MotoKicX serves up a song about or starring motorcycles every Thursday. This week: Dire Straits with ‘News’.
You are undoubtedly familiar with the monster hits ‘Money for Nothing’ and ‘Sultans of Swing’, the name ‘Cafe Racers’ may not be known. Yet that is the first name of the band that we now know as Dire Straits. On July 24, 1977, Mark Knopfler, his younger brother David, John Illsley and Pick Withers scraped together exactly 120 pounds to record their demo. It would later turn out to be one of the best investments in music history: that tape included ‘Wild West End’, ‘Sultans of Swing’ and ‘Down to the Waterline’. The Straits sent the demo to a BBC Radio DJ, and the rest is music history. Knopfler is a huge car and motorcycle enthusiast, and every now and then that passion intersects with the livelihood of the guitar genius. Take ‘News’, for example, which appeared on the album ‘Communiqué’ (1979).
He sticks to his guns
He take the road as it comes
It take the shine off his shoes
He says it’s a shame
You know it may be a game
Ah but I won’t play to lose
The song has remained under the radar for many, but is about a motorcycle accident. The last sentence (‘He make a line the news’) cannot be misunderstood. The ‘Sultan of Swing’ himself was not spared from motorcycle accidents: in 2003 he was knocked down by a car in London, after which he ended up in the rag basket with six broken ribs and a broken collarbone. Fortunately without further complications, his tour can continue later that year – and he still rides his motorcycle to this day.
Photography header: Archive A. Herl