. Romeo & Juliet
Romeo & Juliet was released in 1980 on the album Making Movies and is thought to be one of the most lovely songs from Dire Straits. It blends Bruce Springsteen with West Side Story, and Shakespeare to create a masterpiece of a rock love story.
The song delves into fame being the cause of a breakup instead of the traditional story of a family being what tears two people apart. It’s a classic love story written like Shakespeare and was based on lead singer Mark Knopfler and his girlfriend at the time, Holly Vincent, a punk singer. The vocals, instruments, composition, and story make this the ultimate Dire Straits song that we keep going back to listen to it one more time.
Romeo & Juliet is a timeless masterpiece that leaves us in tears every time we hear it because it’s full of emotion and sadness over a broken relationship. There’s amazing bass in the sub-voice during multiple parts of the song. We can feel the pain in this song, and it leaves us wanting to see the two get back together. If you have ever been in love, this song will make you feel those strong emotions all over again.
Recommended: Songs about Romeo & Juliet
2. Sultans Of Swing
Sultans Of Swing was released in 1978 and was the first single from their self-titled debut album. This is considered one of the best Dire Straits songs of all time because it is simply just cool and has some amazing guitar work.
When we hear the main riff of Sultans Of Swing, we can’t help but move our bodies and play air guitar because it’s simply a magical experience. Given that this song was about a struggling band, it was the perfect fit for Dire Straits to find fame with this debut single.
The rhythm section sets this song apart, with the bass blending with the rhythm guitar. The funny lyrics to the song, which rhyme, make us want to sing it every time it comes on the radio. From the very beginning of the song until the end, you’ll find that this song is catchy, fun, and just cool.
3. Money For Nothing
Most people know Dire Straits because their 1985 hit Money For Nothing was on the studio album Brothers In Arms. Due to its popularity and excessive play on television, it deserves a spot in the top three of the best songs by Dire Straits.
Surprisingly, this song was the only one ever to reach number one, even though it’s not the strongest out of their catalog. What’s funny about Money For Nothing is that MTV played this song all of the time, even though it was making fun of MTV and how the network was known to make pop stars before throwing them away.
It’s the fact this song is making fun of MTV that we like because it’s right on point and funny to us. We can’t help but sing along to Money For Nothing every time we hear it on the radio, and it’s an iconic song that gives us major nostalgia.
4. Walk Of Life
Brothers In Arms was released in 1985 and Walk of Life was one of the masterpieces on this album and is easily one of the best Dire Straits songs ever. What we love about this song is that the rhythm guitar is sappy, but it’s glorious and nothing short of breathtaking.
We want to sing along every time the chorus comes on because it’s so catchy, and the song itself is upbeat and inspiring, so we smile and emotionally feel happy listening to this song. If we’re having a bad day, putting on Walk Of Life seems to make everything better.
5. Brothers In Arms
Released in 1985, the album Brothers In Arms contained a song with the same name, one of the most serious that Dire Straits released. Written during the Falklands War in 1982, this is an anti-war song that delves into the emotional side of war. Haunting and beautiful, Brothers In Arms will make you tear up or want to protest the act of going to war.
We can hear the emotion and pain in the guitar, and it sounds like the guitar is weeping just as humanity is weeping over the fact that war causes so much destruction and heartache. The only way we can describe this song is that it’s atmospheric and emotional, but it sets a tone that we can feel deep down inside our souls.
6. Telegraph Road
Love Over Gold was released in 1982, and Telegraph Road is one of the best songs on the album. It’s about Telegraph Road, a 70-mile stretch of road found in Michigan that Knopfler was on during a tour, which inspired him to write a song about it. He had been reading a book by Knut Hamsun called The Growth Of The Soil, so he decided to put Telegraph Road and the novel together to create a song that delves into the industrial age and how this important time in history changed the rural area into a bustling highway.
We can feel the pulsating vibrations from the guitar that comes and goes just as if we were traveling down the highway. It’s a song that plays with our emotions, first going into sweet feelings and then bittersweet feelings as we realize this beautiful part of Mother Nature was torn up to bring about industrial development. We banged our heads up and down as the guitar jams several times throughout the song.
7. Tunnel Of Love
Tunnel Of Love can be found on the 1980 album Making Movies, and this song goes along with Romeo and Juliet. We love this song because it’s incredibly long, coming in at about eight minutes, and it’s worth every second to listen to it.
The end of the song is spectacular as it contains one of the best guitar solos of all time, and we love the fact it ends on that epic solo. It’s such a great ending for this song, and we keep rewinding after it’s over just to hear the guitar solo again! We feel like we’re going on an emotional rollercoaster throughout, and it’s just timeless.
8. So Far Away
So Far Away is a classic but underrated song from the band’s hit album Brothers In Arms, and it leaves us feeling hypnotized due to its melody from start to finish. This is a romantic type of song that you’ll feel tugging at your heartstrings.
