Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Max Bygraves (1922 - 2012)

Walter William Bygraves was born in Rotherhithe, South-East London in 1922. His father Henry, a professional flyweight boxer, (Battling Tom Smith) and casual dockworker; and mother Lillian (née McDonnell) brought up their 9 children in a two-room council flat. Young Walter earned his pocket money dragging the River Thames for driftwood. At school, aged 13, he won a school talent contest, and as an altar boy made his first public appearance singing Handel’s Largo in Westminster Cathedral.

Walter left school at 14, and worked for a short time as pageboy at the Savoy Hotel in London. Deemed too tall he was soon sacked and became a messenger for an advertising agency in Fleet Street. Eventually he became an apprentice joiner and by night the teenager earned extra cash singing in pubs. In World War II, he served in the RAF as a fitter maintaining Spitfires. He met his wife Gladys (known as Blossom) in 1941 and they were married a year later. He joined the camp’s entertainment section and after his popular impressions of “cheeky chappie” comic Max Miller, he was called Max. 'Max' Bygraves appeared in over he appeared in well over 1,000 RAF concert parties.

When he was being demobbed Bygraves's commanding officer told him about auditions at the BBC for a show for ex-servicemen. He went along and got work, singing, telling jokes and doing impressions. He turned professional in 1946 and toured variety theatres throughout Britain and within three years he made his West End debut at the London Palladium. The London Palladium was then the world’s premier variety theatre, attracting the world’s top acts. His first appearance there was to deputise over three shows for the long-established Liverpudlian comic, Ted Ray, whilst still carrying out an engagement at the Finsbury Park Empire. Max seized his opportunity and impressed the great Val Parnell and was rewarded with seasons starring Abbott and Costello and then Donald Peers. In 1950, he was second on the bill to Judy Garland at the London Palladium. His appearance on the Palladium bill with Judy Garland led to an invitation to appear with her at the Palace Theatre, New York. Max opened there on his 29th birthday and went on tour America in 1950-52. As one of the first UK imports into the US from the world of variety since Harry Lauder, Max made a raft of friends amongst the top rank of American stars including Milton Berle, Clark Gable, Jack Benny, Jimmie Durante, and many other superstars of the time.

Max Bygraves’ first appearance at a Royal Command variety show was before George VI in 1950. Popular entertainers with the Royals this was the first of seventeen further Royal Variety appearances.

Meantime Max became an actor and made his acting debut in the British comedy, Bless ‘em all (1948). A year later he appeared in The Nitwits on Parade and Skimpy in the Navy. In 1951, he had a small part in Tom Brown's Schooldays with Robert Newton.

Max Bygraves and Eric Sykes collaborated on the radio scripts for Educating Archie (BBC Light Entertainment) in which Bygraves played the tutor to Peter Brough's ventriloquist dummy Archie Andrews. The popular program went out Sunday lunchtimes and had an averaged 15 million listeners. The program was an ideal vehicle for Bygraves who coined catch-phrases like, "I've arrived, and to prove it, I'm here" and "That's a good idea ... son!".

Further to take advantage of his new found fame he released songs from the show on the HMV label. "Cowpuncher's Cantata", was a medley of Bygraves' humorous interpretations of popular records of the time, including Frankie Laine's "Mule Train" and "Cry of the Wild Goose", "(Ghost) Riders in the Sky" and "Jezebel". The song was recorded at Abbey Road Studios, overseen by George Martin, and became a top ten hit in 1952.

In 1953, a follow up single, (The Gang That Sang) Heart of My Heart also became a top ten hit. A year later he was back in the charts with Gilly, Gilly, Ossenfeffer, Katzenellen Bogen by the Sea. The song was recorded with a children’s chorus and orchestra was directed by Frank Cordell. It spent eight weeks on the charts. In 1955, Max reached Number 2 with his version of “Meet me on the corner”.

In 1953, Max was back at the London Palladium in “Cinderella” with Julie Andrews as “Cinders”, and Richard Hearne (Mr Pastry). The next year he was in “Mother Goose”, with Shirley Eaton, Peter Sellers, and Richard Hearne as Dame. The script for this panto was written by Eric Sykes and Spike Milligan.

