Dire Straits Icon Mark Knopfler’s Obsession With Elvis Presley

Dire Straits’ lead vocalist and guitarist, Mark Knopfler, recently posted a clip from a rare interview that he gave in 1999 on his Instagram account, during which he confessed his extreme love for Elvis Presley which encouraged him to pursue a career as a musician.

As you know, Knopfler was born in 1949, and his passion for music started when he was still a child, inspired by his uncle’s boogie-woogie and piano playing. During the ’60s, he formed and joined numerous bands, and in later interviews, he said that during that time he listened and studied guitarists such as Chet Atkins and Scotty Moore but that his favorite singer was Elvis Presley.

Mark Knopfler’s Tribute To Elvis Presley With Dire Straits’s ‘Calling Elvis’

Mark Knopfler co-founded Dire Straits in 1977 and the band achieved great success in the ’80s. He showed the first signs of his love and appreciation of Elvis by mentioning him as one of his biggest idols. However, he paid tribute to the late rockstar in the most meaningful way by writing ‘Calling Elvis‘ which appeared on Dire Straits’ final studio album, On Every Street (1991).

The song tells the story of an Elvis fan who believes that that the rockstar is not dead and refers to some of Elvis’ most popular songs such as ‘Don’t Be Cruel,’ ‘Heartbreak Hotel,’ ‘Love Me Tender,’ and more. With his recent Instagram post, Knopfler repeated his unending love for Elvis Presley while revealing that he was actually obsessed with the icon when he was a child.

Was Mark Knopfler Obsessed With Elvis Presley?

In the interview that he did back in 1999, Mark was asked by the interviewer whether he can remember when the first time he heard about Elvis was. To this, Mark responded by saying that of course he does, and added that he even remembers when he saw some photos of Elvis for the first time.

Apparently, they had put his photos on some plastic guitars and Knopfler wanted one a lot. However, it was only years later that he got a guitar of his own and unfortunately, it didn’t have a photo of Elvis on it. In the interview, he also admitted that he was ‘slightly obsessed’ with Elvis and added that ‘If you wait long enough, the obsession really takes a hold‘ which may be a reference to the song he wrote, ‘Calling Elvis.’

Here’s what Mark Knopfler said in the caption of his recent post:

Mark talks about his childhood obsession with Elvis Presley, in a 1999 interview at Ronnie Scott’s.

Footage courtesy of Dan Griffin.”

The interviewer asked Mark [transcribed by RC]:

“Do you remember when you first heard Elvis?”

And he replied:

“Well yes, I do remember, and I remember the first time I actually saw the pictures of Elvis. One of the very earliest pictures of Elvis that I remember seeing was on the head of a plastic guitar in a shop, and I remember really wanting one. I was pretty small. And I had to wait for an awfully long time before I got a guitar. Didn’t have a picture on it, it was a bit better than the plastic.

But… it’s a romance you know, you’ve got to be slightly obsessed, and I think I was. If you wait long enough, the obsession really takes hold.”

You can check out the interview and listen to ‘Calling Elvis’ below.