• My Life in Dire Straits

  • The Inside Story of One of the Biggest Bands in Rock History
  • By: John Illsley
  • Narrated by: John Illsley
  • Length: 9 hrs and 8 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (27 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The first, and only, inside story of one of the greatest bands in rock history - Dire Straits - as told by founding member and bassist John Illsley

One of the most successful music acts of all time, Dire Straits filled stadiums around the world. Their albums sold hundreds of millions of copies and their music - classics like “Sultans of Swing”, “Romeo and Juliet", “Money for Nothing”, and “Brothers in Arms” - is still played on every continent today. There was, quite simply, no bigger band on the planet throughout the '80s.

In this powerful and entertaining memoir, founding member John Illsley gives the inside track on the most successful rock band of their time. From playing gigs in the spit-and-sawdust pubs of south London to hanging out with Bob Dylan in LA, Illsley tells the story of the band with searching honesty, soulful reflection, and wry humor. Starting with his own unlikely beginnings in Middle England, he recounts the band’s rise from humble origins to the best-known venues in the world, the working man’s clubs to Madison Square Garden, sharing gigs with wild punk bands to rocking the Live Aid stage at Wembley. And woven throughout is an intimate portrait and tribute to his great friend Mark Knopfler, the band's lead singer, songwriter, and remarkable guitarist. 

Tracing an idea that created a phenomenal musical legacy, an extraordinary journey of joy and pain, companionship and surprises, this is John Illsley’s life in Dire Straits. 

©2021 John Illsley (P)2021 Penguin Audio

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fantastically written

Dire Straits is my favorite band so getting this inside scoop from John was incredible. It's a wonderfully crafted and humble story. it confirms my suspicions that the members are all stand up guys with tremendous talents.

you'll love this book whether you are a DS fan or not. it's really a cool time machine back to the days where records were sold, getting a demo tape meant going to a studio and getting a song on the radio was the only way to get a chance.

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John Illsley & Mark Knopfler are class acts!

I was looking forward to this book & it did not disappoint. John Illsley doesn’t portray himself as a saint, but his decency is apparent. I enjoy books that let me peek into the lives of talented people, but I don’t think I’ve ever experienced any of them giving such praise to the roadies & others who are responsible to “put the show on the road” & he gives them ENORMOUS credit. Refreshing & admirable! Another add-on to this review is that my husband & I were quite fortunate to score great seats at a Mark Knopfler small venue concert in Dallas before COVID-19. (I count it as kind of a lifetime achievement concert!) Mark was gracious & friendly, telling bits of history of how the songs originated & performing them to perfection. He gave credit to the musicians with him (they were great) and it is easy to see how these two talented yet humble artists have maintained a friendship that spans so many years. Thanks for a terrific book that spotlights that talent nurtured by dedication & hard work can result in success beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.

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Masterfully crafted

Illsley gives a unique insight on the many facets of his experience as a member of Dire Straits that even many diehard fans were unaware of thorough vivid imagery and wonderful anecdotes.