Mark Knopfler is a guitarist, singer, songwriter, and bandleader. His group, Dire Straits, was formed in London in 1977 and went on to become an international success after the release of its debut album in 1978. Though it began as a group with a permanent line-up led by Knopfler, in its first few years it evolved into a brand name for Knopfler with varying personnel. In 1995, Knopfler quietly laid Dire Straits to rest. He launched a full-fledged solo career with the release of "Golden Heart" in 1996.