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Telegraph Road - Dire Straits

Telegraph Road

Love Over Gold
classic rock rock dire straits 80s guitar


Telegraph Road appeared on Dire Straits' 1982 album Love over Gold and is written by Mark Knopfler. Clocking in at 14:21 minutes long, it is rarely played by radio stations, yet has remained well-regarded over the years by many fans of the band. The coda of the live recording on the 1984 album Alchemy features one of the band's most brilliant guitar improvisations. Inspired by a bus trip taken by Knopfler, the lyrics narrate a tale of changing land development over a span of many decades along Telegraph Road in suburban Detroit, Michigan. In the latter verses, Knopfler focuses on one man's personal struggle with unemployment after the city built around the telegraph road has become uninhabited and barren just as it began. The song starts out with a quiet crescendo that lasts almost two minutes, before the song's main theme starts. After the first verse, the main theme plays again, followed by the second verse. After a guitar solo, a short bridge slows the song down to a quiet keyboard portion similar to the intro, followed by a slow guitar solo. Next, the final two verses, with the main theme in between, play. The main theme is played one last time, eventually turning into a five minute guitar solo that eventually fades out.


Dire Straits were a British rock band from Newcastle, United Kingdom, formed in 1977 by Mark Knopfler (guitar and vocals), his brother David Knopfler (guitar), John Illsley (bass), and Pick Withers (drums), and subsequently managed by Ed Bicknell. The band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018. Dire Straits emerged during the post-punk era of the late '70s, and while their sound was minimalistic and stripped down, they owed little to punk. Show more ...

Telegraph Road - Dire Straits

A long time ago came a man on a track
Walking thirty miles with a pack on his back
And he put down his load where he thought it was the best
Made a home in the wilderness
He built a cabin and a winter store
And he ploughed up the ground by the cold lake shore
And the other travellers came riding down the track
And they never went further, no, they never went back
Then came the churches then came the schools
Then came the lawyers then came the rules
Then came the trains and the trucks with their loads
And the dirty old track was the telegraph road
Then came the mines - then came the ore
Then there was the hard times then there was a war
Telegraph sang a song about the world outside
Telegraph road got so deep and so wide
Like a rolling river. ..
And my radio says tonight it's gonna freeze
People driving home from the factories
There's six lanes of traffic
Three lanes moving slow. ..
I used to like to go to work but they shut it down
I got a right to go to work but there's no work here to be found
Yes and they say we're gonna have to pay what's owed
We're gonna have to reap from some seed that's been sowed
And the birds up on the wires and the telegraph poles
They can always fly away from this rain and this cold
You can hear them singing out their telegraph code
All the way down the telegraph road
You know I'd sooner forget but I remember those nights
When life was just a bet on a race between the lights
You had your head on my shoulder you had your hand in my hair
Now you act a little colder like you don't seem to care
But believe in me baby and I'll take you away
From out of this darkness and into the day
From these rivers of headlights these rivers of rain
From the anger that lives on the streets with these names
Cause I've run every red light on memory lane
I've seen desperation explode into flames
And I don't want to see it again. ..
From all of these signs saying sorry but we're closed
All the way down the telegraph road



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