Walk of Life ~ Dire Straits

Dire Straits was a British rock band, formed in 1977 by Mark Knopfler (guitar and vocals), his brother David Knopfler (guitar), John Illsley (bass), and Pick Withers (drums), and subsequently managed by Ed Bicknell. Although the band was formed in an era when punk rock reigned, Dire Straits worked within the conventions of classic rock, albeit with a stripped-down sound that appealed to modern audiences weary of the overproduced stadium rock of the 1970s. In their early days, Mark and David requested that pub owners turn down the amps so that patrons could converse while the band played – indicative of their unassuming demeanor. Despite this oddly self-effacing approach to rock and roll, Dire Straits soon became hugely successful.

Dire Straits chose their name mainly due to the financial conditions the four band members were in at the time.

Walk of Life

The song was nearly excluded from the album when the co-producer Neil Dorfsman voted against its inclusion, but the rest of the band out-voted him.

The long introduction has become iconic in some circles, with an instantly recognisable melody played on a synthesiser organ patch. The singer mentioned in the lyrics is said to perform “down in the tunnels, trying to make it pay,” a reference to busking in the subway. The songs he plays are oldies, including “I Got a Woman”, “Be-Bop-A-Lula”, “What’d I Say”, and “Mack the Knife”. He also plays talking blues.

When the song was originally released, the band explained that a “walk of life” in the context of this song is a traditional journey taken by a storyteller in the countryside, in which he went from town to town telling stories, in the days before radio, television, and recording.

[flv]http://djallyn.org/media/walkoflife.flv[/flv]

Here comes Johnny singing oldies, goldies
Be-Bop-A-Lula, Baby What I Say
Here comes Johnny singing I Gotta Woman
Down in the tunnels, trying to make it pay
He got the action, he got the motion
Oh Yeah the boy can play
Dedication devotion
Turning all the night time into the day

He do the song about the sweet lovin’ woman
He do the song about the knife
He do the walk, he do the walk of life, yeah he do the walk of life

Here comes Johnny and he’ll tell you the story
Hand me down my walkin’ shoes
Here comes Johnny with the power and the glory
Backbeat the talkin’ blues
He got the action, he got the motion
Oh Yeah the boy can play
Dedication devotion
Turning all the night time into the day

He do the song about the sweet lovin’ woman
He do the song about the knife
He do the walk, he do the walk of life, yeah he do the walk of life

Here comes Johnny singing oldies, goldies
Be-Bop-A-Lula, Baby What I Say
Here comes Johnny singing I Gotta Woman
Down in the tunnels, trying to make it pay
He got the action, he got the motion
Oh Yeah the boy can play
Dedication devotion
Turning all the night time into the day

And after all the violence and double talk
There’s just a song in all the trouble and the strife
You do the walk, you do the walk of life, yeah he do the walk of life

  • Audio from the 1985 album, Brothers in Arms:

Click to Purchase
(470)

About DJ Allyn

DJ Allyn is a burned out radio guy who went on to become a burned out sound engineer for a few Seattle area grunge bands in the 1980s and 1990s. Left the madness of worldwide tours with bands, cleaned up my act and went into the relative sanity of sound engineering for television series. Currently working as the Director of Sound for a television series being filmed in North Vancouver, British Columbia. I am always on the lookout for interesting videos, old music, and fun.

One thought on “Walk of Life ~ Dire Straits

Got a comment?