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Dire Straits — Sultans Of Swing
Album: Dire Straits
Avg rating:
8.7

Your rating:
Total ratings: 2786









Released: 1978
Length: 5:40
Plays (last 30 days): 1
You get a shiver in the dark
It's raining in the park but meantime
South of the river you stop and you hold everything
A band is blowing Dixie double four time
You feel alright when you hear that music ring

Well now you step inside but you don't see too many faces
Coming in out of the rain to hear the jazz go down
Competition in other places
Ah but the horns, they blowing that sound
Way on down south, way on down south, London town

You check out Guitar George, he knows all the chords
Mind, he's strictly rhythm, he doesn't want to make it cry or sing
Yes, and an old guitar is all he can afford
When he gets up under the lights to play his thing

And Harry doesn't mind if he doesn't make the scene
He's got a daytime job, he's doing alright
He can play the honky tonk like anything
Saving it up for Friday night
With the Sultans, with the Sultans of Swing

And a crowd of young boys, they're fooling around in the corner
Drunk and dressed in their best brown baggies and their platform soles
They don't give a damn about any trumpet playing band
It ain't what they call rock and roll
Then the Sultans, yeah, the Sultans they play Creole
Creole

And then the man, he steps right up to the microphone
And says at last, just as the time bell rings
"Goodnight, now it's time to go home"
Then he makes it fast with one more thing
"We are the Sultans, we are the Sultans of Swing"
Comments (413)add comment
The first time I heard this song it blew my mind.  I still think it's one of the most inventive tunes I've ever heard.  I am q/a ing some really boring code so thanks for the energy.
Great tune, but it would be nice to hear some other lesser known AC/DC songs seeing that this is considered an "eclectic" site that values itself on being anti-commercial radio.
Immediate volume turn-up, rating +0 (cuz it's already at a 10) - Long Live RP and RIP to my dad who LOVED this song and created fond memories of this while he lived in CDA ID. 
 BrightonGuy wrote:
I'm not rating the song on how I feel about it now, but how I felt about it THEN. For me this song was a complete revelation, and opened my mind to new musical possibilities, the way that Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, David Bowie/Roxy Music, Prince, and Radiohead have all, in their turn, done. Just waiting for the new messiah.....
 

To known the new messiah, you must listen The War on Drugs !
Dire Straits is well their godfather ^^ 
This song has always been a favorite of mine.

I sing in what might best be labeled a "Dad Band" even though we rarely play out, and the lineup is in constant flux.  More of a bunch of middle-aged men who enjoy playing music together.  One of the guitar players has this song dialed in.  So, in addition to being a great song and fun to listen to, it is even more fun to perform!
 MoZZ wrote:
Je ne peux m'en lasser
 
More French please, although I don't understand a word.  
Je ne peux m'en lasser
"You feel alright when you hear the music play"—could be RP's motto.
 blkstd wrote:
dear god how i love this song

 
I've heard this a million times and it still does it for me. Very few songs meet that standard.
...drunk and dressed in their best brown baggies and their platform souls...
Now that the time bell has rung I've bumped it from a 9 to an 11.  Oops, well a 10 will just have to do.
London hasn't been a town in a thousand years.

Still superb.
timeless.  
Always such a pleasure to hear this song!
Hello Guitar George !
 blkstd wrote:
dear god how i love this song

 
Me too:-). {#Daisy}
Damn, I've already rated this a 10.
This was, and is, such a great hymn to the hard-working journeymen and women of pub rock, who turn out to play in pubs night in, night out, for little or no reward. Most are of iffy quality, right enough, but you can't fault them for enthusiasm, and some are absolute gems.
 On_The_Beach wrote:
Great tune but I've just heard it way too many times.
Howzabout "Six Blade Knife" for a change?

 
bump
I'm not rating the song on how I feel about it now, but how I felt about it THEN. For me this song was a complete revelation, and opened my mind to new musical possibilities, the way that Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, David Bowie/Roxy Music, Prince, and Radiohead have all, in their turn, done. Just waiting for the new messiah.....
loved the 70's and these guys were the soundtrack!

thanks RP!
 blkstd wrote:
dear god how i love this song

 
me too..!
dear god how i love this song
 hencini wrote:
Not my favorite DS track by a long shot yet it still merits a 9. : )

Edit: I always enjoy looking at the ratings distribution. For this particular track, I get a kick out of the folks that disrupt the curve in the 3 range. It's like there's just enough people that think it's sufficiently "Ho Hum" to cause a ratings blip for a track that almost everyone else agrees is "Most Excellent" or better. 

