This song became a staple of MTV, to the point where a special version actually began with the words, “I want my MTV.”
The song is the story of the everyday guy, lamenting how rock stars get all that money for basically doing nothing, and it was inspired by a visit lead singer and songwriter Mark Knopfler made to an appliance store in New York City.
“My wife Lourdes and I went to look at some kitchen stuff in this store, and there was a wall of TV sets. There was some ‘blockhead’ who was talking about the acts because all of the TVs were tuned to MTV. He was coming out with these classic lines. I went back to the custom kitchen part of the store and asked for a pen and paper and started writing the song down at this kitchen table.”
Most of the language in the song was thanks to the so-called “blockhead.” As Knopfler explained:
“I wanted to use a lot of the language that the real guy actually used when I heard him because it was more real. It just went better with the song, it was more muscular.”
It turned out to be very muscular on the pop charts too, jumping all the way to No. 1 in the late summer days of 1985 and remained there for three weeks in a row. +