News

Dire Straits / Brothers in Arms half-speed mastered 2LP vinyl

Plus: half-speed vinyl of Mark Knopfler’s ‘Local Hero’ soundtrack 

Dire Straits‘ 1985 album Brothers in Arms will be reissued as a 2LP half-speed mastered vinyl edition in March.

The band’s fifth album features the hits ‘Money For Nothing’, ‘Walk Of Life’, ‘So Far Away’, ‘Brothers In Arms’ and ‘Your Latest Trick’. Ironically enough, it is forever associated with Phillips’ promotional drive for the new compact disc format and the title track was the world’s first CD single.

Brothers in Arms is the eighth biggest selling album of all time in the UK having sold over four million copies. This new edition is a double vinyl pressing, and like the edition in the box set it will feature the CD length audio, although of course this pressing is a half-speed and comes packaged with the OBI-strip and the all non-important ‘certificate of authenticity’. This is a 45RPM pressing.

Mark Knopfler’s first film soundtrack for Bill Forsyth’s film Local Hero, is also reissued as a half-speed mastered version (33RPM, this time). This was originally released in 1983. Both albums have been remastered by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios.

Both albums are released on 19 March 2021.

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Dire Straits

Brothers in Arms - 2LP half-speed vinyl

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Mark Knopfler

Local Hero - half-speed mastered vinyl

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Brothers in Arms 2LP half-speed mastered vinyl

Side 1

  1. So Far Away
  2. Money For Nothing

Side 2

  1. Walk Of Life
  2. Your Latest Trick

Side 3

  1. Why Worry
  2. Ride Across The River

Side 4

  1. The Man’s Too Strong
  2. One World
  3. Brothers In Arms

Local Hero half-speed mastered vinyl LP

Side 1

  1. The Rocks And The Water
  2. Wild Theme
  3. Freeway Flyer
  4. Boomtown (Variation Louis’ Favourite)
  5. The Way It Always Starts
  6. The Rocks And The Thunder
  7. The Ceilidh And The Northern Lights

Side 2

  1. The Mist Covered Mountains
  2. The Ceilidh: Louis’ Favourite / Billy’s Tune
  3. Whistle Theme
  4. Smooching
  5. Stargazer
  6. The Rocks And The Thunder
  7. Going Home: Theme Of The Local Hero

111 responses to Dire Straits / Brothers in Arms half-speed mastered 2LP vinyl

  1. Albert says:

    My first CD single was U2’s ‘The Unforgettable Fire in 1985’. Bought for the four B-Sides that were on the CD version. With the title track there were 5 songs. Great days and great value.

    Oasis used to do wonderful 4 track CD singles too. Those BPI clowns banning 4 track singles helped kill off the CD single.

    • Seikotsi says:

      Strangely noone wants these wonderful oasis 4 track singles anymore. I tried to sell them on ebay for almost nothing, and in the end one person bought it but didnt pay so I still have them. In the meantime people are paying crazy money for the vinyl issues.

    • Tony O says:

      The U2 cd single you are referring to was released in 1991, it may mention 1985 on the disc but that was the year of release for the vinyl versions.

    • Glen says:

      I’m curious about what you have. I thought U2’s first CD single was “With Or Without You” in 1987. On Discogs, there are two issues of “Unforgettable Fire” on CD single, but they were released in 1991.

      Also, what is the story behind “BPI clowns” killing the single? It appeared to me the single died with the rise of file sharing and streaming.

      • Albert says:

        The BPI in their infinite wisdom decided that four tracks were no longer allowed on CD singles. This put many buyers off as many fans of bands bought CD singles because they had three or more B Sides and some CD singles came in two versions with three or four tracks each and they were usually great value (like the 90s Suede and Blur singles). Less tracks meant less value, less customers and, worst of all, less music. And that helped the decline of the CD single.

        Right about the U2 single. I saw it on my shelf and it said 1985. But it must have been in 91. I do remember buying Duran Duran’s Meet El Presidente on CD single in 87 though.

        • Glen says:

          Thank you for the reply; I’d never heard of such a thing.