 
This is by far my favorite DS song.  Got me hooked on the band way back in junior high, then Telegraph Road really opened my mind to the power of story telling through music.
Great tune but I've just heard it way too many times.
Howzabout "Six Blade Knife" for a change?
An classic at the first note{#Bananajam}
 EarthMama wrote:

The Deer Hunter, Midnight Express, Coming Home.......and then, how can I NOT mention Grease, Superman, Animal House, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Up in Smoke, and for chrissakes, CONVOY....they may not be great to you, but Grease and Animal House are a part of my youth (and that's just films from '78...my goodness, the music from that year was fantastic, whether you hated disco or not, I have fond memories of '78.) Nuff said.



 
Convoy...however did I miss that? O misspent youth!  {#Wink}
But yes, there were a lot of great movies and albums from that year and the ones just around it. 
 hencini wrote:
Not my favorite DS track by a long shot yet it still merits a 9. : )

Edit: I always enjoy looking at the ratings distribution. For this particular track, I get a kick out of the folks that disrupt the curve in the 3 range. It's like there's just enough people that think it's sufficiently "Ho Hum" to cause a ratings blip for a track that almost everyone else agrees is "Most Excellent" or better. 

 
I suspect that some of the low ratings for such 'classics' is because people hear it too much on RP.
hencini wrote:
Not my favorite DS track by a long shot yet it still merits a 9. : )

Edit: I always enjoy looking at the ratings distribution. For this particular track, I get a kick out of the folks that disrupt the curve in the 3 range. It's like there's just enough people that think it's sufficiently "Ho Hum" to cause a ratings blip for a track that almost everyone else agrees is "Most Excellent" or better. 

 
With the possible exception of Telegraph Road, this is my favorite DS song.  Both songs paint such a vivid picture in my mind, but of completely different situations. 
Not my favorite DS track by a long shot yet it still merits a 9. : )

Edit: I always enjoy looking at the ratings distribution. For this particular track, I get a kick out of the folks that disrupt the curve in the 3 range. It's like there's just enough people that think it's sufficiently "Ho Hum" to cause a ratings blip for a track that almost everyone else agrees is "Most Excellent" or better. 
Friday and Sultans Of Swing in the early morning:-). What would one want more?!{#Bananajam}
 Stingray wrote:

What films are you thinking about?

 

The Deer Hunter, Midnight Express, Coming Home.......and then, how can I NOT mention Grease, Superman, Animal House, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Up in Smoke, and for chrissakes, CONVOY....they may not be great to you, but Grease and Animal House are a part of my youth (and that's just films from '78...my goodness, the music from that year was fantastic, whether you hated disco or not, I have fond memories of '78.) Nuff said.


Genial!! Uno no se cansa nunca de escucharla...
 Stingray wrote:
10+++

 
10 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 EarthMama wrote:
'78 was an amazing year for music and movies....

 
What films are you thinking about?
10+++
 keymaster wrote:
Heh, I like the transition..."They don't give a damn about any trumpet playing band / It ain't what they call rock and roll" leads to a song by Duke Ellington that is full of trumpets.  You're not going to get neat touches like that without someone like Bill in the loop.

 
{#Lol}
I once was at a concert of a band that did good old school rock'n'roll with brass instruments. Sax and trumpet and everything. And then the played this song. I'll always remember the way they sung this specific line.
 molson wrote:
This album and Communique were pure genius!!!!

