Watch A Young Keith Urban Take On Dire Straits in 1997

7 March 2023 | 10:45 am | Staff Writer

'Sultans Of Swing' was Dire Strait's debut single.

(Image: Supplied)

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Dire Straits recently shared an old performance of Keith Urban singing their 1978 hit, debut single, Sultans Of Swing. In his early career, Urban is on record, stating his guitar playing was influenced by Dire Straits’ lead vocalist and guitarist, Mark Knopfler.

“I was in a group called Kid’s Country, which we put together to play in shopping centres and so on. It was all kids about 10, 11, 12, up to about 15,” Urban shares about how his interest in the British rock band started. “I met a guy in that band called Reg Grant who is a guitar played from Brisbane and he was a major Dire Straits fan, so he played all these Dire Straits records.”

Recorded in 1997 on the award-winning daytime variety show, Midday With Kerri-Anne with host Kerri-Anne Kennerley, the video sees Urban dressed in an oversized maroon velvet shirt, ripped blue jeans, boots and statement green pendant necklace. His signature flowing locks are on show as he stums his acoustic guitar to the recognisable tune.  

The rare interview was uploaded by YouTube channel ‘Keith Urban Superfan’ in 2015. In it, Urban also talks about trying to breakthrough in Nashville, fears of losing his Australian audience, working with Garth Brooks, country music cliches as well as being a fan of Glen Campbell.   

Urban moved to Nashville in 1992, two years after the release of his self-titled debut album. In 1997, he formed a band known as The Ranch. He promotes their self-titled album during the midday interview, which featured the singles Walkin’ The Country and Just Some Love.

Talking about his move abroad, Urban says, “Initially, it was a lot harder than any of us were prepared for. But Nashville is a place where we have to stay. You’ve gotta go and stay there and really show them that you’re committed and you’re gonna do what’s required.”

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“Losing our Australian audience was part of my concern because we have to be away for so long that it would be easy for people in Australia to think he doesn’t care about us and not understand why we have to stay there,” he continues. “But that seems to have not happened, which is really great. And, I guess, losing our musical identity in the midst of the corporate world is always a bit of a worry but having a band around to keep your music vision stay the same has been really good.”

The Ranch album subsequently was nominated for the ‘Best Country Album’ at the 1997 ARIA Music Awards. It peaked at #82 on the Australian ARIA Chart and #34 on the US Billboard Top Country Albums Chart – and was the beginning of his lucrative career.


Keep up to date with Keith Urban on his Facebook page here.