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Palash Sen on how Mark Knopfler's Romeo and Juliet takes him back to the '80s
Listening to Romeo and Juliet, a song by the '80s band Dire Straits from the album Making Movies has always been an overwhelming experience for me. It is a unique track sung by Mark Knopfler. It is an excellent mishmash of energy and tone.
I heard the song for the first time when I was 13. Though back then I could not really understand the intricate notes or the higher philosophy of the lyrics, I fell for it. My sister and I used to sit and listen to this song for hours in the evening, an obsession only known to my family. Also those were times of audio cassettes, and I had recorded this song five times back-to-back so that it would keep playing on each side of the tape.
I think this song sort of pays a tribute to Shakespeare in a modern way. The reason is that this is a romantic song, and has a ballad-like quality to it. It paints an archaic portrait of an extremely powerful romance, an unrequited love. And this part is truly inspirational and has been an important theme in most of my own songs.
Also it speaks for everybody in love. With lyrics that go like, "A love-struck romeo sings the streets a serenade/Laying everybody low with a lovesong that he made/Finds a streetlight steps out of the shade/Says something like you and me babe, how about it?" and trademark guitar-drum notes with excellent riffs.
It sounds ordinarily extraordinary. Something about the pop nature of the song just takes me back to those times when genuine faith in romance prevailed.
I heard the same song in Mumbai three years back when Mark Knopfler had performed. And to my surprise, the entire stadium full of 20,000 people sang along to the song. It sounded fresh as ever.