 
I would put Love Over Gold  and Making Movies up there as well
 ShamanManu wrote:
possibly my favorite song {#Daisy}

 
Definitely in my top 5, maybe top 3.


This album and Communique were pure genius!!!!
{#Bananapiano} 10+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
possibly my favorite song {#Daisy}
{#Bananajam}

10+++
 meoD8 wrote:
 
keymaster wrote:
Heh, I like the transition..."They don't give a damn about any trumpet playing band / It ain't what they call rock and roll" leads to a song by Duke Ellington that is full of trumpets.  You're not going to get neat touches like that without someone like Bill in the loop.
 
Which Duke Ellington song is that?



 

How High the Moon.  But then that was Big Band not electric guitar band
'78 was an amazing year for music and movies....
i just love this, for some reason.  

a friend calls all artists who speak—even in key—rappers. 

it's kind of hard to argue against but that definition pulls in a lot of folks. 
One of my favorite songs ever. When I heard Mr Knopfler playing this one on live in a concert 2 years ago I was close to heaven!
 Imkirok wrote:

My favorite guitarist, by far.



 

+1 


I think this stands up much better than "Money for Nothin' "  video era.  
Been played to death over the years, sounds dated, way too much biddly biddly guitar work ... but hell, good memories of the times. Big hair, sweat bands and all manner of other fashion crimes.
 BillG wrote:

There isn't a longer version. Not sure why so many people seem to think there is.

I'd happily be proved wrong on that. This one is 5:36. 

 
5m 49s on my old vinyl album (bought in Australia) with just a few more bars than the version played today. {#Eh}  5m 48s on Wiki.  It still ends during the final solo.
Not my favorite DS song but I really like just about everything else of theirs .
 Lazarus wrote:

Everybody in my church loves this song...
 

 
Everybody in my grade 9 class loved this song....{#Bananajam}
 richlister wrote:
God damn, If I could play 1/100th as good as Knopfler, I could die happy.

 
My favorite guitarist, by far.


 toomanyollys wrote:
What's with fading out the guitar solo before the end?! For a minute I thought I was listening to a commercial FM station!
 
There isn't a longer version. Not sure why so many people seem to think there is.

I'd happily be proved wrong on that. This one is 5:36. 

Everybody in my church loves this song...
 
God damn, If I could play 1/100th as good as Knopfler, I could die happy.
What's with fading out the guitar solo before the end?! For a minute I thought I was listening to a commercial FM station!
 Sideorder wrote:
One of the only classic rock radio staples to never get old.
 
I agree, 100%!
 
keymaster wrote:
Heh, I like the transition..."They don't give a damn about any trumpet playing band / It ain't what they call rock and roll" leads to a song by Duke Ellington that is full of trumpets.  You're not going to get neat touches like that without someone like Bill in the loop.
 
Which Duke Ellington song is that?


Heh, I like the transition..."They don't give a damn about any trumpet playing band / It ain't what they call rock and roll" leads to a song by Duke Ellington that is full of trumpets.  You're not going to get neat touches like that without someone like Bill in the loop.
 m_logie wrote:
You cut out the awesome guitar solo at the end again!
 
I agree!

I like their stuff. Anything they play is great! Those were the days...


 lerxst wrote:
Great song, but I'm very tired of it. I come to RP to hear stuff I don't hear every frickin day on the radio. RP is usually good about playing the more obscure stuff, but not this time.
 

Please proceed to the gate. You're UFO is about to depart.
One of the only classic rock radio staples to never get old.
 helgigermany wrote:
One of the best songs in rock buisness never gets old.
 
It does when you hear it this many times...please RP, no more! Classic rock radio has already killed it, it doesn't need any more. Gotta be some deeper Dire Straits cuts you can pull out. 
 m_logie wrote:
You cut out the awesome guitar solo at the end again!
 
This is the longest version there is (5:36)
One of the best songs in rock buisness never gets old.
You cut out the awesome guitar solo at the end again!
 vanmas wrote:
Too much Dire Straits or Mark Knopfler on RP is my opinion...
 