In 1955, Max recorded a novelty record called "You're A Pink Toothbrush", co-written by Ralph Ruvin, Bob Halfin, Harold Irving and Johnny Sheridan. It did not chart but became so popular with children it was re-record in 1959 and has subsequently sold over three million copies.

By 1956, Max Bygraves was earning £1,000 a week, (worth approx. £20,000 in today's money). He was busy acting and singing and appeared as the lead in the Guy Hamilton’s musical drama, Charley Moon. The following year he was back in the record charts with the double A side single, “You need hands and Tulips from Amsterdam. “You need hands” was written by Max Bygraves under the pseudonym of Roy Irwin and recorded by Edy Gorme (1958) who had a hit in the US. Much later the Malcolm McLaren included a version on The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle (album) in 1979. Max was back on the silver screen, this time playing the dramatic lead role in A Cry from the Streets (1958). Set in the slums of London he and co-star Barbara Murray played a pair of ingenuous social workers, who join forces to help a group of castoff orphan children. His performance was noted by Alfred Hitchcock, who offered Max a part in Frenzy (1972) but a variety date in Manchester proved impossible to shift and the part went to another actor. In 1957, Parnell and Bernard Delfont launched their major Palladium show We're Having a Ball, with Max Bygraves starring.

In 1959. Max starred in the British comedy Bobbikins with Shirley Jones, then to finish the year he was back in the Top Ten with his version of Jingle Bell Rock . Now a millionaire, in 1960, he continued his successful recording career with yet another hit record, "Fings Ain't Wot They Used T' Be (#5) supported by the chorus from the (Scout) Gang Show. Max made a guest appearance in BBC’s Whack-O! before another movie in 1961, Spare The Rod. The film was based on a novel by Michael Croft and dealt with an idealistic schoolteacher coming to a tough area of East London to teach in a secondary modern school . It was a series drama tinged with humour and predated “To Sir with Love” and television’s comedy “Please Sir”. This was Max Bygraves' last feature film before he made the decision to channel his career towards light entertainment rather than acting.

In 1961, he starred in a number of West End shows like ‘Do Ra Me’ which ran for eight months at the Prince of Wales. Many believed Max Bygraves was destined to become a dazzling West End star, but he felt constrained working to a fixed script preferring instead to work an audience. Despite many approaches to him and his agent it brought a negative response as Max clearly preferred to tour the theatres as a top of the bill act. Throughout the years he was happy to appear in a number of West End variety, revues and pantomimes like ‘Saturday Night at the London Palladium’, and ‘The Black and White Minstrel Show’. which catered for his singalong act.

Although Max’s television performances had started in 1947 from Alexandra Palace it would be his stage, film and radio which brought him to the public’s attention. By the 60s, he had appeared as a guest on several television variety programs both in the UK and United States. These included Ed Sullivan, Jack Benny, and Jackie Gleason, in America. In the UK, Max starred in an ATV drama series called ‘It's Sad About Eddie’ (1964) in which he played a hapless songwriter who thinks he may have witnessed a murder. By 1972 he had his own variety series called Max with band leader Geoff Love. This success lead to ‘Max at the Royalty’, and ‘I Wanna sing you a story’and then ‘Singalongamax’. These programmes often attracted audiences in the region of 25 million apiece. Max started releasing a series of Sing along with Max albums featuring old standards. In total the Singalongamax albums sold over 6.5 million copies, earning him 31 gold discs.

Max Bygraves had a reputation for being mean, and frugal he may have been but he certainly knew a bargain. After Lionel Bart got himself into financial hot water with failing shows , Max bought the past and future rights to the Lionel Bart musical Oliver! for £350. Then later sold them for £250,000. In 1982, he was back on ITV with a sketch show, Side by Side. A number of guest spots followed and then from 1983 to 1985, Max Bygraves hosted Family Fortunes, taking over from his friend and fellow comedian Bob Monkhouse. In 1987, he appeared as a guest on the Des O’Conner’s Chat Show, and Max did the voice over on a wartime documentary which paid tribute to the men and women of the RAF's Fighter Command. It was called Against the Odds (1994).

His last TV appearance was Call up the stars in 1995.

Max officially retired in 2003 and both he and Blossom Bygraves moved from Bournemouth to Queensland, Australia, in 2008. She passed away three years later and Matt who suffered senile dementia died in 2012 aged 89.