          • deceased says:

            They also limited them to being no longer than 20 minutes as some CD Singles were more like ep’s or mini albums…

            On the flip side, many bands have complained about the amount of bonus songs they had to write/produce to fill all the singles they released; 4 or 5 singles per album with 2 CD’s of 3 or 4 b-sides…them were the days!

  2. Lucas says:

    My first CD was Love Over Gold in July 1989 ;-) ;-)

  3. Chris B says:

    Brothers in Arms is a very good album but has always had an image problem due to its immense popularity. Because it was the perfect ‘new’ album to demonstrate the audio fidelity of the new fangled CD players, it became associated with the demographic who were able to afford the new tech at that time: slightly older and more affluent, the music fan who would be quite happy to buy their record collection all over again as the record industry would soon realise.
    Dire Straits also sold a lot of records on the back of Live Aid which helped.

    If I put on DS, it tends to be Love over Gold, Makin Movies or, particularly, the first album for me. BOA has 8 great songs but my problem is with Walk of Life. Heard it too many times, I would be quite happy to never hear it again.

  4. Ron says:

    Version 397 of this album. Audiophiles do have this title already in various versions on various formats, so why another version? One of the definitive versions is the Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab version, but the original 1985 vinyl version sounds still OK. The whole half-speed mastering releases are particularly marketing blah blah blah. How many people hear the differences between al those versions?

    • -SG- says:

      Well, in all honesty, like all of these remasters, if you heard this album when it came out originally it probably will never sound as good as it did then: the time, the place, it was new, it was just cool, better ears etc, but it is nice that records like these are available at a reasonable price for people that want them. But to your point, if you said back in 1985 that in 2021 that the record was going to be sold with the claim that it somehow sounded better than the CD, most people would have laughed in your face.

  5. Galley says:

    My first CD purchase was Dire Straits’ Communiqué in Oct. 1985. I had a Sears CD player.

  6. Kai says:

    I’m satisfied with my US-Surround-DVD of BIA … beautiful sound.

  7. Mark S says:

    Paul,

    Do we know the source used here?

    Of course this was digitally recorded and mixed and everything was 16/44.1 but are they mastering the vinyl here from flat studio masters or mastering from a subsequent mastering.

    This is important because the most recent master sounds horrible on both CD and vinyl, harsh with over exaggerated top end.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Not at the moment. Typical press release doesn’t bother with actual details that matter. I have messaged Miles Showell and will see if he gets back to me (he normally does).

      • Mark S says:

        Hi Paul,

        Any feedback from Miles on his source?

        Hoping he was provided with a flat final studio mix

        I’m a big fan of half-speed cut vinyl done by Miles but only if he’s working off the flat studio master

  8. Michael Caspar says:

    The first CD-single I noticed was Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Rage Hard (Young Person’s Guide To The 12 Inch Mix) from 1986. What a track! Love him still…

    Think the new edition of Brothers in Arms is unnecessary. Local hero, on the other hand, could be interesting.

    • Glen says:

      I think that was my first CD single. I think the store was Infinite Records on Westheimer in Houston; it was in a locked case by the register. I remember the fellow saying, “In England they’re putting singles on CDs now.” Seemed so revolutionary at the time.

      What is often titled “The Young Person’s Guide…” on compilations was the first 12″ mix, “Rage Hard+”. This was followed by a second 12″ (as ZTT is wont to do), “Rage Hard++”, sometimes referred as the Broad mix. Now, ZTT being ZTT, they couldn’t just release a straight CD version of the vinyl; instead the CD was titled “Rage Hard (Compacted)” (https://www.zttaat.com/formats.php?title=102) and was a combination of the two mixes. A straight release of the first 12″ appeared in Germany in 1989.

      Strangely, the sleeve (er, “pouch”) lists “Rage Hard + ++ ★” which suggests a third remix. “Rage Hard★” appears to be nothing but a 7″ in a pop-up gatefold sleeve. Also the CD coyly notes “Rage Hard also available on record and cassette” but this seems to be the only Frankie single not available as a cassingle.

      I apologize for the geeky tangent.

      • imsparky4u says:

        Infinite Records!! I’m from Houston as well, and my tastes were totally shaped by time spent in Infinite, Record Rack and the old Record Exchange. My first CD single was With Or Without You by U2 which was a birthday present bought at Record Rack. It was 30 bucks! So many great memories. Glad to see you on here!

