Walk of Life

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"Walk of Life"
Direstraits wof.JPG
Single by Dire Straits
from the album Brothers in Arms
  • "One World"
  • "Two Young Lovers" (live)
Format7" vinyl, CD
Songwriter(s)Mark Knopfler
  • 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 from 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 in 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 (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.


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 synthesizers, 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 original music video for the song made for the UK features a busker or street musician wearing the same shirt as Mark Knopfler intercut with the band performing on a stage. However, the American version of the video, featuring comical sports highlight footage in place of the busker scenes proved more popular, with the Busker version being largely dropped.

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]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – CHART POSITIONS PRE 1989". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
  2. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Dire Straits – Walk of Life" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  3. ^ "Ultratop.be – Dire Straits – Walk of Life" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  4. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 0560." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  5. ^ "Musicline.de – Dire Straits Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  6. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Walk of Life". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  7. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Dire Straits - Walk of Life" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  8. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Dire Straits – Walk of Life" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  9. ^ "Charts.nz – Dire Straits – Walk of Life". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  10. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  11. ^ "South African Rock Lists Website SA Charts 1969 – 1989 Acts (D)". Rock.co.za. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  12. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Dire Straits – Walk of Life". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  13. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  14. ^ a b c "Brothers in Arms – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  15. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending FEBRUARY 1, 1986". Archived from the original on 2 October 2012.. Cash Box.
  16. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 43, No. 16, December 28 1985". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
  17. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts – 1980s". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
  18. ^ "Top 20 Hit Singles of 1986". Rock.co.za. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
  19. ^ "Top 100 Hits for 1986". The Longbored Surfer. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
  20. ^ "The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1986". Archived from the original on 2 October 2012.. Cash Box.

External links[edit]