Walk of Life (Dire Straits song)

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"Walk of Life"
Single by Dire Straits
from the album Brothers in Arms
B-side One World
Two Young Lovers (live)
Released 29 November 1985
Recorded December 1984
Genre Country rock, new wave
Length 4:12
Label Vertigo (United Kingdom), Warner Bros. Records (United States)
Writer(s) Mark Knopfler
Producer(s) Mark Knopfler
Neil Dorfsman
Dire Straits singles chronology
"Brothers in Arms"
"Walk of Life"
"Your Latest Trick"

"Walk of Life" is a song by the British rock band Dire Straits. It appeared on their best-selling album Brothers in Arms. It subsequently appeared on their live album On the Night. It was released as a single in November 1985 but had first been available as the B-side of "So Far Away" released in advance of Brothers in Arms. The track peaked at number seven in the US charts and was their biggest commercial hit in the UK, peaking at number two. The track also appeared on two compilation albums: 1998's Sultans of Swing: The Very Best of Dire Straits, and 2005's The Best of Dire Straits & Mark Knopfler: Private Investigations.


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.

A simple rock and roll rhythm is used, with chord changes limited to I, IV and V chords. The long introduction has become iconic in some circles, with an instantly recognisable melody played on a synthesiser organ patch, giving it a slight Cajun twist. 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", "My Sweet Lovin' Woman", and "Mack the Knife". He also plays talking blues.


Having itself been used as a flip side for the European version of the "So Far Away" single, "Walk of Life" had many different B-sides across different formats of release in different territories. The two songs most commonly used were a live version of "Two Young Lovers", which had previously appeared on the 1983 EP ExtendedancEPlay and "One World", the eighth track from Brothers in Arms. A double Vinyl released in the UK in 1985 featured the band's 1978 breakthrough Top 10 single "Sultans of Swing", as well as live versions of "Two Young Lovers" and the rare song "Eastbound Train", one of the first tracks that Dire Straits recorded as a band in demo format but never appeared on an album or as a single.

Music video[edit]

The music video for the song shown in the UK features a busker or street musician wearing the same shirt as Mark Knopfler intercut with the band performing on a stage, while the US video features various sports bloopers intercut with footage of the band performing the song on a stage.

Track listings[edit]

7" single
  1. "Walk of Life" – 4:07
  2. "One World" – 3:36
12" single
  1. "Walk of Life" – 4:07
  2. "Why Worry" (instrumental) – 3:56
  3. "One World" – 3:36

Chart performance[edit]

Preceded by
"The Sun Always Shines on T.V." by a-ha
Irish Singles Chart number-one single
23 January 1986 – 29 January 1986 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Borderline" by Madonna

Cover versions[edit]


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External links[edit]