There is something about this song that we find nostalgic, which could be that it’s just a great rock song that is clean and heavy at the same time. When you hear So Far Away, you’re going to feel the knot in your stomach as he lays out his emotions and thoughts, and it makes us feel despair and sadness right to our core.
Making Movies was an album that Dire Straits released in 1980, and one of the best songs from this album was Skateaway. We cannot mention some of the band’s best songs without mentioning this lyrically and visually stunning hit. Skateaway is a more classic rock song that got the band back to its roots after the previous album bombed.
We feel nostalgia when we listen to this song since it refers to the good old days of roller skating, which happened well before rollerblading. Roller skating was one of the ways people got around in urban locations like New York in the late 1970s and early 1980s. That is why this song gives us warm feelings about that time. It puts a smile on our faces every time we hear it and makes us want to grab our skates and go out one more time!
10. Down To The Waterline
Down To The Waterline was part of Dire Straits’ self-titled album released in 1977, and it’s even the opening track to the album if that tells you anything. You have to give it your best for the first track off of your first album, and that’s exactly what the band did with Down To The Waterline.
The vocals in this song are raspy but not in a bad way, it just sounds like someone who has smoked quite a few cigarettes, and that adds to the feel of this song. We enjoyed how this song’s rhythm component seems effortless and natural. The guitar rings so much that we can feel it throughout our ears and body. When we hear the lyrics, we feel like we’re in a movie theatre since it’s telling s story.
11. Love Over Gold
Love Over Gold was the title track to the 1982 album the band released, and fans of Dire Straits adore it. One thing that sets this song apart for us is the piano introduction because it’s simply beautiful, and the melody is stunning from start to finish.
We can only describe the verses in Love Over Gold as being simply gorgeous, and it makes us feel like we’re staring at a garden full of blooming flowers with the sun peeking through the clouds. If you’ve ever experienced love, then you’re going to know those emotional ups and downs that are so easily detailed in this song.
12. Once Upon A Time In The West
Once Upon A Time In The West was released on Communique in 1979, and not only is this a catchy song, but it is incredibly powerful from start to finish. While subtle, the guitar solos are epic and so powerful that we can feel them coursing through our bodies.
If we’re talking about their second album, Once Upon A Time is the second-best song, if not the best song on the entire album. It’s incredibly popular with their fans, and we know that the vocals in this song are a huge reason why: It is because it’s groovy and cool. You can hear the Bahamas in the background, which is where this song was recorded, and you can feel the calm hazy vibe through the guitar riffs.
13. Private Investigations
Private Investigations was released in 1982 as part of the hit album Love Over Gold and draws inspiration from the novels by Raymond Chandler. We can’t help but feel alive when the electric guitar chords come into play in a huge way during the climatic part of the song.
The beginning of Private Investigations features Knopfler plucking the strings with his fingers in such a way that we are mesmerized by his style and abilities. We enjoy the slower pace of this song because it invokes an intimate, sensual, and atmospheric feeling. Our bodies get the chills when we hear the low vocals of Knopfler, and it feels like we’re hanging in suspense for the next verse.
14. Wild West End
Just like with a lot of the best Dire Straits songs of all time, Wild West End also comes from their self-titled debut album that was released in 1978. That album has so many hits because it dealt with common everyday problems that the band and most people face at some point, including women and money, so it’s relatable to nearly every listener.
The song pays homage to a coffee bar in London’s Soho district which was popular with tourists since it blended its coffee beans. Since Knopfler had graduated from Leeds and moved to London, it made sense why he would write about the Soho district with many unique boutique shops and entertainment centers.
When we listen to Wild West End, we are taken to London, and Knopfler is great at describing the vibe and looks of this area, making us want to jump on an airplane and visit for ourselves. The vocals and instruments work so well together to make us feel just as connected to London as he felt.
15. Twisting By The Pool
Released in 1983, Twisting By The Pool is an energetic song that will make you want to get up and dance or run around your neighborhood. The song was released as part of a four-song EP that leaned in the direction of swing and old-school rock.
We love this song because it’s just fun and is reminiscent of Chuck Berry mixed with some new-age progression and rhythm. Twisting By The Pool is a song we enjoy listening to because it’s different than some of their other tunes and puts a smile on our faces every time we hear it because of its fun vibe.
From the time she was little, Florence loved listening to music and quickly learned how music can make you happy and feel fulfilled. One of her favorite memories is being in the garage with her dad working on classic cars with the local rock station blaring in the background. Ever since Florence was 3, she loved grunge music and spent hours listening to bands such as Alice in Chains, Mad Season, Soul Asylum, and Soundgarden.
She also enjoys classic rock, modern rock, nu metal, alternative rock, and old 90’s R&B. Her love of music grew as she got older, and used music to help her get through tough times in her life. More often than not, you’ll see Florence with earbuds in while she’s writing, cooking, cleaning, and doing other tasks. She also loves to debate music with her friends such as which lead singer is the best vocalist, the most iconic guitar solos in music, and what songs are really the best of the decade.