Live at the BBC (Dire Straits album)

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Live at the BBC
Live album by
Released26 June 1995 (1995-06-26)
RecordedBBC Studios, London,
22 July 1978,
31 January 1981
GenreRoots rock
LabelWindsong (UK)
Vertigo (International)
Warner Bros. (USA)
Dire Straits chronology
Live at the BBC
Sultans of Swing

Live at the BBC is a live album by British rock band Dire Straits, released on 26 June 1995 on Vertigo Records internationally, and by Warner Bros. Records in the United States. The album was recorded on 22 July 1978 at BBC Studios in London, with one track recorded on 31 January 1981. The studio versions of the first six songs were released on Dire Straits. Live at the BBC was the band's third live album, preceded by Alchemy: Dire Straits Live (1984) and On the Night (1993).


Live at the BBC was released on 26 June 1995, the year in which the group officially disbanded. According to Knopfler, the album was released because Dire Straits still owed one album to Phonogram Records (now Mercury Records). This album was a means to end the legal contract, before Mark Knopfler began his solo career (still signed to Mercury).


Live at the BBC consists of eight songs, the first seven were recorded for the BBC Live in Concert series on 22 July 1978. The eighth song, "Tunnel of Love", was recorded for the BBC TV program The Old Grey Whistle Test on 31 January 1981, as stated in the booklet, but this version really comes from Westfalenhalle, Dortmund, Germany, recorded on 19 December 1980.

The album features one unreleased song, "What's the Matter Baby?", co-written by Mark Knopfler and his brother David. It is the only song to appear on a Dire Straits album not written exclusively by Mark Knopfler; while two other Dire Straits songs list Knopfler sharing writing credits — "Tunnel of Love" from Making Movies (with Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II) and "Money for Nothing" from Brothers in Arms (with Sting) — but in both cases the song itself was entirely written by Knopfler, with only a small contribution to the backing or arrangement by the other credited artist. The riffs and general structure of "What's the Matter Baby?" were largely recycled for the song "Lady Writer" from the band's second album Communiqué, which may explain why it was never re-recorded in the studio.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3.5/5 stars [1]

In his review for AllMusic, William Ruhlmann gave the album three and a half out of five stars, writing, "It's a modest effort from a modest band and, in that sense, a better representation of them than Alchemy or On the Night, both of which reflected their worldwide popularity."[1] The album stayed on the UK albums chart for one week.

Track listing[edit]

All songs were written by Mark Knopfler, except where indicated.

1."Down to the Waterline"4:10
2."Six Blade Knife"3:47
3."Water of Love"5:29
4."Wild West End"5:12
5."Sultans of Swing"6:38
7."What's the Matter Baby?" (David Knopfler, Mark Knopfler)3:20
8."Tunnel of Love" (Extract from "The Carousel Waltz" by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II)11:56
Total length:45:57



Chart (1995) Peak
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[2] 15
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[3] 45
UK Albums (OCC)[4] 71

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[5] Gold 50,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ a b Ruhlmann, William. "Live at the BBC". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  2. ^ " – Dire Straits – Live at the BBC" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  3. ^ " – Dire Straits – Live at the BBC". Hung Medien. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  4. ^ "Dire Straits | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
  5. ^ Salaverrie, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (PDF) (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Madrid: Fundación Autor/SGAE. p. 941. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. Retrieved 3 October 2019.