CSPC: Dire Straits Popularity Analysis

Dire Straits in Concert 1985

Physical Singles Sales

As a reminder, the weighting is done with a 10 to 3 ratio between one album and one physical single.

Dire Straits (1978) – 474,000 equivalent albums

Water of Love – 20,000
Sultans of Swing – 1,490,000
Sultans of Swing (1988) – 60,000
Wild West End – 10,000

Communiqué (1979) – 108,000 equivalent albums

Lady Writer – 330,000
Once Upon A Time In The West – 30,000

Making Movies (1980) – 246,000 equivalent albums

Tunnel of Love – 260,000
Romeo and Juliet – 280,000
Skateaway – 280,000

Love over Gold (1982) – 237,000 equivalent albums

Private Investigations – 570,000
Industrial Disease – 110,000
Love Over Gold – 110,000

Brothers in Arms (1985) – 1,185,000 equivalent albums

So Far Away – 490,000
Money for Nothing – 1,850,000
Walk of Life – 1,300,000
Your Latest Trick – 60,000
Brothers in Arms – 220,000
Money for Nothing / Brothers in Arms – 30,000

On Every Street (1991) – 240,000 equivalent albums

Calling Elvis – 520,000
On Every Street – 70,000
The Bug – 50,000
You and Your Friend – 10,000
Heavy Fuel – 110,000
Ticket to Heaven – 40,000

Orphan – 24,000 equivalent albums

Twisting by the Pool – 80,000

Dire Straits never got a #1 single in the UK. Sultans of Swing, Money For Nothing, Walk of Life and Private Investigations were their only Top 10 hits. The story was similar in the US where their only Top 10 hits are the 3 former songs, with Money For Nothing hitting the top spot.

As we can see, like most rock bands, they weren’t strong sellers in this format. The 3 songs which made the Top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic are the only ones which sold more than 1 million units globally. Their career total is modest at 8,38 million units.

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“How can they be so high with this context? Well, thanks to sensational success in all other areas like Europe, Brazil and Oceania.”
But how many copies did they sell in Brazil?


I have rediscovered Dire Straits recently, and starting getting the MFSL SACD’s of their albums. Very good group.


Btw, do you know how many copies Brother in Arms sold in Portugal? It was a HUGE sucess, i guess its the best selling international record in Portugal




I just wanted to make a small correction, Romanza is not the only album that has confirmed more than 200,000 copies in Portugal, several Brazilian artists have passed the mark of 200000 there


One of my favorite bands of all time, great work!

They toured A LOT in europe, massive sales there


Impressive how Brother is Arms managed to sell 31M pure and I never heard about it or see it in any best selling lists.


I’m in the same boat, I couldn’t even think of one song by this band so I looked them up on Spotify and only recognized one song and didn’t like anything else I heard. It’s just not for me and I don’t know anyone who listens to them in my generation. However their spotify numbers are decent so someone is listening haha


You are probably not of the same generation as me 🙂
Brothers in Arms collected certifications everywhere: Diamond both in Canada and France, 24x Platinum in New Zealand, 17x in Australia, 14x in U.K., 9x in U.S.A. and a lot of others… Not my favorite album of them, but commercially a great success


I never thought that rock bands has extremely impressive sales. I never heard of Dire Straits. That is however some really2 impressive total.


Out of the top 10 best selling artists of all time, 8 are rock, in one way or another. Including Elvis, who hasn’t been studied yet.


Yeah, you are right. I only noticed that now. I also noticed that rockstars does not create as much as hype as a solo artists would. I mean MJ and Madonna was all over the media, but I guess since many of this rock stars are group. They somewhat receives less media attention as opposed to solo artists.


Impressive indeed. They should have not stop creating music.


You’re right, Dan, of course ! I was just talking about my faves but didn’t want to be too selfish… 😉


Mark Knopfler is still making albums, and he wrote all the Dire Straits songs.


I find the BIGGEST TRACKS is a very useful chapter! People not a fan of them like me can choose listening to the songs acoording to the list.


The Sound Of Music owns the longest run at #1 with 76 weeks in Australia. Unless you’re not including it?

Impressive sales in France but not too surprising given how popular they were here.


Very interesting, as always, MJD.
As you mention the fact that Dire Straits sales outsold The Beatles, may I suggest you to add (when you find time for that, of course) a total sales per country page for 3 acts : The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and David Bowie. It would be very, very appreciated. Maybe when you’ll update their sales ? Cheers.


Oups, I meant “Dire Straits outsold The Beatles IN FRANCE”, of course. Sorry…


I’d like to see per country for all acts, not just those 3.