        • Glen says:

          Great to see a fellow Houstonian on here. Those were the days, trolling the close to a dozen record shops along Westheimer and Shepherd; flipping through the stacks and playing anything that looked interesting.

          One of my favorite memories was Vinyl Edge near Spring on Veterans Memorial. (I see there’s a Vinyl Edge near downtown now; no idea if it’s the same owners.) That’s where I picked up a copy of This Mortal Coil’s “Filigree and Shadow” and asked them to play it. After hearing less than one of the four sides, I bought the CD and thus began my love affair with (almost) all things 4AD.

  9. Peter Muscutt says:

    Sorry to hijack this thread but I’ve just seen Electronic Sound magazine have a coloured vinyl 7” from Steven Wilson with their new issue.
    I know there are a few Wilson fans on this forum, so here’s the link to the online store:

    https://electronicsound.co.uk/

  10. Jue Rie says:

    Rhino has released “brothers in arms” a week ago. Its limited and part of their “Start Your Ear Off Right 2021”- campain.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Yes, Warners have the rights in the US. It’s not half-speed and is the standard edited versions, as far as I’m aware.

  11. Norrie MacLean says:

    Mildly annoying having purchased the vinyl box set through SDE! Not to worry, enjoyed that and great service as always. Probably buy LOcal Hero though I think CAL better. Oddly I am not huge fan but there you go!

  12. David Ratchford says:

    Not into me vinyl anymore . But if this is 45 rpm release should sound incredible for sure ! First cd single for me ( heart “alone” one track promo DDD mastered . Given away free with the bad animals album . Via virgin record shops . Remember driving to crewe .

  13. Stevie B says:

    Dire Straits’ “Brothers in Arms” (1985) is reported to have been the world’s first CD single, issued in the UK in two separate singles as a promotional item, one distinguished with a logo for the tour, Live in ’85, and a second to commemorate the Australian leg of the tour marked Live in ’86. Containing four tracks, it had a very limited print run. The first commercially released CD Single was Angeline by John Martyn released on 1 February 1986. My first CD was also ‘Land of Confusion’ in 1986 around six months before I could afford an actual CD player (a ‘Bush’ branded one from ‘Makro’ Cash & Carry).

  14. Mike the Fish says:

    How many times has this been reissued over the last 20 years?! The double vinyl frustrates me in that it puts Why Worry on the beginning of side 3 instead of the end of side 2 which loses the original mid programme interval of the vinyl/cassette.

  15. Ian Gair says:

    Brings back memories for me of seeing them at Birmingham N.E.C, promoting this LP & there being a big crowd next to the Philips CD stall promoting the CD player.

    I have still got a little promotional sticker & Dire Straits enamel guitar shaped badge. Managed to purchase a CD player 2/3 years later which had a £50 worth of CD tokens to be spent in Woolworths.

  16. Kiwi bob says:

    Yay!!!!!!! I get to get up off my chair every 10 mins to change the sides!!!

    • Shawn C says:

      Agreed Kiwi Bob. I love vinyl and perhaps it sounds frivolous, but I’m not sure I can offset the pain in the arse of having to turn the disc over every 10 minutes with what I perceive as only a slight improvement in sound. The struggle is real.

  17. Chris says:

    Not a vinyl buyer but speaking in general i really hope Mark allows some super deluxe editions for the DS stuff. There must be a goldmine there beating in mind the live stuff that is around. I would actually kill for a perfect version of the Wembley 85 show that was shown on The Tube! Some of the copies on you tube are excellent but not perfect of course.

    As people are talking about their first CD purchase, mine was Rapture by Anita Baker and it remains my favourite album of all time. I got the Land of Confusion CD single too and vaguely remember it being in a3 inch format that needed an adaptor to play. Can anyone confirm that? My CDs are in storage so I can’t check

    • Dibbsy says:

      Can’t argue with that. Rapture was a belter, although hardly ever mentioned these days .

    • Geoffers says:

      I don’t think Mark owns his back catalogue any more. That’s they’re bringing out all theses new pressings and box sets. Still, any Dire Straits is better than no Dire Straits.

