Rock n' Folk

Ticket to Heaven

Nestled deep into the last album that Dire Straits ever made – 1991’s On Every Street – is a song that I consider as close to perfection as there is. The cornerstone of the song is the calm and gentle demeanor of Mark Knopfler in his vocal and instrumental delivery… I mean, who can pick a Fender Stratocaster with more beauty and eloquence?

In his work with Dire Straits and in his solo work since, Mark just has an innate ability to craft together beautiful &  sublime melodies: “Romeo & Juliet”, “Water of Love”, “Love Over Gold”, “Why Worry”,  “Brothers in Arms”, “All That Matters”, “Shangri-La”, “Love and Happiness”, “If This Is Goodbye”… and the list goes on.

I’m a fan.

And then there’s “Ticket to Heaven”.  On the surface, a gorgeously crafted song about faith in eternal life. But digging in a little deeper, if you pay attention to the verses, it’s a scathing, tongue-in-cheek slam on tele-evangelism…

Now there’s nothing left for luxuries
Nothing left to pay my heating bill.
But the good lord will provide
I know he will.
So send what you can
To the man with the diamond ring.
They’re tuning in across the land
To hear him sing.

Still as true in 2009 as it was in the early part of the 90’s. They fan out across the country every Sunday, and every night on television I’m sure – preying on anyone with a doubt and a pocketbook.

If you search on Youtube for a video of Dire Straits performing this song, you won’t find Knopfler and the Boys. What you will find, is Popeye. Whoa whoaaa there… don’t disparage Popeye. Don’t write him off at first glance. This tattooed, spirited Dutchman will put a smile on your face. Feel the essence, the essence of POPEYE!


  • jesselun

    Tremendous song. Definitely one of their best, and so deep in the album. That’s why you gotta listen to the whole thing

  • Eric

    Good pick Pete. I’m a huge fan too, and have always loved that song, but…Popeye? Maybe I’m not fully awake, or just in a funny mood, but I think Popeye’s charming as hell. “The essence of Popeye”, indeed. I like it.
    Take care man, and as always, thanks for all your hard work on what remains one of the finest music blogs. Hope your wife and kids are well.

  • Matt

    I really enjoyed the On Every Street album, and this tune was one of my favorites from the album, along with “My Parties” – Wish I would have seen this tour when it was in Cleveland.

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