Dire Straits - Mark Knopfler - Local Hero

Other Songs

Romeo and Juliet

Sultans of Swing

Water of Love (live in Rockpalast - Cologne, Germany, February 16th 1979)

Tunnel of Love-Carousel


"Sultans of Swing" Dire Straits 1978

Knopfler did not think very highly of it at first. As he remembered, "I thought it was dull, but as soon as I bought my first Strat in 1977, the whole thing changed, though the lyrics remained the same. It just came alive as soon as I played it on that 61 Strat which remained my main guitar for many years and was basically the only thing I played on the first album and the new chord changes just presented themselves and fell into place."  Inspiration for the song came from witnessing a jazz band playing in the corner of a practically deserted pub in Deptford, South London. At the end of their performance, the lead singer announced that they were the "Sultans of Swing", and Knopfler found the contrast between the group's dowdy appearance and surroundings and their grandiose name amusing.

[Verse 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 the music ring

[Verse 2]
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 blowin' that sound
Way on down south
Way on down south, London town

[Verse 3]
Check out guitar George
He knows all the chords
Mind, it's strictly rhythm
He doesn't want to make it cry or sing
Left-handed old guitar is all he can afford
When he gets up under the lights to play his thing

[Verse 4]
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

[Verse 5]
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
And the Sultans
Yeah, the Sultans, they play Creole
Creole

[Instrumental Solo]

[Verse 6]
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"