  18. Paul Taylor says:

    Bizarrely, Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell was cut at about 105% speed!

  19. BigBear says:

    2 tracks a side over 2 discs, excepting the 3 tracks on side 4. Surely gotta be 45rpm. Also, £38 ticks the 45rpm box. Hope so.

  20. Will the versions follow the original vinyl (shorters) or will be like the CDs (longers)?

  21. MFG says:

    As others have mentioned, BIA was designed for the compact disc. So a definite pass.

    Also, as someone mentioned, would much prefer a good reissue of Alchemy. CD, vinyl, and DVD with improved audio + video quality, as much as possible. Maybe a Blu-Ray, if the video source is good enough.

    • Buckmustard says:

      Those exist already, and it was originally captured on film, so there is no [original]“video source”. The film is extremely grainy and the transfer is authentic and revealing, so be prepared.

      • MFG says:

        I was thinking of CD and vinyl reissues with the full track list from the concerts. The ones I know about do not have Industrial Disease, Twisting by the Pool, and Portobello Belle.

        Also, video source = film, video, whatever. The quality of the DVD I have is quite poor. Hoping that a new DVD or Blu-Ray release would improve the quality. That said, I’m in the USA, so I may have missed a UK-only Blu-Ray release. I will look for it.

        • Stevie C says:

          Universal did release 2cd/1dvd set in 2010, think this mirrors original release though. CD includes love over gold, which is not on DVD. DVD does include two performances from Old Grey Whistle Test, Tunnel of Love, Sultans of Swing plus BBC Arena documentary from 1980. Sound also has DTS 5.1 and Dolby update, CD audio remastered, so worth seeking out if you can find.

    • Deltics says:

      There already is a very good Alchemy bluray, no? (I have one that seems purty good) :)

  22. Remon says:

    My first CD single was Simple Minds’ Ghostdancing (4 track). It existed in a normal (not slim) CD case.

  23. Remon says:

    This album and Sting’s Nothing Like The Sun (1987) to me always sounded in the same sterile fashion. I always wondered if producer Neil Dorsfman had anything to do with that sound or it was just because digitial options were limited in those days

  24. These Dire Straits reissues look nice but they are quite a bit pricier than the Japan “Tin Drum” and “Gentlemen Take Polaroids” Abby Road Half Speed remasters which retail for about £25 each. However, they’re both getting hard to find which suggests there’s a good deal of demand.

  25. Steven Roberts says:

    Surprised there aren’t coloured vinyl versions of these releases – you know, just to ring out a few more coppers from the (seemingly) ever-willing collectors’ market (blue and pink for the BIA and yellow for the LH OST would seem the obvious choices).

    Or have I spoken too soon?

  26. Norbert says:

    The question for vinyl enthusiasts could be: does it come close or does it even better the MFSL 2015 Vinyl Remaster (2 LP on 45 !).
    All others (Digital Natives) may be more than satisfied with their digital versions on CD/SACD.

    • Harveyflood@ho says:

      100 % it won’t come close to the MFSL 2015 version – all these “half-speed masters from Abbey Road” are made to look impressive (carry the price of a high-end product) but sound average at best on an audiophile system. All these products (Bob Marley, Sade, Rolling Stones) will unfortunately not be sought after in a few years im guessing. Too bad too

      • Dibbsy says:

        Opinions vary on the Mofi pressings. Love Over Gold is one of my favourite albums on vinyl. I only ever had the bog standard pressing and I decided to splash out on the Mofi 2015 LoG as I had heard amazing things. Received it just recently and must say I was disappointed, and didn’t enjoy it as much as the original pressing. I might even sell the Mofi. Based on that I’m definitely going to give this a punt as I really enjoyed the half speed cut of What’s Going On (btw purchased the Deluxe four disc edition of WGO for the princely sum of £28.54 thanks to your alert Paul. Just checked on Amazon and the current price for that set is a pirate-like £401.77 !)

  27. Erik says:

    So much has been written about this record being the first big CD, the first big digitally recorded album, the first major use of CGI for the groundbreaking video, “Walk of Life” becoming a mainstay at baseball stadiums everywhere that we tend to gloss over the fact that this is one hell of a good album.

