Happy Birthday to John Edward Illsley – born June 24, 1949!
John Edward Illsley (born in Leicester) is an English musician best known as bass guitarist of the rock band Dire Straits. With Dire Straits, Illsley has been the recipient of multiple BRIT and Grammy Awards and a Heritage Award.
As one of the founding band members, with guitarist brothers Mark and David Knopfler, and drummer Pick Withers, Illsley played a role in the development of Dire Straits’ sound. By the time the group disbanded in 1995 changes in personnel meant that Illsley and lead singer Mark Knopfler were the only two original band members remaining.
Illsley has produced two albums of his own with Mark Knopfler as a guest musician, and has helped with Mark’s personal projects and charities. He released two more albums, with influence from the Celtic-based band Cunla.
In 2012 John presented a TV programme with Mark for Sky Arts called “Guitar Stories: Mark Knopfler”, in which the pair revisit 6 guitars that helped define Mark’s music, both in the UK and in the USA.