Alan Clark (keyboardist)

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Alan Clark
Dire Straits 1985 Mark Knopfler Alan Clark Jack Sonni.jpg
Playing with Dire Straits in 1985
Background information
Born (1952-03-05) 5 March 1952 (age 62)
Great Lumley, County Durham England
Genres Rock and roll, folk rock, blues rock
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Keyboard instruments
Years active 1960s-present
Labels Vertigo Records, Warner Bros. Records (US)
Associated acts Dire Straits, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Geordie
Website alanclarkmusic.com

Alan Clark (born 5 March 1952 in Great Lumley, County Durham) is an English musician who was the first and main keyboardist for the rock band Dire Straits.[1]

Biography[edit]

As a young child Clark received piano lessons. Then whilst still a pupil at Chester-le-Street Grammar School he played Hammond organ in working men's clubs. He continued his formal musical education at Durham Technical College and was offered a place at the Guildhall School of Music, but turned it down because by then he was already forging a successful career in music. He played and recorded with a group called Splinter, who were signed to George Harrison's Dark Horse label, and also Gallagher & Lyle, and did a tour of summer festivals with Lindisfarne, which included Knebworth. He also appeared on a number of tracks of the Geordie album No Good Woman.

Clark joined Dire Straits shortly before the release of Making Movies in 1980, becoming their first and main keyboard player. His playing became an important element and transformed the band into the huge band they then became. While this is notable on their fourth album, Love Over Gold in 1982,[1] his style is also readily apparent on Dire Straits' live album Alchemy, but perhaps his greatest contribution was on the hugely successful Brothers in Arms album. Clark continued with Dire Straits, co-producing the following album, On Every Street with Knopfler, until the band's eventual breakup in the mid-1990s.[1]

In 1983 he contributed to Bob Dylan's album Infidels, which Mark Knopfler co-produced, and he played on the following Empire Burlesque album. Clark also worked with Knopfler on some of his film soundtrack work, most notably on the film Local Hero, in which he also makes a brief appearance as a piano player. He has also worked with Mark's brother David Knopfler on his solo albums and toured and recorded extensively with Eric Clapton as well as playing in the "Orchestra Nights" performances with the National Philharmonic Orchestra and Michael Kamen during the 24 Nights concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in 1990 and 1991. Throughout his time with Dire Straits, he was also Tina Turner's musical director, and played on and arranged her huge hit Private Dancer. Clark has also played and recorded with an eclectic range of other artists including the Bee Gees, Jimmy Nail, Escape Club, Joan Armatrading, Gerry Rafferty, Mick Hucknall, Bill Wyman, Sting, Van Morrison, Sly and Robbie, Shakin Stevens, Roger Daltrey, George Harrison, Elton John, Phil Collins, Bruce Willis etc.

In 2001 Clark composed the music for the hit paranormal show Most Haunted, and has composed many other themes for TV shows and radio commercials. In 2005 he wrote and directed a film to commemorate 25years of the Great North Run, called The Inspiration, which was screened and performed live with the northern Philharmonic, at The Sage in Newcastle.

Later in November 2005, Clark was a member of the house band at "The Hull Story", a tribute to the music of Alan Hull of Lindisfarne. The concert, which took place at Newcastle City Hall in aid of the Young Musicians Fund, is available on DVD. His Hammond playing features extensively throughout.

In 2010 Clark reunited with Dire Straits band members John Illsley and Chris White at the XRoads club in Rome, and has been recording and touring with German star Westernhagen, as well as writing and recording with many other artists at his state of the art studio, including up and coming star Jamie Squire.

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