When Mark Knopfler and Sting Connected for ‘Money for Nothing’
Mark Knopfler recalled the moment he realized he wanted Sting to appear on Dire Straits' classic song “Money for Nothing,” and said he had no regrets over having to share writing credits with the Police frontman.
The track appeared on Dire Straits' 1985 album Brothers in Arms, which remains one of the bestselling LPs in history. As Knopfler worked on the No.1 hit single, his thoughts turned to the famous “I Want My MTV” promotional campaign run by the network, as he told Uncle Joe Benson on the Ultimate Classic Rock Nights radio show.
“I’d seen the Police doing an MTV advert, saying ‘I want my MTV,’ just saying it all together; and I thought, ‘If I set that to the notes of “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” it’ll work,’" he recalled. "I remember saying to the guys, ‘I’d really like to get Sting to do this.’ We knew them anyway because we’d done a lot of gigs together in Germany. One of them said, ‘That’s fine, because he’s here on holiday.’”
He remembered feeling that the idea was “perfect” for Sting’s voice. “And because I’d used the five notes from ‘Don’t Stand So Close to Me,’ that’s how the co-writing thing happened,” he added. “Which is fine; it’s absolutely fine with me and it worked out well. I remember quite clearly Sting coming into the studio and saying, ‘What’s wrong?’ I said, ‘What do you mean?’ He said, ‘Nobody’s fighting!’”
However, Knopfler was glad he didn’t get his way in one aspect of the release – the award-winning video, which was one of the first to be created on a computer. “To me it was almost like a dream sequence,” the frontman said of his own idea for the promo. “I’d visualized a kid in his bedroom with that ‘I want my MTV’ thing happening and the camera rushing over the landscape – as I’ve said before, it’s a good thing I never had anything to do with the video!”
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