My Life in Dire Straits

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What to expect

Brought to you by Penguin.

With a foreword by MARK KNOPFLER

Dire Straits filled giant stadiums around the world and sold hundreds of millions of records. Throughout the eighties they were the biggest band on the planet. Their classic songs – ‘Sultans of Swing’, ‘Romeo and Juliet’, ‘Money for Nothing’, ‘Brothers In Arms’ – formed the soundtrack of a generation and live on today: still racking up sales, still being played on the radio on every continent.

In My Life in Dire Straits, John Illsley – founder member, bassist and mainstay – evokes the spirit of the times and tells the story of one of the great live acts of rock history. Starting with his own unlikely beginnings in Middle England, he recounts the band’s rise from humble origins in London’s spit-and-sawdust pubs to the best-known venues in the world, the working man’s clubs to Madison Square Garden, gigging with wild punk bands to the Live Aid stage at Wembley. Until, ultimately, the shattering demands of touring on a global scale and living life in the spotlight took their inevitable toll.

John’s story is also a tribute to his great friend Mark Knopfler, the band’s lead singer, songwriter and gifted guitarist – the only band members to stay the fifteen-year distance. Told with searching honesty, soulful reflection and wry humour, this is the first and only account of that incredible story.

© John Illsley 2021 (P) Penguin Audio 2021

Critics Review

  • An uplifting journey through the sheer hard work, pitfalls and thrills of navigating a great rock band to the pinnacle of success. I so enjoyed the ride!

    Roger Taylor
  • Captures the early days of the “English bands” and their story. The ups and downs, relationships, craziness and fun… This really happened!

    Mike Rutherford
  • A wry and witty account of life in one of the world’s biggest and unlikeliest supergroups and the music industry in its heyday… John Illsley is a charming, amusing and observant companion.

    Mariella Frostrup
  • Frank, funny and tender. If you loved their music, you’ll adore this book.

    Nicholas Evans
  • Fans will be mesmerized.

    Publishers Weekly

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