Songs about cities [1]

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Telegraph Road, Dire Straits, 1982.

[I] was driving down that road and I was reading a book at the time, called Growth of the Soil, and I just put the two together. I was driving down this Telegraph Road… and it just went on and on and on forever, it's like what they call linear development. And I just started to think, I wondered how that road must have been when it started, what it must have first been. And then really that's how it all came about, I just put that book together and the place where I was, I was actually sitting in the front of the tour bus at the time.

Inspired by the expansion of suburban Detroit, Michigan, Telegraph Road is a universal portrait of the close relationship between the evolving urban space and the human lives that dwell within. The song’s narrative begins with the tale of a man’s individual journey into the mainland, followed by the steady expansion of the built landscape along the path. The musical structure is divided into three separate acts: a crescendo narrating the growth of the city, up to 5 minutes; a slow decline reflecting the stagnation of the industrial boom, the consequent unemployment and personal crisis, up to 9 minutes; and a slow rebirth, expressing hope in a better future ahead. Telegraph Road was written by Mark Knopfler and was originally released in the Dire Straits album Love Over Gold, in the year 1982. A shorter version of this song can be found on the live album Alchemy, recorded in 1984.