Further Reading
Bygraves M (1976) I Wanna Tell You A Story Star; New Edition
Bygraves M (1977) The Milkman's On His Way Star Books
Bygraves M (2003) Stars in My Eyes: A Life in Show Business Franz Steiner Verlag

Best Hippie Songs Of All Time

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Tony Hatch (featuring Jackie Trent 1940 - 2015)

Anthony Peter Hatch was born in 1939 in Pinner, Middlesex. As a child he was musically gifted and aged 10 went to the London Choir School in Bexley, Kent. He left school in 1955 and as a young teenager worked as a teaboy with Robert Mellin Music in London's Tin Pan Alley. After he started writing songs he soon made a name for himself and joined Top Rank Records. There he worked with Dick Rowe and after completing his National Service in 1959, he began producing Top Rank artists such as Bert Weedon, a young Adam Faith, Josh MacRae, Jackie Dennis, and The Knightsbridge Strings.

Tony released his first single Side Saddle (a cover of Russ Conway’s Number 1 hit) in 1959, but it failed to chart. “Look for a star” was written by Tony and recorded by Garry Mills and when it featured in Circus of Horrors (1960) the single became a Top Ten hit in the UK. Four versions of the song, including the original, also charted simultaneously in the United States. In 1961 started working part-time with Pye Records, there he assisted Alan A. Freeman, in the production of Petula Clark’s number one hit "Sailor". Sometimes Tony Hatch wrote under the pseudonym 'Mark Anthony', and in 1961 had a hit with "Messing About on the River" for Josh MacRae. In 1962 he wrote the film music for Stork Talk and his orchestra played the theme for the TV series "Ghost Squad" (ITC ).

At Pye, Tony continued to produce many of their artists including: Mark Wynter, Julie Grant, Benny Hill, and Miki & Griff.

In 1963, he wrote and produced Bobby Rydell’s "Forget Him", which gave the teen idol his last US hit (#4 in the Hot 100) . This American success allowed Tony to produce, arrange and write (often with Jackie Trent (sometimes) uncredited) for many other American stars such as Big Dee Irwin and Chubby Checker (It’s my birthday 1964): and Connie Francis (Roundabout 1965),among many others.

He adapted well to the impending English Invasion and while still at Pye he signed the Searchers in 1963. Under the pseudonym, Fred Nightingale , he wrote the Searchers' hit "Sugar and Spice". For the next three years the group became an international success with many top ten hits. The production of the entire Searchers catalog was issued in stereo, which at the time was most unusual. Hatch encouraged the group to use well-balanced vocal harmonies and melodic guitars, sometimes played on 12-string guitars. This unique sound was eagerly copied by the emerging folk-rock genre. Tony Hatch recorded similar harmonies with a variety of groups, including; The Settlers’ "Major to Minor" (1967); and "Run to Me" by The Montanas.

By now Petula Clark was a Pye artist and in 1963 she recorded Valentino, written by Mark Anthony (aka Tony Hatch). The song failed to chart but did cement the professional association between composer and artist. After a trip to New York in 1964, he wrote "Downtown", a song he thought would suit The Drifters. After Petula Clark heard a rough draft she was eventually convinced to record the finished song. “Downtown” became a huge international hit and revitalised her sagging career. It reached number one on the American pop charts making the English rose the first British woman to ever achieve this. In the following year, the Hatch - Clark coupling yielded a remarkable series of hits "I Know a Place" (1965), "You'd Better Come Home" (1965), and "Round Every Corner" (1965). Together they wrote "You're The One", which became a major hit for The Vogues.

More success followed with the number one smash "My Love," (1965), "A Sign of the Times" (1965),"I Couldn't Live Without Your Love," (1966) I Couldn't Live Without Your Love" (1966), "Who Am I?", (1966) "Colour My World" (1966). "Call Me," (1966) and "A Sign of the Times," (1966). All sold well and were written by Hatch . "Don't Sleep in the Subway" (1967) and "The Other Man's Grass Is Always Greener" (1968) followed into the international hit parades and were composed by Tony Hatch and co-writer Jackie Trent.

Following the initial success with Petula Clark, Tony Hatch repeated the winning formula writing and producing for many other similar performers. His formulaic middle of the road style possessed much of the energy of rock & roll without the confrontational nature of more aggressive beat groups and fell between teen and adult pop. Cover versions of some of his more successful hits including "Call Me", by Chris Montez became best sellers in their own right. Tony Hatch continued to record various lounge style albums with his orchestra and featured instrumental versions of some of his best known songs, He also made some solo recordings as both singer and piano player.

