Dire Straits were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Saturday night without singer, guitarist and band lynchpin Mark Knopfler present.
Together with Mark, his younger sibling David Knopfler also didn’t attend after the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame allegedly “reneged on their promise” to pay his expenses for attending the ceremony.
With drummer Pick Withers also not there, it was left to bassist John Illsley, multi-instrumentalist Guy Fletcher and keyboardist Alan Clark to take to the stage at Cleveland’s Public Auditorium.
Without anyone to induct them, somewhat bizarrely John Illsley himself was left to self-induct Dire Straits, telling the crowd: "I know it’s a little bit odd, but it’s my honour to welcome Dire Straits into the Hall of Fame.”
Acknowledging Mark Knopfler’s glaring absence, John said: "I know there’s been a lot of speculation about the fact that Mark is not here, but I can assure you, it’s just a personal thing. It’s personal reasons, let’s just leave it at that.
“This is really more about a group of people more than one person, it’s a collective, a brotherhood and that’s something that needs acknowledging tonight."
Mark Knopfler © REX/Shutterstock
In an earlier interview with Billboard, John said of Mark: "He just didn't feel like coming, it's as simple as that.
“It just didn't appeal to him, and I appealed to him on several occasions. I said, 'Look, I'd love you to get your head around this.' He said, 'Look, I just can't do it, John. I'm really sorry. It's a great honour for us and all the rest of it, and I just can't get my head around it,' so I've just got to respect it.”
John also confirmed that Alan’s claims in a blog that the trio were set to perform an acoustic version of ‘Telegraph Road' with Stevie Wonder was just a joke.
"That's not going to happen," John said. "That's Alan having a bit of fun. I was hoping people weren't going to take it too seriously. I wouldn't perform without Mark there, so it's as simple as that, really. If Mark's not there, there's no point."
During his acceptance speech on Saturday, Guy Fletcher said: "I never thought of Dire Straits as a particularly cool band. I’m massively thrilled to have been part of it. A small wheel in a big machine. There's a few parts missing, but these things happen."
Alan Clark, who joined Dire Straits in 1980, kept his speech short and sweet, saying. "How cool is this, eh?"
You can watch the full speech here: