BORN IN Glasgow, Mark Knopfler was musical from an early age. He recorded his first single at 16 but it was never released.

In his teens he became interested in playing the guitar and bought his first instrument. Although he is left handed, Knopfler plays right handed.

He studied journalism and got his first job on the Yorkshire Evening Post.

He began playing in bands and is said to have developed his distinctive style playing an old warped acoustic guitar which could only be played by being plucked.

In 1973 he decided to break into the rock music scene and went to London.

He answered an advert he found in a music magazine which led to him joining blues band Brewer's Droop.

After leaving the band he became a lecturer for a while at Loughton College in Essex before forming another band - Café Racers.

The line-up of the band changed and Mark's brother David as well as their housemate John Illsley as well as Mark's old Brewer's Droop bandmate, Pick Withers.

The band changed their name to Dire Straits. They sent some demo tapes to BBC Radio London and DJ Charlie Gillett played them on the air, calling on record executives to sign the band.

Shorly after they were sighed to the Vertigo label.

By the mid-1980s they had released Brothers in Arms, one of the biggest-selling albums of all time, and the press were referring to them as the biggest band in the world'. Among their legions of fans was Princess Diana.

Among the band's hit singles were: Sultans of Swing (1979), Romeo and Juliet (1981), Private Investigations (1982), Money for Nothing (1985) and Walk of Life (1986).

In 1995 Dire Straits disbanded and a year later Knopfler embarked on a far more low key solo career.

Knopfler has been married three times. He has two children from his second marriage and two by his third, to Kitty Aldridge.

NAME: Mark Knopfler Occupation: Musician DATE OF BIRTH: August 12, 1949 Local link: Lives in the New Forest