Eric Clapton Joins Dire Straits To Play “Sultans Of Swing”
You Get A Shiver In The Dark!
Written by Mark Knopfler, “Sultans of Swing” was released on May 1978 for their eponymous debut album. There’s an alternative version to the original since Dire Straits’ record company at the time wanted a less-polished rock sound. Mark’s inspiration struck after seeing a jazz band playing in a pub corner. He often got his song ideas from watching such “everyday” scenarios.
- No. 4 on the US Billboard Hot 100
- No. 8 on the UK Singles Chart
The music for “Sultans of Swing” was composed by Mark Knopfler on a National Steel guitar in an open tuning, though Knopfler did not think very highly of it at first. As he remembered, “I thought it was dull, but as soon as I bought my first Strat in 1977, the whole thing changed, though the lyrics remained the same. It just came alive as soon as I played it on that ’61 Strat which remained my main guitar for many years and was basically the only thing I played on the first album and the new chord changes just presented themselves and fell into place.”
The reception was generally positive. They included this in their demo tape and as it was being played, it started a bidding war. Because they have played this countless times already, Mark once said he was sick of the song. He would often extend and improvise the solo during concerts and other live performances.
Regarding the line, “The band was playing Dixie double four time,” Dixie double is a style popularized by Django Reinhradt (and Les Paul in his early years) where the guitar goes quite fast and plays bass as well, all together.
Eric Clapton joins Mark Knopfler during this live jam. And we’re telling you, it’s all sorts of awesome. It’s so great it will give you chills. Two of the best guitarists sharing one stage. Wow. This is so cool and special!