Telegraph Road (song)
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|Song by Dire Straits from the album 'Love over Gold'|
|'Love over Gold' track listing|
"Telegraph Road" is a song by British rock band Dire Straits and written by Mark Knopfler. It appeared on their 1982 album Love over Gold. Clocking in at 14:18 minutes long, it is rarely played by radio stations, yet has remained highly regarded over the years.
It was first played live at the opening concert of their "Making Movies" Australian tour (Perth Entertainment Centre, 22 March 1981) as the final encore.
The band played a slightly shorter version of the song on their 1984 album Alchemy: Dire Straits Live and a remixed version of that performance was included in their 1988 greatest hits album Money for Nothing. The original studio album version was included as the opening track on The Best of Dire Straits & Mark Knopfler: Private Investigations.
Inspired by a bus trip taken by Knopfler, the lyrics narrate a tale of changing land development over a span of many decades along Telegraph Road in suburban Detroit, Michigan. In the latter verses, Knopfler focuses on one man's personal struggle with unemployment after the city built around the telegraph road has become uninhabited and barren just as it began.
In an interview on RockLine, a "rock radio network" call-in show, broadcast live on 10 May 1983, Mark Knopfler said, while on tour, he... "in fact was driving down that road and I was reading a book at the time called Growth of the Soil [by the Norwegian author Knut Hamsun], and I just put the two together. I was driving down this Telegraph Road... and it just went on and on and on forever, it's like what they call linear development. And I just started to think, I wondered how that road must have been when it started, what it must have first been. And then really that's how it all came about yeah, I just put that book together and the place where I was, I was actually sitting in the front of the tour bus at the time." 
The song starts out with a quiet crescendo that lasts almost two minutes, before the song's main theme starts. After the first verse, the main theme plays again, followed by the second verse. After a guitar solo, a short bridge slows the song down to a quiet keyboard portion similar to the intro, followed by a slow guitar solo. Next, the final two verses, with the main theme in between, play. The main theme is played one last time, followed by a slightly faster guitar solo lasting about five minutes and eventually fading out.
- Mark Knopfler – vocals, electric guitar and resonator guitar
- John Illsley – bass guitar
- Hal Lindes – electric guitar
- Alan Clark – piano and keyboards
- Pick Withers – drums