“I chose the wrong key”: Mark Knopfler reveals the Dire Straits song that “didn’t come out the way I wanted”

Mark Knopfler
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Having sold more than 30 million copies, Dire Straits’ Brothers In Arms album represents the band’s commercial high watermark. The record yielded a remarkable five singles, including Money For Nothing, Walk of Life and the title track, but there’s one of its ten tracks in particular that frontman and songwriter Mark Knopfler has reservations about.

Speaking to The Sunday Times, Knopfler recently expressed his disappointment that Why Worry?, the tender lullaby that closes side 1 of Brothers In Arms, “didn’t come out the way I wanted”. In fact, so dismissive were the band of the song that, when they were recording it, they referred to it as ‘Why Bother?’

Why the problem, though? “Just because I chose the wrong key,” explains Knopfler, though he doesn’t elaborate and say which key the song should have been in.

This isn’t the first time that Knopfler has been critical of the song, either. In 1989, he told the BBC that "the playout of Why Worry seems to be a very pointless thing to me now, all that faffing around with pretty sounds." He’s referring here to the four-minute instrumental at the end of the full-length version.

This eight and a half minute running time, funnily enough, was made possible by the fact that Brothers In Arms was released on the then nascent CD format, which enabled artists to release single-disc records that ran to 74 minutes. On the time-restricted vinyl version, Why Worry? is cut to a mere five minutes and 22 seconds.

We’re guessing his regrets about the song don’t keep Knopfler awake at night, though: Brothers In Arms is credited as being the first album in history to sell over a million copies on CD, and one of the records that helped to popularise the format around the world. Certainly nothing to worry about there, then.

Mark Knopfler’s new album, One Deep River, is released on 12 April. This follows the release of a new version of Going Home, his theme from the film Local Hero, which was recorded to raise money for teenage cancer charities and features contributions from the likes of Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Tony Iommi, Susan Tedeschi and Pete Townshend.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.