Piper to the End

Mark Knopfler

About Piper to the End

"Piper to the End" is a Celtic folk song written by Mark Knopfler, the lead singer and songwriter for the rock band Dire Straits. The song is the final track on Knopfler's solo album Get Lucky. The song is about Knopfler's uncle Freddie who was a piper of the 1st Battalion, Tyneside Scottish, the Black Watch, Royal Highland Regiment. Freddie carried his pipes into action in World War II and was killed with fellow fighters at Ficheux, near Arras in the north of France in May 1940. He was just 20 years old. Knopfler describes the moment of Freddie's death in the latter's own words: Knopfler explains that he never knew Freddie personally, his mother's brother, but that he was very close to his uncle Kingsley, Freddie's older brother. Kingsley taught Knopfler to play the boogie-woogie piano. Knopfler explained in an interview, "The pipes always made sense to me, and growing up in Glasgow as well as Newcastle, in my grandmother's home, there were Jimmy Shand records, so the sound of Celtic music always seems familiar to me." 


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Mark Knopfler

Mark Freuder Knopfler, OBE (born 12 August 1949) is a British guitarist, singer, songwriter, record producer and film score composer. He is best known as the lead guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for the British rock band Dire Straits, which he co-founded in 1977. After Dire Straits disbanded in 1995, Knopfler went on to record and produce seven solo albums, including Golden Heart (1996), Sailing to Philadelphia (2000), The Ragpicker's Dream (2002), Shangri-La (2004), Kill To Get Crimson (2007), Get Lucky (2009) and Privateering (2012). He has composed and produced film scores for eight films, including Local Hero (1983), Cal (1984), The Princess Bride (1987), and Wag the Dog (1997). In addition to his work with Dire Straits and as a solo artist and compos… more »

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12 facts about this song

Song Creation
"Piper to the End" is a song written and performed by British singer-songwriter Mark Knopfler from his sixth studio album, "Get Lucky".
Album Release
The album "Get Lucky" featuring "Piper to the End" was released in September 2009.
Mark Knopfler wrote "Piper to the End" as a tribute to his late Uncle Freddie, who was a piper of the 1st Battalion, Tyneside Scottish, the Black Watch, RHR, and died during the Second World War.
Musical Style
The song has a distinct Celtic influence, reflecting Knopfler's Scottish heritage.
"Piper to the End" uniquely features bagpipes, an unusual instrument in rock music.
Live Performances
The song is often played during Knopfler's live performances, and has since become a fan favorite.
Reception and Reviews
"Piper to the End", along with the entire album "Get Lucky", often receives critical acclaim for its storytelling, compelling lyrics, and unique musical composition, showcasing Knopfler's versatility as a songwriter and musician.
The lyrics of "Piper to the End" vividly depict a Scottish soldier heading off to war, playing his pipes, a nod to Knopfler's Uncle's service during the war.
Album Credits
In the album "Get Lucky", Mark Knopfler plays guitar and sings, accompanied by an ensemble of musicians on different instruments, including bagpipes for "Piper to the End".
Song Duration
"Piper to the End" lasts for 5 minutes and 48 seconds, making it one of the longer tracks on the "Get Lucky" album.
Personal Connection
Mark Knopfler once mentioned in an interview that his late Uncle Freddie was a reason he became a musician - adding a deep personal connection to "Piper to the End".
The song, like much of Mark Knopfler’s work, falls under the rock genre, but also incorporates folk and country elements.

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