1964, was a busy year for the composer who was commissioned to write the theme tune for a new soap opera Crossroads (ATV). The original was based on two tunes to represent the plot of two rival characters The tunes could be played separately or, because they shared the same chord sequence, together in counterpoint with each other. Meg’s theme was played on a 12-string guitar with Kitty’s theme played on the oboe. The theme Crossroads started with a distinctive 9-note motif which made it by far the most distinctive TV themes of the 60s. .

Tony Hatch composed other television themes throughout the 60s, including the themes to Man Alive (1965), the cult series The Champions (1968), the crime anthology series Who-Dun-It (1969), and The Doctors (1969).

As a staff producer at Pye Records, Tony Hatch worked with many artists including a young David Bowie. In 1966, he produced three singles none of which proved successful. The piano section in "Can't Help Thinking About Me," was taken straight out of Petula Clark's "Downtown."

When Jackie Trent (1940 – 2015) was signed to Pye Records, she and Tony Hatch wrote “Where Are You Now (My Love)" in 1964. The song featured in a the popular Granada TV series Inspector Rose episode, Dark Outside, and Jackie Trent appeared in the program and sang the song. This exposure ensured "Where Are You Now" reached number one in the UK Singles Chart in 1965. "I Couldn't Live Without Your Love" was later written by Hatch and Trent and inspired by their romantic association, the song became a hit for Petula Clark in 1966. The couple were married a year later and their duet, "The Two Of Us" topped the Australian charts and created a demand for concert and cabaret performances from "Mr & Mrs Music". Jackie did complete several singles and albums, both as a solo artist and with her husband, but these would not aspire to the same success of her previous works. Instead Jackie Trent was more successful as a songwriter and she and Hatch wrote extensively for other artists, including Petula Clark, Frank Sinatra, Jack Jones, Nancy Wilson, Des O'Connor, Val Doonican (What Would I Be?), Shirley Bassey, Vikki Carr, and Dean Martin. In 1968 the couple wrote the Number One hit, "Joanna" for Scott Walker.

By the middle of the sixties Tony Hatch was again busy writing for TV and composed music for BBC’s Quiz ball (1966); Best in Football (1967),and the series Codename (BBC 1969).Trent and Hatch also composed incidental music for The Persuaders! (1970).

In 1972, they wrote "We'll Be With You" to celebrate Stoke City Football Club reaching the Football League Cup final in 1972. The song featured the team and supporters and was released under the name, 'The Potters' (the club's nickname). The song reached number 34 on the UK charts and Stoke beat Chelsea F.C. 2–1 in the final. "We'll Be With You", is still played at all Stoke City home games. In the same year more television work came with commissions from ITV for the themes for the soap, Emmerdale Farm and the opening music for popular game show, Mr & Mrs. 1972 also say the score for the film , Travels with My Aunt.

In 1973, Hatch and Trent sidestepped into musical theatre with The Card, based on an Arnold Bennett novel, and written Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall, starring with Jim Dale, Elenor Bron, and Millicent Martin. The production ran in London's West End for 130 performances. They also wrote a Rock Nativity for Christmas, with book and lyrics by David Wood. Initiated and produced by Cameron Mackintosh, the show played in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1975, with an updated version in 1976, broadcast nationally by Scottish TV. A full-length concert version was recorded at the Cork Opera House for the Irish television state broadcaster RTÉ.

Very much in demand in 1973, the songwriters penned more TV themes with Hadleigh (Yorkshire Television -Third Series ), Love Story, and BBC’s Sportsnight .

They scored the sequel movie from the television spin off of the Sweeney in 1976, TV theme for ITV’s comedy Backs to the Land (Anglia Television 1977) ; and in the same year were commissioned to write the closing number for the Morecambe & Wise Christmas Show (the most popular television program in the UK) , they came up with ‘Positive Thinking.’

In 1975, Tony Hatch joined the panel of New Faces (ATV) talent show. A prelude to the X Factor and other modern panels shows, the judging panel were often unnecessarily hard and scathing in their comments to participants.

