Here I am again in this mean old town (known as Music Monday), and hopefully you’re not so far away from me.
I was talking about “Walk of Life” the other day, setting my dad “strait” (I know how it is really spelled) about who actually sang the song. He said Bruce Springsteen, as did my mom. But my husband and I told them it was actually Dire Straits. I did, however, tell my dad that I could certainly see why he would have confused The Boss for the Knopfler brothers and their band, at least in this instance.
It got me to thinking about another Dire Straits song from the same album, that served as the B-Side of “Walk of Life,” and my other favorite Dire Straits song. I’ve found both of these songs to be more of my liking than the one (make that, the only) Dire Straits song I knew growing up.
Confession – I’ve never liked “Money for Nothing.” I know it is a classic, but it is not one of my favorite songs.
Since I’ve covered one of my favorites, which very well may be my favorite, today’s Music Monday pays tribute to the other one.
“So Far Away” is a 1985 single from the aforementioned Dire Straits, from their album Brothers In Arms. Released in 1985 as the B-Side to “Walk of Life,” and the lead single from the album.
Conversely, it was the third single from Brothers in Arms in the United States (after “Money for Nothing” and “Walk of Life”). Written by Mark Knopfler, the video features stage footage intermingled with shots and aerials of New York City and behind-the-scenes footage.
A bit of a departure from the sound of their previously-released singles, “So Far Away” laments about a lifestyle that keeps the protagonist of the song away from the one he loves; however, according to Song Facts, the lyrics are not autobiographical. Mark Knopfler wrote the song about anyone who travels, and families being split up all over the place. While it would certainly imply a depressing feeling of being away from others, it really is a pretty song with some nice visuals.
“So Far Away” charted at #19 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1986, #3 on the Hot Adult Contemporary chart, and #29 on the Top Rock Tracks (now Mainstream Rock) chart. The final single to be released in the United States from this album, it was also their last Top 100 single in the States. Brothers in Arms reached #1 on the Billboard 200 for weekly sales, with year-ending sales on the US Pop Albums charts putting the album at #27 (1985) and #4 (1986). It won a Grammy for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical, in 1986, and Best Surround Sound Album in 2006, thirty-one years after its release.
Brothers in Arms signaled the beginning of the (first) end for Dire Straits, as the group went on hiatus following their 1987 tour to support the album. They reunited briefly in 1988 for Nelson Mandela’s 70th Birthday Concert Tribute at Wembley Stadium, before the band’s dissolution in September 1988. They reunited in 1990, performing with Eric Clapton at Knebworth Festival, and officially returned to form in 1991, with some lineup changes that included Toto’s drummer Jeff Porcaro filling the drummer spot. An unsuccessful album (1991’s On Every Street), an equally unsuccessful tour in 1992, a successful live album, and a final album of compilations from live recordings from Dire Straits’ first lineup (1978-1981), marked those final four years, with the group quietly disbanding in 1995.
These days, Mark Knopfler has said there are no plans to get the band back together, even when the group was inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame in 2018. Knopfler chose not to appear. These days, he enjoys a successful solo career, but the idea of a Dire Straits reunion is clearly “so far away,” it is non-existent.
I try, my friends. I try so hard.
Have a great Monday, and enjoy the music!