Romeo and Juliet, by Dire Straits

(Spotted first by @FolgerLibrary!)

American Songwriter gives dddus the chance this morning to talk about one of the great moments in “Shakespeare put to music” — Dire Straits’ Romeo and Juliet.  Acknowledging that “Knopfler just used those iconic names as a jumping-off point for a portrait of a modern romance,” the author of the piece goes on to examine (with ample Shakespeare references) just where the similarities lie.

What the piece does not do is ask the all important question that we ask ourselves whenever this song comes up.  Who had the best version?

First we have Dire Straits’ original, from Making Movies.

Next up is the version I think I’m most familiar with (well, besides the original) — Indigo Girls.  I don’t think they’ve got an official music video for the song, so the best I could find was this live clip.

Now here’s the version that everybody else but me seems more familiar with — The Killers.  I’ve got a bunch of their stuff in my regular playlists, but this one just never seemed to find its way to the list.

For a bonus, here’s a couple I never knew existed.  First, Edwin McCain (“I’ll Be”, “I Could Not Ask For More”, …)

And, finally, somebody named Dan Hardin?  I don’t know anything about him, but I spotted people talking about his version on the YouTube comments so I thought I’d give him a shout out.  Warning, the video’s awful.  But the singing is good.

Which version is your favorite?  Or do you have another version that you prefer, that I missed?  Let us know!

One thought on “Romeo and Juliet, by Dire Straits

  1. Here is a link to a cleaner audio of the Indigo Girls' version–no video, though:

    This version with Mark Knopfler Night in London (1996) is pretty impressive:
    And I think it is my all time favorite rendition.
    Whole concert:

    Usually, I am a cynical bastard when it comes to sentimental songs. My wife and kids can back me up here. However, this is one of the few songs that can bring a tear to my eye.

    I always liked the original Dire Straits version(not the video–too full of MTV cliche).
    Indigo Girls' voices put a spin on it reminicient of Ricky Lee Jones at her early best.
    The Killers' cover is also pretty powerful.

    I think it is interesting that the American Songwriter article stated "To be fair, Knopfler just used those iconic names as a jumping-off point for a portrait of a modern romance . . ."
    Isn't that just what Shakespeare did in so many cases: took an old story and made it a contemporary play for his times?

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