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Happy Birthday to former Dire Straits guitarist and leader Mark Knopfler, who celebrates his 63rd birthday on Saturday (August 12th)!!! Knopfler formed Dire Straits in 1977 with his brother David Knopfler, bassist John Illsey, and drummer Pick Withers. They recorded their self-titled debut album after appearing as the opening act for Talking Heads' during their 1978 European tour.

Their 1978 breakthrough hit, "Sultans Of Swing," established Knopfler as a songwriter-guitarist in the vein of both Bob Dylan and Albert King. Knopfler went on to co-produce Dylan's return to secular music with his 1983 album Infidels. As a songwriter, Knopfler was a major force throughout the 1980's writing such Dire Straits classics as "Skateaway," "Romeo And Juliet," "Solid Rock," "Twisting By The Pool," as well as "So Far Away," "Money For Nothing," and "Walk Of Life" from the multi-platinum 1985 Brothers In Arms album.

Knopfler folded Dire Straits for good in 1995 and has spent the recent years occasionally playing with the side project the Notting Hillbillies, recording solo albums, and scoring films, most notably Wag The Dog.

In 2003 Knopfler broke six ribs and a collarbone after his motorcycle collided with a car in London.

Although Knopfler has proven himself a master in the studio, he says that unlike some musicians, he thrives on being out on the road: "I'm one of those lucky people. I enjoy the whole deal. Touring is one of those things where, when it's good, it's really very good -- or rather, when it's (laughs) very good, it's just great. It's buoyant, and it's great fun."

Mark Knopfler kicks off a 31-date North American tour with Bob Dylan on October 5th in Winnipeg.

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