Review of ‘My Life in Dire Straits’ by John Illsley

An entertaining easy-to-read memoir from bassist and founder member of Dire Straits, John Illsley. I didn’t know much about the band before I read this book, so it was very informative for me. It can be enjoyed by the most casual of fans, even if you only know a few of the songs.

From his provincial beginnings in Market Harborough, to student life in London, to the formation of the band and the success which led to six studio albums, massive tours and millions of sales, John tells it all in a straightforward and good-humoured way, with plenty of anecdotes. There aren’t any rock’n’roll shenanigans, however; they’re not that kind of band. If you’re a habitual reader of music memoirs, this will probably be one of the tamer ones. It does as promised and there’s nothing to complain about, other than that the descriptions of tour itineraries became repetitive and could have been more selective. There’s a foreword by Mark Knopfler and a good number of pictures are included. If you want to go deeper into what the songs are about, then the book won’t answer your questions. For the history of the band and a general picture of what it was like to tour and make the albums, then I recommend it.

Published in 2021 by Transworld.

5 thoughts on “Review of ‘My Life in Dire Straits’ by John Illsley”

    1. It’s a fun song which just says holidays and sunshine doesn’t it? πŸ™‚ My favourite is Money for Nothing, not a surprising choice but it’s an absolute classic.

      1. There is a lovely feeling of fun with Twisting by the Pool. Money for Nothing is a great song, too. And the intro to Walk of Life always makes me want to dance.

  1. Funny you should mention this book. I was listening to Dire Straits and “The Walk of Life” the other day and wondered whatever happened to them. I’ll look for this at the library.

    1. It happened to be at the library and I’m always up for a music memoir πŸ™‚ Definitely worth a read!

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