Totally agree!
 ScottFromWyoming wrote:
 
"He plays all the chords"
 djaychicago wrote:


Funny how much more I appreciate the guitar work on this song today compared to when it first came out I'm '78... A true classic.
 
Agreed.  I've heard this song at least 1500 times since '79, but it seems to be getting better.  I really wasn't much of a Dire Straits fan when they were big for about a decade, and even though it's still played frequently, it sure has aged well compared to some of the new crap I hear in 2012.
 mikerobinson wrote:
Awesome song, but boo to RP for cutting out the amazing guitar solo at the end.
 
Agreed :)
Especially as it segued into a trumpet playin' band (Duke Ellington). That ain't what they call rock 'n roll! :)

 LizK wrote:
Love This.. {#Jump}
 
Still.   {#Cool}
Great song, but I'm very tired of it. I come to RP to hear stuff I don't hear every frickin day on the radio. RP is usually good about playing the more obscure stuff, but not this time.
 Segue wrote:
this song is just as annoying as it was 33 years ago. RP has made DS tolerable with other songs but this one is ANNOYING
 

And i hope this song is gonna be annoying very often for years to come... {#Cheers}


This song is soooo good it puts a spring in my step this summer day...

 
this song is just as annoying as it was 33 years ago. RP has made DS tolerable with other songs but this one is ANNOYING
 romeotuma wrote:


This song is soooo good it puts a spring in my step this winter day...

 
 
We need to help romeo out here:

How about these:

This song is so good it makes my scrotum engorge.

This song is so good it makes me wetter than a hound dog swimming in the creek.

This song is so good it makes pi grow to the nth power

This song is so good it rivals a colonic irrigation

This song is so good it causes me to stumble and fall and break my hip

OK, gang, add to this now:

"This song is so good ........"

 
Remember when I was a kid thinking how bad-ass I was sitting in my dad's car and singing along, 'swearing' and everything! {#Cowboy}
Love This.. {#Jump}
Great album and I got to see these guys at the Bottom Line in the Village *  That was a good venue and show I actually remember - Hey It ain't called sex drugs and rock n' roll for nothing:)

* (also Van Morrison, Eliot Murphy, Bruce (he played there a lot on the way to famous) etc. Btwn CBGB, Tramps, the Peppermint Lounge and later the Knitting Factory, The Ritz, Irving Plaza et al (so many, plus the jazz clubs) it seemed like we were going to shows constantly.
 railroadwail wrote:
What a great talent.  You gotta love the Pogues!
 



Indeed a great talent. Funny how much more I appreciate the guitar work on this song today compared to when it first came out I'm '78... A true classic.
The best of the straits!!!
What a great talent.  You gotta love the Pogues!
 SinisterDexter wrote: Wait, who doesn't like the original post? 
 romeotuma wrote:
This song is soooo good my nipples get hard when I hear it.

romeotuma, you're new catch phrase is getting really tiring, really fast.

 


 helgigermany wrote:
Still a ten!
 
I agree...  this song is wonderful...

 
This is one of those timeless works such that I still recall
 - every time I hear it - where I was when I first heard it;
1978, at work, on an office radio.
It was like, "Holy shit. Who is this?"
Imprinted, for all time.
Yes, Bill.  Another good segue, and this is what I know about you from years of listening to RP: You love Mark K and so do I. 'They don't give a damn about any trumpet playing band."
 vanmas wrote:
Too much Dire Straits or Mark Knopfler on RP is my opinion...
 
It's too bad you're forced to listen to this free website.  Vibes, Bro.
The quote of this song "It ain't what they call rock n' roll" simply excellent!
Still a ten!
Reminds me of my youth.

Great song!
Too much Dire Straits or Mark Knopfler on RP is my opinion...
 romeotuma wrote:
This song is soooo good it puts a spring in my step this winter day...
 
{#Sunny}


This song is soooo good it puts a spring in my step this winter day...