In the three years he was associated with the program he became one of the most disliked fellows on television. Acrid comments and cruel observation ensured the once pin up boy of UK music soon became the meanest talent show judge British television had ever seen. He and fellow panelist Mickie Most vied each week to become the most vilified, encouraged by the program owners, to make good viewing. He was never physically attacked but he had to be escorted to safety on at least one occasion. Whist Tony Hatch still believes he was being realistic with his criticisms, his on screen behaviour did not endear him to the great British public. Outspoken critic he may have been but he could also spot talent and under his guidance a Manchester eight piece soul group called Sweet Sensation signed to Pye Records. Their debut single "Snowfire" failed to reach the charts, but the follow-up "Sad Sweet Dreamer" was a UK number one single in October 1974, reached #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 the following year. The songs were written by David Parton and co-produced by Tony Hatch. Both Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent sang on the track to augment Sweet Sensation. Tony Hatch left the New Faces program in 1978.

He and Jackie moved to Dublin, where they hosted TV shows (Words And Music and It's A Musical World) for the next four years. They also continued to produce music for TV, including: Secret of Seagull Island (Five Episodes 1981) , Airline (Yorkshire Television 1982), Waterloo Station (Nine Network, Australia 1983) and Black in blue (1988).

In 1982 the couple moved to Australia and soon ingratiated themselves into the entertainment industry. They had previously made many visits to Australia before and had worked with Australian artists including the popular entertainer, Don “Lanky Yank” Lane. They wrote "Your Everything" which gave him a big Australian hit in 1969. The couple were asked by Reg Grundy, to write a theme for a new soap called Ramsay Street. They came up with Neighbours instead as Ramsay Street, they thought, was too close to Coronation Street. The theme was written and recorded in a day and Barry Crocker put his voice on it. The producers liked it so much the soap was renamed Neighbours. Throughout the 80s Hatch and Trent became regular fixtures in the social pages performing at Carols by Candlelight, doing charity work for the Variety Club and enjoying late-night sessions around the piano with their friends Maria Venuti and Barry Crocker.

Tony Hatch was by far Britain's most prolific pop song writer (with Jackie Trent), producer and performer of the last century. He was also a womaniser and eventually his affairs caused himself and Jackie Trent to separate in 1995. Jackie returned to Britain and worked for a short period before moving to Menorca in semi-retirement. The couple were divorced in 2002. Jackie never quite got over the breakup and subsequent legal action over a dispute between them as songwriters. After a long illness she died in 2015. Tony Hatch now lives on the same island with his third wife.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits)

Mark Freuder Knopfler was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1949. His father was an architect and a chess player and his mother was a teacher. David was born in 1952. The family re-settled in Blyth, Northumberland, in North East England in 1954 and eventually both brothers went to Gosforth Grammar School. Mark was initially influenced musically by his uncle who played both harmonica and boogie-woogie piano. By the time he got his first guitar a twin-pick-up Höfner Super Solid, he could play and soon joined schoolboy bands. Mark (aged)16, made his television debut as part of a harmony duo, with his classmate Sue Hercombe. The aspiring fingerstyle guitarist listened to Scotty Moore, B.B King, Django Reinhardt, and James Burton among others.

Mark left school to study journalism and got his first job as a junior reporter at the Yorkshire Evening Post. Later he decided to further his studies, and completed a degree in English at the University of Leeds. Still keen on music and writing songs he recorded a demo disk of "Summer's Coming My Way" in 1970 with Silverheels. He moved to London in 1973 and joined the band, Brewers Droop, appearing on the album The Booze Brothers. During this time the acoustic guitars available to him were of inferior quality and in order to play them, he perfected his unique finger-picking style.

When Mark left Brewers Droop, he took a day job teaching music at Loughton Collegein Essex but continued gigging with local pub bands including the Café Racers. He formed a duo with Steve Phillips called The Duolian String Pickers then in 1977, invited bass guitarist, John Illsley to join the Café Racers, later the same year Mark (lead guitar) and David (rhythm guitar) formed Dire Strait with John Illsley (bass), and Pick Withers (drums). The group were all working at the time but the band’s name was and attempt at irony. They borrowed enough money to record a five-song demo tape, which included the song "Sultans of Swing." They took the tape to disc jockey Charlie Gillett, (BBC Radio London.) and he [played it on his radio show. Two months later, Dire Straits signed with the Vertigo Records and their first album, Dire Straits , which was produced by Muff Winwood, was released in 1978 .

