On Jan. 8, 1983, “Industrial Disease” by Britain’s Dire Straits entered the Billboard Hot 100 at #86. It would only go to #75. The single is from the band’s fourth album, Love Over Gold, which was their first LP produced by songwriter, guitarist and lead vocalist Mark Knopfler.
Knopfler, a former journalist and teacher, formed Dire Straits in 1977 with his younger brother David. The group played a style of music that was influenced by folk, jazz and blues at a time when punk was the UK trend.
By 1983, Knopfler’s brother had left the group and only bassist John Illsley and drummer Pick Withers remained from the band’s original lineup. Withers would leave after this record.
“Industrial Disease,” a song about decay in British manufacturing and the consequential ailments and dysfunctions that follow, was chosen to be the lead single for the US and Canada. (Happy stuff !! But at least it had a steady beat …)
Side Note: In the UK , “Private Investigations” was released as the LP’s lead single and it went to #2 on the British singles chart. The song was inspired by Raymond Chandler detective novels. Musically, it’s a somber arrangement that held hints of where Mark Knopfler was headed for Dire Strait’s next studio album (1985’s Brothers in Arms ).