"Summer 1977 was a great time to start up a band, provided you were under twenty, couldn't sing, couldn't play, couldn't write songs, and wanted to revel in amateurism," writes Oldfield.
American superstars were pumping out overproduced, sentimental teen-bop dreck, performing in football stadiums to tens of thousands, throwing TV sets out of hotel windows for fun. Meanwhile, in back street dives (ever the hotbed of new music), punk rock was in full cry, raging in a crude, intentionally inarticulate monotone.
So where did Dire Straits come from? How did a band of middle-class musicians in their middle twenties, who wrote well-crafted, complex, powerful songs (and performed them brilliantly), break through to the top of the charts and international fame in the space of a few short months?
It's all here, from the first rehearsals of "Sultans of Swing" in a dilapidated south London apartment to their "discovery" by a BBC radio disc jockey known for playing "unfashionable music by up-and-coming bands," to giant world tours, gold albums, sessions with Dylan and Steely Dan, Van Morrison, Stevie Nicks, to the limos, the fans, the pressures, conflicts disillusionment, and the sheer exhilaration of rock stardom.
With the full cooperation of the band, and through numerous conversations with its members (past and present), Michael Oldfield takes you behind the scenes at the concert halls and clubs, on the road, and in the recording studios. He reveals the personal tensions that nearly split the band at the height of success, as well as the phenomenal talent and vision that have produced songs like "Romeo and Juliet," "Private Investigations," and "Industrial Disease."
Illustrated with a wealth of exclusive photographs, this is the Dire Straits story; how it was and how it is.