CSPC: Dire Straits Popularity Analysis


How many bands have nine 5-million selling albums with a catalog of 6 studio efforts only? Not many for sure. One of them is the cult band of Mark Knopfler, Dire Straits. Responsible for some of the most iconic records of the 80s, the group has now been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame some 40 years after their debut.

What was the sound of the Rock music scene from late 70s? Now that’s an interesting question. The Beatles installed the era which is now considered to be Classic Rock. During several years, all rock stars were following the same road. Some bands had harder sounds, others were softer, but the spirit and the roots of their songs were close.

This golden generation came to an abrupt end in 1974. Suddenly, there was no more Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel, the Rolling Stones were now failing to reach the Top 10 more often than not with their new singles, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin had passed away and Brian Wilson was struggling with his demons more than ever.

From 1974 to 1977, nobody seemed able to take over the massive hole let by the departure of many. A few Rock albums conquered English-speaking countries like Fleetwood Mac‘s Rumours, Meat Loaf‘s Bat Out Of Hell and Boston‘s eponymous debut, but they haven’t break over most markets. During several years the only rock album which did wonders globally was the EaglesHotel California.

This absence of cross-over rock album was no coincidence. With emerging genres as diverse as disco, reggae and punk, tastes of the general public were always more complex. To satisfy everyone and to continue to grow Rock had to evolve and to incorporate these new elements.

The year 1978 can be regarded as the trigger of this new generation. Many bands debuted on that season, four of which were going to sell an immense amount of records during the next few years: Van Halen, Police, Toto and of course Dire Straits. These bands offered songs with more varied instrumentals than their predecessors while paving the way to the following generation, the Arena Rock years of U2, Bon Jovi and Guns N’ Roses. Among rookies of 1978 no band was studied at Chartmasters so far. It is time to fix this anomaly!

As usual, I’ll be using the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept in order to relevantly gauge their results. This concept will not only bring you sales information for all Dire Straits‘s albums, physical and download singles, as well as audio and video streaming, but it will also determine their true popularity. If you are not yet familiar with the CSPC method, the next page explains it with a short video. I fully recommend watching the video before getting into the sales figures. Of course, if you are a regular visitor feel free to skip the video and get into the figures.

3.6 7 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

“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.