    Just listened to it again recently (got the box set for Christmas) and boy does it hold up.

  28. Paul English says:

    The first CD single I bought was Chris Rea’s Let’s Dance in 1987

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      The first one I bought was Bob Geldolf’s ‘Love Like A Rocket’ which was some point in 1986. Anything in 1986 is pretty early.

  29. Alan B says:

    I seem to remember there was a discussion at the time as to what was the first CD single between John Martyn and Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Rage Hard. I think it was accepted it was Martyn.

  30. Milo says:

    This album was entirely recorded in digital. So there’s absolutely no point in releasing it in vinyl, since there’s no way it can improve on the CD.
    It’s simply impossible. It’s just physics.

  31. Dave Finch says:

    I already have Brothers as a half speed! Am I missing something?! Picked it up last summer.

  32. David J says:

    These half speed masters…. Emperors new clothes or new sonic heights unheard before?

    I’ve read forums and read ‘expert’ analysis but it seems split between best thing since sliced bread and marketing bollox!
    Any SDE readers have thoughts?

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      They definitely *can* sound better and to be fair Miles Showell is very good and creating these half-speeds, but I think there will be albums where it’s very hard to tell the difference and of course you need a semi-decent set up as well to make the most of them

      • Graham Thomas says:

        They often end up very bass heavy as the low end frequencies get out of control when they’re slowed too much (or something like that). Witness White Ladder and Dusty In Memphis which are both very bassy, with White Ladder unlistenable at least to me. And agree no point putting digital on vinyl, the only benefit being if your trying and stylus is way better than your CD and dac.

  33. MJ says:

    Alastair, I’m with you on the John Martyn CD. Classic John Martyn Angeline was the first CD single as advertised by Island Records at the time.

  34. Gorni says:

    It‘s about time that they re-release Alchemy and if so I would love the half speed abbey road remaster for it! For me still one of the best if not the best live album of all times. As far as I know it hasn‘t had a re-release before on vinyl, hasn‘t it?

  35. Phil says:

    Probably 33rpm. That’s what the 2 disc in the box set is pressed at

  36. Ian says:

    Looking forward to these, especially Local Hero as I’ve always loved the soundtrack (and the film, of course, although it was the soundtrack that introduced me to the film rather than the other way round). But I hope that one of these days some of Mark Knopfler’s early solo albums might be given the reissue treatment, particularly Sailing to Philadelphia, which I don’t think has ever been out on vinyl or SACD, although there was a DVD-A that I think was only available in America and is quite hard to get hold of now.

  37. CosmoCastanza says:

    Brings back memories of when the first people to have cd players showed off their collections of Brothers In Arms and The Joshua Tree.

    It was a belting album.

  38. Steve says:

    I’m not sure I can be bothered getting up after two songs to flip it over :D

    • Norbert says:

      Does it make sense NOT to spin it on 45 ?
      I mean, (mostly) two tracks on each side….even if there were long….there is enough place to give it a 45 ! Or to give the grooves space ….on 33!

      On the other hand…..I really do not know…..after XRCD, SHM-SACD, MFSL SACD, …..I’m done.

  39. Gareth Jones says:

    I remember my uncle excitedly replacing his original vinyl copy of BIA with a shiny CD version, shortly after he’d bought a CD player. No doubt he will now excitedly replace his shiny CD copy with this vinyl reissue!

    • Mark G says:

      Yes, this one needs submitting to the irony board.

      • Paul Sinclair says:

        The entire vinyl reissue ‘industry’ needs submitting to the ‘irony board’ given that we were told to replace our records with CDs.

        • ARidd says:

          Fortunately, I ignored the “irony board” first time round and kept my vinyl records. I did switch to cds as time went on, but have now rediscovered vinyl.
          I don’t need the new Brothers in Arms as I still have my original, but vinyl reissues are hugely welcome as I can return to more of the classic music that I missed out on first time round.

          • Klaus says:

            Even more fortunately i’m ignoring the irony board now, as i cannot understand for the life of me why people go back from cd to vinyl.

