What does Sultans of Swing mean?

Search Login

Dire Straits: Sultans of Swing Meaning


No tags, suggest one.

Song Released: 1978

Get "Sultans of Swing" on MP3:

Get MP3 from Amazon
Get MP3 from iTunes

Sultans of Swing Lyrics

Play "Sultans of Swing"
on Amazon Music

You get a shiver in the dark
Its been raining in the park but meantime
South of the river you stop and you hold everything
A band is blowing dixie double four time
You feel all right when you hear that music ring

You step inside but you...


    click a star to vote
    Oct 13th, 2006 10:59am report

    This song is about an aging jazzband doing what they love. They never made it big, and the joint isn't full, but they keep at doing what they love, regardless of the silly style of the time( hence the crowd of young boys-that ain't what they call rock n roll, line)


    click a star to vote
    Jul 15th, 2017 7:55pm report

    SoS was the greatest song ever written and played.
    I still remember the very first time I heard it.
    I was driving to Sun Valley Idaho to go skiing about 1978.
    I kept turning the dial to try and hear it again and again.
    It started my love of Dire Straits and Knopfler.
    Since then I have listened to him for many thousands of hours.
    BTW I am 76 years old and still love it as many ch as ever.
    Sometimes I am overwhelmed at one of his riffs or his smooth understated style. He makes it look easy


    click a star to vote
    Jul 2nd, 2017 7:30pm report

    About a eastern rock jazz band that were in dire straits to make Themselves known to the west that called Themselves ''The Sultans Of Swing''. Or you can say and feel that this song can also be about the Muslim freedom of power and expression of the Sultans. Going back even before the Ottoman Empire ruled, when the Pope had a big influence on Their Profit that backfired.


    click a star to vote
    Jan 5th, 2016 1:13pm report

    Mark Knoepfler wrote this song on a piccolo and as such had no Bb note until it was recorded on guitars.


    click a star to vote
    Jul 21st, 2012 7:39am report

    Mark Knopfler said that this song was inspired by a band he listened to in a pub in London, and more or less describes his experience of the event.


    click a star to vote
    Apr 9th, 2012 4:07pm report

    The king of rock n roll -----DJ Alan Freed formed a Band called Sultans of Swing long before Dire Straits existed......Just saying!


    click a star to vote
    Apr 27th, 2011 4:35am report

    It was inspired by Harry Vanda and George Young - Classic songwriters Vanda/Young - EasyBeats


    click a star to vote
    Feb 24th, 2011 2:33pm report

    Kam Fong as Chin Ho


    click a star to vote
    Aug 4th, 2010 8:20am report

    This song is a simple but classic celebration of the varying circumstances and styles of typical small-club musicians who pound out the tunes on any given night. It's a rallying cry for those of us who are small-time musicians! :)


    click a star to vote
    Jul 19th, 2007 7:04pm report

    This song I feel is in fact about the dire straits themselves
    and about the music scene back then in general....
    there was a time when they were fuckin poor n played on the streets.... Thus the name dire straits....
    however the beauty of the song lies in Knopfler writing it as a joyful experience rather than a painful saga...


    click a star to vote
    Sep 22nd, 2006 9:23pm report

    Seems like the song is a commentary on the music scene at the time mid-late 1970's in this case, but perhaps in any era. A status-quo of professional,and industry-minded musicians putting out the same competent, commercial, product that was successful over the last few years, with the expected result:

    "you check out guitar george, he knows all the chords
    mind he's strictly rhythm he doesn't want to make it cry or sing
    and an old guitar is all he can afford"

    nothing original or heartfelt here, just business as usual without any real spark of originality. Just the "old guitar" ... Old music and ideas.

    "and harry doesn't mind if he doesn't make the scene
    he's got a daytime job he's doing alright"

    doesn't speak to anyone, really! Harry's just in there to make a few dollars, not really say anything.

    The song then alludes to the emerging punk/glam/progressive/marginalized/whatever scene ...

    "and a crowd of young boys theyre fooling around in the corner
    drunk and dressed in their best brown baggies and their platform soles
    they don't give a damn about any trumpet playing band
    it aint what they call rock and roll"

    the next "swing" of music is on it's way and things will change ... The "crowd of youg" will decide what shape it will take:

    "thank you goodnight now its time to go home
    and he makes it fast with one more thing
    we are the sultans of swing"

    the fact that music is constantly changing and evolving seems to be the theme of the song. Each generation carving it's own unique definition of it.


    click a star to vote
    Aug 2nd, 2006 8:48pm report

    Sultans of swing is about a local rock band (the sultans of swing) that plays "real" rock and are annoyed at all the "trumpet playing bands"

More Dire Straits song meanings ยป


Submit Your Interpretation

[ want a different song? ]

Just Posted

Arlandria anonymous
Wonderful DepressMode
When Can I See You Again anonymous
Return To Innocence anonymous
Bohemian Rhapsody anonymous
Strangelove anonymous
Jump Out The Window anonymous
Retro Rockets anonymous
Sippy Cup anonymous
Banana Pancakes anonymous
Hurricane anonymous
What's Up anonymous
Three Little Birds anonymous
Thought Contagion anonymous
Mr. Tambourine Man anonymous

Get a weekly email update

(We won't give out your email)

Latest Releases

Queen Naija
Take You Home
Cassadee Pope
Lost It
Rich The Kid
Get Along
Kenny Chesney
High Noon Neon
Jason Aldean
Rescue Me
30 Seconds To Mars
I Was Never There
Weeknd, The