Knopfler was born on 12 August 1949 in Glasgow, Scotland to an English mother and Hungarian-Jewish father. At the age of seven, Knopfler moved to Northumberland with his family where he attended Gosforth Grammar School with his younger brother David.
From a young age, he started playing the guitar and listened to Elvis Presley and BB King for inspiration. He formed and joined bands at school before pursuing a journalism career from 1970.
In 1973 he moved to London, where he joined the band Brewers Droop and became a lecturer at Loughton College in Essex where he stayed for three years. By the mid 1970s he had formed the band Café Racers. His brother joined him in London and the pair moved in with John Illsley, who Knopfler asked to join Café Racer, which became Dire Straits.
Though Dire Straits began as a group with a permanent line-up, it evolved into a title for Knopfler with varying personnel. An apolitical alternative to punk in the radical late 1970s and early 1980s, his restrained, thoughtful songs were characterised by mournful guitar and world-weary vocals.
The band’s third album, ‘Making Movies’, was his most personal, featuring what has become his best-loved song, ‘Romeo and Juliet’, about a failed love affair. For the most part, Knopfler kept the deepest part of himself out of his songwriting, creating fictional characters and narratives.
After the demise of Dire Straits in 1995, he returned to a more personal style for his debut solo album, ‘Golden Heart’, in 1996.
He has continued to pursue a successful solo career releasing ‘Sailing to Philadelphia’ in 2000, which has been his most popular record so far. This was followed by ‘The Ragpicker’s Dream’ in 2002, ‘Shangri-La’ (2004), ‘Kill To Get Crimson’ (2007) and ‘Get Lucky’ in 2008.
Having received song credits for two 1980 movies (‘Brothers and Sisters’ and ‘Riding High’), Knopfler composed an enchanting score for Bill Forsyth’s ‘Local Hero’, and also worked with the director on ‘Comfort and Joy’, in 1984.
Knopfler, who has performed his songs for many movies, was featured guitarist and music producer for Barry Levinson’s ‘Wag the Dog’ in 1997, in addition to composing its score. Among his other film scores are music for Rob Reiner’s ‘The Princess Bride’, and ‘Last Exit To Brooklyn’. He has also collaborated with artists such as the Chieftains, Waylon Jennings and Vince Gill.
Mark has been married three times, and has twin sons from his second marriage and two daughters with his current wife, actor Kitty Aldridge.
Mark Knopfler is available for corporate events, private shows, milestone celebrations (birthday, anniversary), fundraisers, festivals, and more.