This has one of the greatest first lines in music if you ask me. Particularly this version from the Sultans of Swing greatest hits album.
“There’s gotta be a record of you someplace,
You gotta be on somebody’s books.”
It’s not just the lyric, but the way it’s delivered in Mark Knopfler’s almost conversational way. Every time I hear these first two lines, I have to smile. The casual phrase and the thought behind it (“man, I’d sure like to see [insert name]”) is captivating to me, and it draws you into a song you want to be drawn into.
Because check out these lyrics, y’all.
And then you have that swaying, cantering, forward-moving guitar line toward the end. So fantastically Knopfler. It’s one of those lines of guitar that wants to lead you to some sort of epiphany. Or at least a nostalgic thought. It’s brilliant.
Knopfler proves himself to be a first-rate musician over and over again, and it still disgusts me that Dire Straits are rarely given their due. The lyrics are always casual eloquence and Mark Knopfler is a guitar god. He doesn’t force, manipulate, or bend his guitar; he loves it and affectionately asks it to do his bidding. So it always complies.
And you get masterful songs like this as a result.