Each and every musician has inspirations and influences who have had an impact on their trade. While other artists may find inspiration from a range of various sources, certain artists may be more strongly impacted by one artist than another.
As musical genres and fads change throughout time, it is likely that every performer has had a unique mix of influences and sources of inspiration.
Like every one of them, Mark Knopfler also listed his favorite legendary guitarists back in 1985. It was during his interview with Rolling Stone.
He co-founded the band Dire Straits in 1977 and is most recognized as its lead guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Following the dissolution of the band in 1995, Knopfler developed a successful solo career as a musician and producer, working with performers like Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, and Sting.
Back then during his interview, he mentioned three guitarists whose talent was a pleasure to listen to. Robert Johnson and Lonnie Johnson were the two of them. Listening to them made his heart flutter. The third person was B.B. King the King of the Blues.
The late blues singer didn’t just suddenly become the King. He was recognized for using all of his fingers when playing, and he had developed the B.B. Box, a six-note scale that set him apart from his contemporaries.
Mark Knopfler said,
“Yeah, a lot of dead ones: Robert Johnson, Lonnie Johnson. B.B. King, who’s very much alive, is a big influence. I heard ‘Live at the Regal’ when I was sixteen, which was a great moment because I felt a triangle was formed on that record: guitar, voice, and audience, and it was amazing to hear. There’s also the fact that on his records, the guitar seems to do some of the singer’s work —his guitar has such a clear voice. Maybe that appeals to me because I’m not much of a singer in the conventional sense, certainly not like B.B. King is. So my guitar becomes another, the better voice I can use.”
Beyond the influence of Robert Johnson and Lonnie Johnson, B.B. King emerged as a hugely enjoyable guitar player in the industry for the sixteen-year-old Mark, who was growing up.
The distinctive finger-picking technique and lyric storytelling of Knopfler have earned him worldwide acclaim. He is a member of Dire Straits and has received numerous music honors, including being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
From the University of Newcastle, he also received an honorary doctorate in music. Even now, a lot of well-known musicians still credit him as a big influence, attesting to his lasting musical impact.