This is the first time a song from this album has popped up on a Random Weekend, though this is the fifth of its 13 cuts to feature on the blog. If you don’t know the album, I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Mark Knopfler’s Sailing to Philadelphia is my third favorite album of 2000. This was Knopfler’s second solo effort (not including soundtrack work) and the first album of his I really dug into since 1988’s Dire Straits greatest hits collection Money For Nothing.
I’ve always loved Dire Straits’ sound, particularly Knopfler’s guitar work, but I’m far from a completist. I own Making Movies and Brothers in Arms — classics both — but other than the early hits, that’s it.
But Sailing to Philadelphia struck a nerve and continues to resonate nearly two decades later.
Back in the early weeks of the Song of the Day series, I did a theme week on duets. I wrapped up with Mark Knopfler and James Taylor singing the title song of Knopfler’s Sailing to Philadelphia.
Nearly a thousand songs later, I’m doing another week of duets, and I’m kicking it off with a track from the same album.
This time it’s Van Morrison joining Knopfler on ‘The Last Laugh,’ another stellar song from one of the most underrated albums of the 2000s.
I have a lot of one-off albums in my collection that I love despite not owning anything else by the artists who recorded them. Albums such as k.d. lang’s Absolute Torch and Twang, The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and The Afghan Whigs’ 1965, to name just a few.
In most cases, I’ve sampled other work by those artists and decided it wasn’t really my thing. But on that one album, they tapped into something special and earned a spot in my heart, and on my CD shelf, forever.
Now that I think about it, those albums are probably worth a theme week of their own. Stay tuned.
Mark Knopfler is one of those artists I feel I should like even more than I do. He’s written and performed some truly magical songs (and albums) and I have to believe he has a ton of music I’ve never heard that I’d really love.
Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms is, of course, a masterpiece. And Making Movies is another stellar album, full of Knopfler’s other-worldly guitar work and terrific songwriting. Tunes such as ‘Romeo & Juliet’ and ‘Brothers in Arms’ would make my short list of the greatest songs ever written.
And yet I don’t own any other Dire Straits albums and haven’t even tried to seek one out. I’m not sure why. It could be that their time sort of came and went before I got into them so there wasn’t the reminder that comes with new releases. And with so much new music to explore, it’s easy to forget about back catalogs.