What does Sultans of Swing mean?

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Dire Straits: Sultans of Swing Meaning

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Song Released: 1978


Sultans of Swing Lyrics

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...

  1. 1TOP RATED

    #1 top rated interpretation:
    anonymous
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    Jul 21st 2012 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.

  2. 2TOP RATED

    #2 top rated interpretation:
    anonymous
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    Oct 13th 2006 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)

  3. anonymous
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    Jun 6th 2020 report

    its k nolvo .africa ,zambia

    the song has been extraordinary .regards its meaning it has the greatest tune and rythem.since 1970 to 2020+.big up the dire straits

  4. anonymous
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    Jun 6th 2020 report

    the key is that,it has a beautiful tone and rhythm.regardless of its meaning.1970s till 2020+ stil on fire.thumbs up the dire straits

  5. anonymous
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    Jul 15th 2017 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

  6. anonymous
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    Jul 2nd 2017 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.

  7. anonymous
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    Jan 5th 2016 report

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

  8. anonymous
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    Apr 9th 2012 report

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

  9. anonymous
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    Apr 27th 2011 report

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

  10. anonymous
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    Feb 24th 2011 report

    Kam Fong as Chin Ho

  11. BogieD
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    Aug 4th 2010 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! :)

  12. anonymous
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    Jul 19th 2007 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...

  13. anonymous
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    Sep 22nd 2006 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.

  14. anonymous
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    Aug 2nd 2006 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"

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway

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