5 facts you didn’t know about the song “Sultans of Swing” by Dire Straits
Updated: Mar 9, 2021
This catchy blues styled song with its iconic guitar riffs is one of our favorite Dire Straits songs. This is a staple for cocktail hour and a great track for sound checks as it was well recorded and has terrific dynamics.
It was released in May 1978, and then re-released in January of 1979 and hit number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100.
1. Mark Knopfler stopped by a pub in the south of London in the mid 70s. When he walked in, he saw it was mostly empty and a mediocre band playing in the corner. At the end of their set the band leader said their name was “The Sultans Of Swing”. Mark love the irony as their ability was no where near what he would call “Sultans”
2. Despite the name, the song is not played in a “swing” style.
3. The name “George” which is in song lyrics is reference to George Young, Angus Young’s brother (AC/DC).
4. This was Dire Straits first single and demo tapes were sent to multiple local radio stations in London to start a bidding between different record labels. The plan worked.
5. Alan Freed played trombone in his band named Sultans of Swing. He is credited with coining the term "Rock and Roll" on his radio show in Cleveland in the early '50s. It is ironic that the lyrics, "They don't give a damn about any trumpet playing band, it ain't what they call rock and roll" references the type of band Alan Freed led.
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