Walk of Life

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"Walk of Life"
Direstraits wof.JPG
Single by Dire Straits
from the album Brothers in Arms
B-side
  • "One World"
  • "Two Young Lovers" (live)
ReleasedOctober 1985
StudioAIR (Montserrat)
Genre
Length4:12
LabelVertigo
Songwriter(s)Mark Knopfler
Producer(s)
Dire Straits singles chronology
"Brothers in Arms"
(1985)
"Walk of Life"
(1985)
"Your Latest Trick"
(1986)

"Walk of Life" is a song by the British rock band Dire Straits, the third track on their fifth studio album Brothers in Arms (1985). It subsequently appeared on their live album On the Night (1993). It was released as a single October 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, becoming their third and last top ten hit. It was their biggest commercial hit in the UK (along with "Private Investigations"), peaking at number two. The track also appeared on three compilation albums: 1988's Money for Nothing, 1998's Sultans of Swing: The Very Best of Dire Straits, and 2005's The Best of Dire Straits & Mark Knopfler: Private Investigations.

History[edit]

Mark Knopfler had not originally intended "Walk of Life" for the album, but rather as a B-side to one of the singles. Dire Straits manager Ed Bicknell heard it when it was being mixed and convinced Knopfler to include it on the album at the last minute.[2]

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 riff played on a synthesizer-driven keyboard with hints of the blues. The singer mentioned in the lyrics, "Johnny", 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.

Two music videos were produced for "Walk of Life", the first video features the band playing the song in concert while the character Johnny is playing 1950s songs in a tunnel, the second video features the band playing with clips of sports bloopers.

Reception[edit]

Cash Box said that song recalls "the band's '50s rock infatuation first heard on 'Twisting by the Pool'", but that it "is a more profound but equally energetic effort".[3] Cash Box later said that "a light sound is balanced by a meaningful lyric and wrapped in trademark Knopfler guitar accents".[4] Billboard said that "Knopfler and friends bob out to a cajun/zydeco track that might have sounded weird if Rockin' Sidney hadn't broken the ice."[5]

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]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[32] Platinum 90,000double-dagger
Italy (FIMI)[33] Platinum 70,000double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI)[34] Platinum 600,000double-dagger

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

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bull, Debby (4 July 1985). "Brothers in Arms". Roling Stone. Retrieved 27 November 2021.
  2. ^ Rees, Paul (17 April 2015). "Sultans Of Swing: The Untold Story Of Dire Straits". Classic Rock. Louder Sound. Retrieved 22 June 2022.
  3. ^ "Single Releases" (PDF). Cash Box. 25 May 1985. p. 11. Retrieved 26 July 2022.
  4. ^ "Single Releases" (PDF). Cash Box. 2 November 1985. p. 15. Retrieved 2 August 2022.
  5. ^ "Reviews". Billboard. 2 November 1985. p. 73. Retrieved 2 August 2022.
  6. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – CHART POSITIONS PRE 1989". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
  7. ^ "Dire Straits – Walk of Life" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  8. ^ "Dire Straits – Walk of Life" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  9. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 0560." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  10. ^ "European Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Eurotipsheet. Vol. 3, no. 5. 8 February 1986. p. 12. Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  11. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Walk of Life". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  12. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 2, 1986" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  13. ^ "Dire Straits – Walk of Life" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  14. ^ "Dire Straits – Walk of Life". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  15. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  16. ^ "South African Rock Lists Website SA Charts 1969 – 1989 Acts (D)". Rock.co.za. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  17. ^ "Dire Straits – Walk of Life". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  18. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  19. ^ "Dire Straits Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 16 August 2021.
  20. ^ "Dire Straits Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved 16 August 2021.
  21. ^ "Dire Straits Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved 16 August 2021.
  22. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending FEBRUARY 1, 1986". Cash Box. Archived from the original on 2 October 2012.
  23. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Dire Straits – Walk of Life". GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  24. ^ "RPM's Top 100 Singles of 1985". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. 16 December 1985. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
  25. ^ "National Top 100 Singles for 1986". Kent Music Report. No. 650. December 1986. Retrieved 24 January 2023 – via Imgur.
  26. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts – 1980s". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
  27. ^ "Top 20 Hit Singles of 1986". Rock.co.za. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
  28. ^ "Top 100 Singles". Music Week. 24 January 1987. p. 24.
  29. ^ "Top 100 Hits for 1986". The Longbored Surfer. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
  30. ^ "Year-End Charts – Adult Contemporary Songs: 1986". Billboard. 2 January 2013. Retrieved 16 August 2021.
  31. ^ "The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1986". Cash Box. Archived from the original on 2 October 2012.
  32. ^ "Danish single certifications – Dire Straits – Walk of life". IFPI Danmark. Retrieved 23 August 2022.
  33. ^ "Italian single certifications – Dire Straits – Walk of Life" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 25 October 2021. Select "2021" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Walk of Life" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli" under "Sezione".
  34. ^ "British single certifications – Dire Straits – Walk of Life". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 4 September 2020.