18/06/2018: “Brothers In Arms” by Dire Straits


The album Brothers In Arms is one of the best selling albums of all time, selling over 30 million copies. In the US it is 9 times platinum. In the U.K it’s the 8th best selling album ever.

Clearly, a lot of people have enjoyed listening to Dire Straits’ 1985 album.

The title track gives some clues as to why. The song is simply magnificent.

Mark Knopfler, as with many Dire Straits songs, is the star, with his softly sung vocals and his world class guitar playing. For me, it’s the guitar solos and riffs that really make “Brothers In Arms”.  Knopfler’s style of playing is so distinctive that it’s almost like a unique voice itself. But it isn’t like the rest of the band were just sat there watching him…

The song is one of slow burning harmonies, a contemplative song for the evenings. There’s a gradual build up, but instead of any raucousness, the climax of the song is more powerful.

The instrumentation in the background is very reminiscent of the power of a large organ, without, as far as I can tell, being and organ.

The song was written during the Falklands War a couple of years earlier, and talks about a dying soldier who realises the futility of war. I think that all but the most vengeful warmongers in today’s world can agree that war is a terrible thing. How it could be justified is another matter altogether.

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