How Dire Straits’ ‘Walk of Life’ Was Influenced by Photo and Accordion
The song started out as something of a tribute to street buskers, as the bandleader told Uncle Joe Benson on the Ultimate Classic Rock Nights radio show.
“I saw a photograph of a kid playing a guitar in a subway, turning his face to the wall to get a good reverb,” Knopfler said. “When I started playing the guitar, because I didn’t have an amplifier, I’d put the head of the guitar on the arm of a chair and put my head on the guitar to try and get into a loud noise. It kinda reminded me of that, I suppose.”
That influence is visible in the original version of the song’s video, which features a busker performing in an underpass; a later video was designed specifically for the U.S. market.
You can watch both versions below.
“I’d been influence a little bit here and there by Cajun music," Knopfler continued. "Actually there was a Cajun version, a Louisiana version, by someone. Really, all I was trying to imitate with that Farfisa [organ] riff, it’s really like accordion. If you substitute [the Farfisa for] accordion, it’s really a Cajun-style riff.”
A cover by Lousiana swamp artist Charles Mann proves his point. Listen below.
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