Guy Fletcher (Dire Straits)

Best known for being the keyboard player with rock band Dire Straits, the English multi-instrumentalist,Guy Fletcher was born May 24th 1960 Maidstone, Kent, Egland. He was born into a musical family and is the namesake of his uncle, Guy Fletcher, who has written several hit songs for other artists with composing partner Doug Flett. His mother Barbara was a session singer and his father Ted Fletcher, a well established audio designer, (Orbitsound) created a line of audio equipment named after Joe Meek with whom he had worked. Whilst learning a trade as an audio engineer at DJM Studios in London at the age of 15, Guy also had a succession of his own bands and learned to play keyboards, guitars, and a variety of stringed instruments. He joined and toured with Steve Harley’s ‘Cockney Rebel’ in 1979 and in 1981, Roxy Music for their ‘Avalon’ world tour.

In 1983, Guy was recruited by Dire Straits’ lead guitarist Mark Knopfler to work on the music for the films Cal and ‘Comfort and Joy, he joined Dire Straits in 1984. The group’s first album, Dire Straits  had little promotion when initially released in the United Kingdom . However, the album came to the attention of A&R representative Karin Berg, working at Warner Bros. Records in New York City. She felt that it was the kind of music audiences were hungry for, That same year, Dire Straits began a tour as opening band for the Talking Heads after the re-released “Sultans of Swing” which scaled the charts to number four in the United States and number eight in the United Kingdom. The song was one of Dire Straits’ biggest hits and became a fixture in the band’s live performances. “ Recording sessions for the group’s second album, Communiqué, took place in December 1978, Released in June 1979 Communiqué Featured the single “Lady Writer”, the second album continued in a similar vein as the first and displayed the expanding scope of Knopfler’s lyricism on the opening track, “Once Upon a Time in the West”. In 1980, Dire Straits were nominated for two Grammy Awards for Best New Artist and Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group for “Sultans Of Swing.In July 1980 the band started recording tracks for their third album. Making Movies which featured longer songs with more complex arrangements, a style which would continue for the rest of the band’s career. The album featured many of Mark Knopfler’s most personal compositions. The most successful chart single was “Romeo and Juliet” and was released in October 1980.

Dire Straits’ fourth studio album Love Over Gold, an album of songs filled with lengthy, experimental passages, was well received when it was released in September 1982, going gold in America and spending four weeks at number one in the United Kingdom, its main chart hit, “Private Investigations”, gave Dire Straits their first top 5 hit single in the United Kingdom, where it reached the number 2 position despite its almost seven-minute length, and became another of the band’s most popular live songs. along with “Industrial Disease”, a song that looks at the decline of the British manufacturing industry in the early 1980s. In 1983, a four-song EP titled ExtendedancEPlay was released while Love Over Gold was still in the album charts. It featured the hit single “Twisting By the Pool”. Dire Straits also embarked on a world tour, and the resulting double album Alchemy Live, a recording of two live concerts of the group at London’s Hammersmith Odeon in July 1983, was released in March 1984.

Dire Straits returned to the recording studios at the end of 1984 to record their biggest selling album to date, Brothers in Arms, which has so far sold over 30 million copies and contains the songs “Money for Nothing”, “Walk of Life”, “So Far Away”, “Your Latest Trick” and “Brothers in Arms”. Released in May 1985, Brothers In Arms entered the UK Albums Chart at number 1 and spent a total of 228 weeks in the charts, It went on to become the best-selling album of 1985 in the UK, “Money for Nothing” was also the first video ever to be played on MTV in Britain and featured guest vocals by Sting, who is credited with co-writing the song with Mark Knopfler, although in fact, it was just the inclusion of the melody line from “Don’t Stand So Close To Me”.Brothers in Arms was among the first albums recorded on digital equipment due to Knopfler pushing for improved sound quality The album’s title track is reported to be the world’s first CD single. The album is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first compact disc to sell a million copies, and has been credited with helping to popularise the CD format.

