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On new episode of 'Brian Johnson's A Life on the Road,' Mark Knopfler recalls writing "Money for Nothing"

Written by on November 15, 2019

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Nikolas Helbing/Courtesy of Eagle Rock Entertainment & AXS TVThe latest episode of AXS TV series Brian Johnson’s A Life on the Road features former Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler chatting with the AC/DC singer as they visit Northumberland, U.K., near where they both grew up.

On the episode, which premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, Knopfler chats about his journey to rock stardom and his heyday with Dire Straits, and shares the story behind the creation of his old band’s chart-topping smash “Money for Nothing.”

In a sneak preview, Johnson talks glowingly about “Money for Nothing,” noting that it featured a guitar riff “that was so hypnotic and catchy,” and had Sting singing, “I want my MTV.”

Knopfler tells Johnson that Dire Straits had been recording “Money for Nothing” on the Caribbean island of Montserrat, and because part of the song’s melody was based on The Police‘s “Don’t Stand So Close to Me,” he told his band mates that he wished Sting was there to sing on the track. To his surprise, one of the musicians informed him that Sting was there, vacationing on Montserrat.

“[H]e came straight up to the studio, and he sang great,” Mark notes.

Knopfler also talks about how he came up “Money for Nothing,” revealing that he’d been in a New York City appliance store and overheard a gruff delivery man talking about how lucky rock stars are.

“Actually, I started spying on him, between some microwaves,” Mark recalls. “[A]ll those lines, like, ‘That ain’t working, that’s the way you do it,’ ‘Them guys ain’t dumb’ [and] “Maybe get a blister on your little finger,’ I mean, he actually said that. And I thought, ‘How brilliant!'”

Knofler says he immediately asked someone for a pen and paper, and “started writing the song right there and then.”

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