At first reception in the UK was look warm but when the single was released in the US it jumped into the top five. The album had sold well in the Netherlands and the rest of Europe but was slow to chart in the UK. The group's second album, Communiqué,(produced by Jerry Wexler and Barry Beckett), followed and went to Number One in France, Germany, Sweden and New Zealand in the album charts. The single, "Lady Writer", did less well in the singles charts although album went on to sell over 7 million copies worldwide: in Europe it sold 3.6 million copies, and in the United States it reached gold status.

David Knopfler left Dire Straits in 1980 during the recording of Making Movies. Sibling strain had left a rift between the brothers and whilst he had completed the guitar tracks for the album, Mark re-recorded them.

Making Movies, the band’s third album was released in in 1980 and included more complex arrangements and production. Making Movies was recorded at the Power Station in New York and the title was taken from a line in the song "Skateaway" and from the outtake "Making Movies". Jimmy Iovine joined Dire Straits and Mark Knopfler produced the album. The album included many of Mark Knopfler's most personal compositions, most notably "Romeo and Juliet" and "Tunnel of Love." The album topped the Italian and Norwegian album charts whilst selling well throughout the world.

Following the end of the On Location Tour in 1981, Mark Knopfler began writing the songs for their fourth album, Love Over Gold. It was co-produced with engineeer, Neil Dorfsman and released in 1982. The lead single "Private Investigations" reached number 2 in the UK chart and the album topped the charts in many countries.

With Love Over Gold still in the albums charts, the band released a four-song EP titled ExtendedancEPlay in early 1983. The hit single "Twisting by the Pool", featured Terry Williams, (Rockpile), who had replaced Pick Withers on drums.

The band completed an eight-month-long world tour which culminated with two sell-out concerts at London's Hammersmith Odeon. The double album, Alchemy Live was released in 1984. During this time Mark Knopfler pursued other projects including writing and producing musical scores for films: Local Her (1983); Cal (1984); Comfort and Joy (1984). The soundtrack for Local Hero included "The Way It Always Starts" which had originally been intended for Love over gold album, but instead was sung by Gerry Rafferty. David Knopfler released his first solo album, Release, in 1983, which featured both Mark Knopfler and John Illsley. The album had only modest success.

Mark Knopfler also worked as a session musician and recorded and performed with many prominent musicians, including B.B.King, Chet Atkins, Chris Botti, John Anderson, the Chieftains, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Elton John, Bryan Ferry, George Jones, Emmylou Harris, Jools Holland, Sonny Landreth, Phil Lynott, Van Morrison, Steely Dan, Sting, and James Taylor.

In the early 80s, he produced albums for Aztec Camera, Bob Dylan, Randy Newman and Tina Turner . "Private Dancer" was originally planned for Love over Gold, with all but the vocal tracks being recorded. Knopfler then decided a female voice would be more appropriate and handed the song to Tina Turner for her comeback album, Private Dancer.

Brothers in Arms, was the band’s fifth album and was recorded at Air Studios Montserrat When it was released in 1985 it became an international blockbuster selling more than 30 million copies worldwide. It was also released on compact disc format and sold over one million copies. "Money for Nothing", was the first video played on MTV in Britain and topped the US singles charts The album included several successful singles including: "So Far Away": "Walk of Life", and the title track, Brother in Arms. A very successful world tour to promote the album followed in 1985–86.

Dire Straits stopped working together for a time after the incredible success of Brothers in Arms and Mark concentrated his efforts into scoring the soundtrack for The Princess Bride, (1987). The band got together a year later and topped the bill at the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute concert at Wembley Stadium. Terry Williams (drums) left the band, and Mark Knopfler announced the official dissolution of Dire Straits. The compilation album, Money for Nothing, was released and reached number one in the United Kingdom. The band did regroup and recorded On Every Street (1991) which sold well despite meeting with mixed critical reviews. The band embarked on an enormous world tour, but the schedule proved too gruelling and the performances were not well received by fans. Dire Straits released, two more live albums, On the Night (1993) , and Live at the BBC (1995). This album had been previously recorded in 1978 at BBC Studios in London. Tired of touring and keen to pursue other projects Mark eventually dissolved Dire Straits in 1995.