Led by singer and guitarist Mark Knopfler, Dire Straits formed in Newcastle, England in 1977. The band counted blues and country among their influences, but they also drew inspiration from the contemporary pub-rock scene. An almost overnight success, the group was signed by a major U.S. label after opening for Talking Heads on tour. They saw their biggest sales with the release of Brothers in Arms in 1985, bolstered in part by MTV's enthusiastic support of their videos. In 1995, Dire Straits disbanded and Knopfler began a fruitful solo career.