The Dire Straits sound drew from a variety of musical influences, including jazz, folk, blues, and came closest to beat music within the context of rock and roll. Despite the prominence of punk rock during the band’s early years, the band’s stripped-down sound contrasted with punk, demonstrating a more “rootsy” influence that emerged out of pub rock. Many of Dire Straits’ compositions were melancholic and they have gone on to became one of the world’s most commercially successful bands, with worldwide album sales of over 120 million. making them One of the world’s best selling music artists, and their fifth album, Brothers in Arms, has won many accolades. In November 2009, Dire Straits were honoured by the new PRS for Music Heritage Award. A special blue plaque was erected at Farrer House, Church Street, Deptford in south London, where the original group, Mark Knopfler, David Knopfler, John Illsley and Pick Withers once shared a council flat and performed their first ever gig in 1977. PRS for Music has set up the Heritage Award to recognise the unusual “performance birthplaces” of famous bands and artists. Dire Straits have also won numerous music awards during their career, including four Grammy Awards, three Brit Awards—winning Best British Group twice, and two MTV Video Music Awards.

Following the disbanding of Dire Straits in 1995, Fletcher continued his association with former band founder, Mark Knopfler, as a core member of his band after launching his solo career. Between late February and August, 2005, Fletcher completed a world tour as his sideman, promoting Knopfler’s 2004 solo album, Shangri-La, and in 2006 rounded off the duets tour with Knopfler and Emmylou Harris. Fletcher also toured as part of Bryan Ferry´s band on his Mamouna world tour.Fletcher co-produced and played keyboards on Knopflers solo album, Get Lucky, and was again part of his subsequent world tour in 2010. Fletcher’s first solo album, Inamorata, was released on 28 January 2008. Mark Knopfler guests as lead guitarist for two tracks, and various musicians who have been associated with Knopfler’s band also make appearances.On 24 May 2010, Fletcher released his second solo album, titled Natural Selection.

The times they are a Changin’

Influential American musician, singer-songwriter, music producer, artist, and writer Bob Dylan was born; May 24, 1942.  He has been an influential figure in popular music and culture for more than five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly reluctant figurehead of social unrest. A number of Dylan’s early songs, such as “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “The Times They Are a-Changin'”, became anthems for the US civil rights and anti-war movements. Leaving his initial base in the culture of folk music behind, Dylan’s six-minute single “Like a Rolling Stone” radically altered the parameters of popular music in 1965.

His recordings employing electric instruments attracted denunciation and criticism from others in the folk movement.Dylan’s lyrics have incorporated a variety of political, social, philosophical, and literary influences. They defied existing pop music conventions and appealed hugely to the then burgeoning counterculture. Initially inspired by the performance style of Little Richard, and the songwriting of Woody Guthrie, Robert Johnson, and Hank Williams, Dylan has both amplified and personalized musical genres. His recording career, spanning fifty years, has explored many of the traditions in American song—from folk, blues, and countryto gospel, rock and roll, and rockabilly to English, Scottish, and Irish folk music, embracing even jazz and swing. Dylan performs with guitar, keyboards, and harmonica. Backed by a changing line-up of musicians, he has toured steadily since the late 1980s on what has been dubbed the Never Ending Tour. His accomplishments as a recording artist and performer have been central to his career, but his greatest contribution is generally considered to be his songwriting. Since 1994, Dylan has published three books of drawings and paintings, and his work has been exhibited in major art galleries.

As a songwriter and musician, Dylan has sold more than 100 million records worldwide and received numerous awards over the years including Grammy, Golden Globe, and Academy Awards; he has been inducted into theRock and Roll Hall of Fame, Minnesota Music Hall of Fame, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and Songwriters Hall of Fame. The Pulitzer Prize jury in 2008 awarded him a special citation for “his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power.” In May 2000, Dylan was awarded thePolar Music Prize. In May 2012, Dylan received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama