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Dire Straits’ Alan Clarke reveals he’s always wanted to play with Van Morrison

“It was always an ambition of mine to be in his band. I’m a great fan of his music and work”

Alan Clark

Sunday World

Dire Straits legend Alan Clark has played with Elton John, Eric Clapton and Bruce Willis, but the one that got away was Van Morrison.

The keyboard maestro worked on one of the biggest selling albums of all time, Brothers in Arms, as well as launching Tina Turner into the stratosphere with Private Dancer.

He’s heading back to Belfast this week with Dire Straits Legacy to perform tracks like Money for Nothing, Walk of Life and Sultans of Swing, which became the soundtrack of the Eighties.

And the visit to one of his favourite cities will give him a chance to catch up on Van Morrison’s music.

“When I was working with Eric Clapton he would come along and jam with us,” says Alan.

“Mark Knopfler and a couple of the guys rehearsed with him with a view to doing a gig, but it just didn’t happen.

“It was always an ambition of mine to be in his band. I’m a great fan of his music and work.”

Alan’s CV is a who’s who of the musical world and he’s been playing in Belfast since the late Seventies.

On his first visit with folk group Lindisfarne he was stunned to see the pictures familiar from the nightly news in front of him on the street.

“I remember walking out of the soundcheck and seeing soldiers crouched on the pavements. We had seen that on the news but to see it for real was very different.

“Things had changed when I went back with Dire Straits and I loved wandering around the city. I have very fond memories of it.”

The 70-year-old says the tour with Dire Straits Legacy, with musicians including producer Trevor Horn, has brought home the impact the band had. Brothers in Arms is still in the top ten best-selling albums of all time.

“It’s great fun, and it’s a great honour. People tell us it’s the soundtrack of their life. It never occurred to me at the time when I was doing it. I can look back now and see the effect it had on people 40 years later,” he says.

“At the time Dire Straits was the biggest band in the world.”

  • Dire Straits Legacy is at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast on October 9.

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