[Review] Dire Straits: Love Over Gold (1982)

The moody fourth album sounds like someone had been listening to Pink Floyd’s Animals too much.

Kronomyth 4.0: The desire of gold is not for gold, but freedom.

And then there was… the enigmatic Love Over Gold. It couldn’t be less concerned with singles, generating a great one anyway in “Industrial Disease,” but otherwise oblivious to the album that preceded it. Mark Knopler had nothing but time, time to climb the wall and fuss over the final cut, which has occasioned AMG to call this “their prog-rock effort.” While it isn’t a prog-rock record, it is as close as they’ve come to making a Pink Floyd record, moody and murky soundscapes punctuated by pungent guitar and overcast with dark lyrical subject matter.

If Dire Straits were on a mission to write great rock songs, Making Movies completed that mission, allowing the band to make a mystical, long-in-the-tooth, black hole of a record with Love Over Gold. As such, the album shares a kinship with The Final Cut, Volume 4, Tales From Topographic Oceans and all the other self-indulgent antiheroes. Yet, in another sense, this is their Aja: sophisticated and unhurried, sober and sometimes sad. The title track especially, which features Mike Mainieri on vibes and/or marimba (I can’t tell the difference), has a Steely resolve to it.

The torpid pacing of Gold carried over to Alchemy, so maybe the Straits were in their Blue Phase. It’s a phase that radio listeners missed, although fans snatched it up. “Industrial Disease” and, later, “Twisting By The Pool” were silly, upbeat songs that showed little of the deep-running dark currents at work on Love Over Gold. While it may have given the record execs fits, Gold strikes a blow for the band’s principles and confirms that Dire Straits were more interested in making music than making money.

Read more Dire Straits album reviews

Original LP Version

A1. Telegraph Road (14:20)
A2. Private Investigations (7:00)
B1. Industrial Disease (5:50)
B2. Love Over Gold (6:15)
B3. It Never Rains (7:55)

All songs composed by Mark Knopfler.

The Players

Alan Clark (keyboards), John Illsley (bass), Mark Knopfler (vocals, guitar), Hal Lindes (guitar), Pick Withers (drums) with Mike Mainieri (vibes & marimba on A2/B2), Ed Walsh (synth program). Produced by Mark Knopfler; engineered by Neil Dorfsman.

The Pictures

Sleeve design by Michael Rowe. Photography by Alan Lobel, Peter Cunningham.

The Plastic

Released on elpee and cassette on September 20, 1982 in the UK (Vertigo, 6359/7150 109), the US (Warner Bros., 4-23728), Canada (Vertigo, VOG-1-3317), Czechoslovakia (Supraphon, 11133517ZN), Japan (Vertigo, 25PP-60), Mexico (Vertigo, LPR23029), Serbia and Yugoslavia (RTB, ST222169) with lyrics innersleeve; reached #1 on the UK charts and #19 on the US charts (RIAA-certified gold record).

  1. Re-issued on compact disc in 1984 in the US (Warner Bros., 23728-2) and Germany (Vertigo, 800 088-2) {peacock feather label}. [Some of the US discs say “Made in Japan,” others say “Made in U.S.A.” The Japanese versions may be earlier releases.]
  2. Re-issued on elpee in 1986 in Russia (Melodiya, C6024731 001).
  3. Re-issued on compact disc in Japan (Vertigo, PHCR-4179).
  4. Re-issued on compact disc in the US (Warner Bros., W2-23728).
  5. Re-released on remastered compact disc in the UK (Vertigo, 800 088-2).
  6. Re-issued on remastered compact disc on September 19, 2000 in the US (Warner Bros., 47772).
  7. Re-released on super high material compact disc on February 20, 2013 in Japan (Universal, UICY-25354).
  8. Re-released on super audio compact disc on November 26, 2014 in Japan (Vertigo, UIGY-9637).
  9. Re-released on ultimate hiquality compact disc on June 20, 2018 in Japan (Universal, UICY-40207).

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