Brothers in Arms (song)

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"Brothers in Arms"
Brothers-in-arms-single-86-cover 500.jpg
Single by Dire Straits
from the album Brothers in Arms
Released18 October 1985
StudioAIR (Montserrat)
Songwriter(s)Mark Knopfler
  • Neil Dorfsman
  • Mark Knopfler
Dire Straits singles chronology
"Money for Nothing"
"Brothers in Arms"
"Walk of Life"

"Brothers in Arms" is a ballad by British rock band Dire Straits, the closing track on their fifth studio album of the same name, released on 18 October 1985. It was written in 1982, the year of Britain's involvement in the Falklands War. In 2007, the 25th anniversary of the war, Mark Knopfler recorded a new version of the song at Abbey Road Studios to raise funds for British veterans who he said "are still suffering from the effects of that conflict."[1] "Brothers in Arms" has become a favourite at military funerals.[2]


This song was written during the Falklands War and is described by some as an anti-war song.[3]


There are two studio recorded versions of this song: the album version which is 6:55 minutes, and the shorter version which is 6:05 minutes and features slightly different (and shorter) solos at the beginning and end of the song. The version that appears on Dire Straits' greatest hits album, Sultans of Swing: The Very Best of Dire Straits, is 4:55. The version included on the live album On the Night contains an extra pedal steel guitar solo and is 8:55. The full-length, studio album version (6:55) was also included on the 2005 compilation Private Investigations.

Mark Knopfler recorded and usually played the song on a Gibson Les Paul Standard guitar, rather than his usual Fender "Stratocaster",[4][better source needed] and the sunburst Les Paul appears in the distinctive promo video,[citation needed] which is in the style of a charcoal drawing, interspersing scenes of the band playing with scenes of war. During Dire Straits' 1992 "On Every Street" tour, Knopfler used his Pensa-Suhr MK1 for this song, like most of the others.

"Brothers in Arms" was first released as a single on 14 October 1985.[5] The song is reported to be the first CD single ever released;[6][better source needed] it was released in the United Kingdom in 1986.

The song's lyrics, influence, and impact were discussed from a variety of musical and personal perspectives in the BBC radio programme and podcast Soul Music first broadcast in September 2012.[7]


Classic Rock critic Paul Rees rated "Brothers in Arms" to be Dire Straits' 5th greatest song, citing its "dignified but lasting power" and a "stunning guitar solo."[8]

Music video[edit]

The music video, directed and animated by Bill Mather, produced by Simon Fields through Limelight Films and cinematographed by Francis Kenny,[9] uses rotoscoping and shows the band performing, overlaid with images of the First World War. In contrast with the at-that-time very modern clip in "Money for Nothing", the video clip has a very classic appearance in noisy black and white images.[10]

"Brothers in Arms" won Grammy Award for Best Music Video at the 29th Annual Grammy Awards on 24 February 1987.

Use as soundtrack for films and TV series[edit]

The song appeared in the second-season episode "Out Where the Buses Don't Run" of Miami Vice, the third-season episode "I Coulda Been a Defendant" of Due South, and the second season finale of The West Wing, "Two Cathedrals".[11] In each instance, it is used over the climactic scenes of the episode. It was also featured in the 1991 film McBain, the 2001 movie Spy Game and in the series finale, "START", of The Americans as well as the episode "Say Again Your Last" in SEAL Team. It was used as the title music to the 1992 BBC drama series Civvies. The song also appeared in the series finale of Supernatural.

Track listings[edit]

7" single (DSTR 11)

  1. "Brothers in Arms" - 6:04
  2. "Going Home (Theme of the Local Hero)" (Live) - 4:45

12" Maxi-Single (DSTR 1112)

  1. "Brothers in Arms" (Full Length Version) - 6:58
  2. "Going Home (Theme of the Local Hero)" (Live) - 4:45
  3. "Why Worry" (Instrumental Segment)


Chart (1985/88) Peak
UK Singles Chart 16
Irish Singles Chart 10
Polish Single Chart[12] 1
Dutch Top 40 59[13]
Australian Singles Chart 57
New Zealand Singles Chart 5


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[14] Gold 45,000double-dagger
Italy (FIMI)[15] Gold 35,000double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI)[16] Gold 400,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "New version of 'Brothers in Arms' to raise funds for Falklands veterans". Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  2. ^ Producer: Lucy Lunt (18 September 2012). "Brothers in Arms". Soul Music: Series 14 Episode 4 of 5. BBC. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  3. ^ Beviglia, Jim (29 June 2015). "Lyric of the Week: Dire Straits, "Brothers in Arms"". Archived from the original on 1 July 2015. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  4. ^ "Guitar Stories: Mark Knopfler on the Six Guitars That Shaped His Career". Open Culture. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  5. ^ "Dire Straits - Brothers in Arms". Ultratop. Retrieved 4 December 2020.
  6. ^ "Keith Hirsch's CD Resource » Blog Archive » The first CD Single: Dire Straits "Brothers in Arms"".
  7. ^ Producer: Lucy Lunt (18 September 2012). "Brothers in Arms". Soul Music: Series 14 Episode 4 of 5. BBC. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  8. ^ Rees, Paul (17 April 2015). "The Top 10 Best Dire Straits Songs". Classic Rock. Louder Sound. Retrieved 22 June 2022.
  9. ^ Brothers in Arms: The Videosingles (liner notes). Dire Straits. PolyGram Videdo. 1985.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  10. ^ "Brothers In Arms by Dire Straits". Songfacts.
  11. ^ "Brothers in Arms: the sound of The West Wing, Brothers in Arms, Series 14, Soul Music - BBC Radio 4". BBC. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
  12. ^ "Lista Przebojów Programu 3" (in Polish). LP3. Retrieved 30 November 2018.
  13. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms". Archived from the original on 25 October 2012. Retrieved 24 April 2021.
  14. ^ "Danish single certifications – Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms". IFPI Danmark. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  15. ^ "Italian single certifications – Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 25 October 2021. Select "2021" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Brothers in Arms" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli" under "Sezione".
  16. ^ "British single certifications – Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 5 June 2020.