 
Saw them play in a university basketball arena on their first U.S. tour in '78.  Another walk down memory lane: I always crank up the volume when I hear this.  This is keeping me awake to get through the end of the workday  Thanks RP.
{#Bananajam}

 romeotuma wrote:
This song is soooo good my nipples get hard when I hear it.

romeotuma, you're new catch phrase is getting really tiring, really fast.

 TuneAgeWhereWoof wrote:
Here we go again.  Gosh, its the RP AM DJ crew!  Hey let's hear some songs that are so overplayed they make our audience puke!  That's creativity, right?  
 
Go away.  Far, far away.   {#Razz}
 Byronape wrote:

That sounds enormously painful.
 


This song is soooo good my nipples get hard when I hear it...

 


 ozzie1313 wrote:
No doubt Dire Straits was great, but Knopfler's ongoing solo career is what elevates him to a '10' as a writer and guitarist.
 
Couldn't agree with you more.

 romeotuma wrote:


In punk yoga be doubled!
 
That sounds enormously painful.
Will never get tired of this song. Never ever!
Apart from MK being my musical hero, i have to say that Pick Withers is by far the best drummer that ever played with him. Maybe not technically, but he has a certain style i really love. The drums of Pick on the first two DS albums and especially in Sultans of Swing always stood out for me, excellent subtle work.

After the subtle drums of Pick came Terry Williams, the man's on crack when drumming. Major over the top fill-ins, constant open hi-hat and way too loud. He couldn't even stay in tempo.

After Terry Williams i believe Mark switched drummers a couple of times, but all were better than Terry's massive wall of drums.

In Knopfler's solo career he started with Chad Cromwell who now drums with Neil Young i believe. Also a very talented drummer who knows what a song needs and always drumming with the right dosage.

Nowadays Danny Cummings drums for Mark. He was one of the percussionists in the late Dire Straits era (>1990). But as a drummer i'd say mediocre at best. A shame, because a great drummer is just as important as any other instrumentalist if you ask me...
Just sayin'... {#Whistle}
Love this.
Feb 26 '12 - Yes, definitely, I love this
No doubt Dire Straits was great, but Knopfler's ongoing solo career is what elevates him to a '10' as a writer and guitarist.
In 1978 I had a real good job and went out to buy a real good HiFi- I hauled this record around to all the stereo shops to listen to equipment- its an excellent recording and sounded so fine on those zillion-dollar all-McIntosh stacks. It was a blast!

 Misterfixit wrote:
For the longest time I thought this song was about bi-sexual men who dressed in turbans and peacock feathers.  I was mistaken.
 
{#Roflol} I think you need experience of the UK  pub music scene to fully appreciate this song. My Dad played loads of pubs and I occasionally tagged along, and this song reminds me of those times.

Here we go again.  Gosh, its the RP AM DJ crew!  Hey let's hear some songs that are so overplayed they make our audience puke!  That's creativity, right?  
Love the album cover and all those songs. They came into my life quietly and got stuck on all mix-tapes and compliations I've created up through the years. Too good for ring tones! :)
Love Dire Straits, Love Mark Knopfler...BUT....This song should stay a distance way behind all of the other beautiful music MK does. This, with the exception of that brilliant guitar solo, seems like filler a.m. radio stuff compared to all the other less heard stuff he does. Still...this is a good tune. Just tired of it.

Holy crap you did cut the end of the song! {#Naughty}   Time for you to splice in another version of this epic song B&L! {#Clap}
yeah

 
mikerobinson wrote:
Awesome song, but boo to RP for cutting out the amazing guitar solo at the end.
 


Awesome song, but boo to RP for cutting out the amazing guitar solo at the end.


In punk yoga be doubled!  Love this song!


Aahhh, the clean strat sound catches me every time... Beautiful sound and even more beautiful playing... Such a progressive piece of music in the late 70's...

10
Great song, great album and yet, the resemblance with J.J. Cale is striking esp. in this first album of DS.
10
All the way to 11!

Never gets old...outstanding LP {#Bananajam}