            The only advantage that vinyl 12″-records have over cds is the size of the artwork IMHO and that doesn’t justify buying a format again that is soundwise inferior AND makes you get out of your chair three times when you can stay put for the whole albums length when you put in a cd.

            Ironically i bought BIA (the album) on vinyl first time round as i really liked the music and couldn’t afford a cd-player at the time of release.
            I remember being quite pissed off when i realized that there wasn’t the same audio on the cd after buying it about two years later because in the meantime i had been getting used to the versions that were on the original lp.

            Also i’m wondering if there really is a market for yet another vinyl release of BIA other than those who collect everything that Dire Straits releases.

            If younger people (say up to 30 years of age) are reading this, i’ll appreciate some insight what they are thinking of this release.

          • Paul Sinclair says:

            All a matter of opinion (quality and “the only advantage…”). I don’t think we need another CD v Vinyl debate on SDE.

          • Klaus says:

            @Paul Sinclair:

            “All a matter of opinion…”

            I thought that went without saying, and for the others i added the “IMHO”-bit.
            After reading SDE for about five years now i’m quite aware that other people have other opinions than me and quite like the exchange of those in the comments section.

            So, no new discussion about the (dis)advantages of various physical formats of music-storing, but i’d still be interested in the opinion of the younger readers here regarding the need for yet another version of BIA…

          • Paul Sinclair says:

            It doesn’t really go without saying. Please don’t state things as facts that are just opinion. Same for everyone here.

  40. Tony Cannings says:

    One of my (many) favourite albums. Thanks ordered today. Any chance they might to Love Over gold (Telegraph Road is out of this world) and Making Movies. I’d be up for those two too!

    Thanks for a another great tip off, Paul

  41. Alastair says:

    Was Classic John Martyn not the first cd single?

  42. MARK LEVY says:

    I thought Brothers In Arms has been re-issued as a double vinyl set before?

  43. Jan says:

    I might actually go for Local Hero. Mark lived round the corner from where I live now, West Glasgow until he was eight. Controversial
    …but I’ve always thought of the Local Hero OST as being a template for a lot of post rock bands, in particular Mogwai. They probably wouldn’t agree. Anyhow Mogwai and the Local Hero Soundtrack are great.

    • Stevie B says:

      He was born and he grow up in the very deprived Drumchapel Housing scheme in Glasgow (same as Young brothers from AC/DC) but went to school in the much posher nearby Bearsden. David Byrne (Talking Heads) was born not that far away in Dumbarton too.

      • John MC cann says:

        I’m from Royston Stevie,did you watch the film when Phil met mark a few years ago?I thought mark said on that,that he would listen in bed at night to the shipyards,,, so I always thought he was from the govan area!, Marks all right signed my Stratocaster,if your ever in Ayr pop into Ayr guitar it is on display their,cheers john

  44. Steven Roberts says:

    I recall BIA doing the rounds as promo CD-single, but was it ever released commerically?

    Land of Confusion was certainly one of first commercial CD singles I bought, if not strictly THE first – difficult to remember precisely, it being 35 years ago!!

    Peter Gabriel – Big Time was another, as was Gary Moore – Over the Hills and Far Away (as as Simple Minds – Ghostdancing, though I didn’t bother with that one….)

  45. Gary Tilford says:

    So it would seem. Just looked on Wiki, doesn’t even mention it. I was wrong. Don’t know why I thought that.

  46. Gary Tilford says:

    I would have thought that with only 2 or 3 tracks per side, Brothers In Arms will be pressed at 45rpm. By the way, I thought Land of Confusion by Genesis was the first CD single.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Should be, yes. Land of Confusion definitely wasn’t the first.

      • jonathan stevens says:

        according to wiki:
        “The first commercially released CD Single was Angeline by John Martyn released on 1 February 1986. CD singles were first made eligible for the UK Singles Chart in 1987, and the first number 1 available on the format in that country was “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” by Whitney Houston in May 1987.
        “Brothers in Arms” was first released as a single on 14 October 1985.”
        BIA was a promo version, then again as another promo tour version.

      • Willy says:

        I have this weird memory from way back then, probably totally wrong, that John Martyn released the first CD single.

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