Mark Knopfler purchased this Eko 700 from Rudy’s Music Stop on West 48th Street, New York, on 5 March 2004, towards the end of recording sessions at Shangri-La Studios in Malibu, California, for his fourth solo studio album Shangri-La. Presumably, Rudy shipped the guitar directly to Shangri-La Studios for Mark’s final week of recording, which concluded in mid-March. By this time, Knopfler’s core band for solo recordings comprised former Dire Straits keyboardist Guy Fletcher, with guitarist Richard Bennett and bassist Glenn Worf, both of whom had been with him since the mid-90s. According to Knopfler’s own website, he played this Eko 700 to record the track 'Song For Sonny Liston', as photographed in the studio by Fletcher, with Worf and drummer Chad Cromwell making up the trio.
Knopfler told us: 'Sometimes, nobody really knows why a guitar works better than others. I bought a few little Eko guitars, you know, that are like, cheap little… look like cocktail sticks. I like cheap guitars as well. I had a few there just because I knew that one of them would answer for a song at some point. I was doing a song called 'Song For Sonny Liston' and just tried a few of them… and then there was that blue one, I remember, and that was THE ONE for that song. A lot of the time, say for that 'Song For Sonny Liston', I would use my ‘59 Les Paul (lot 42) on stage for that, and it just suited that song.' A lament for the troubled American heavyweight boxing champion, the song was inspired by Nick Tosches’ 2000 biography. 'You find yourself writing about things that break your heart,' he told Barney Hoskyns in 2004, 'and that's partly what writing is for me. I think you try to stay in touch with things in you that make you feel.'
EKO MUSIC GROUP
The Eko Music Group was founded by Oliviero Pigini in 1959 as a manufacturer and wholesale distributor of musical instruments and equipment. Initially a producer of accordions, Pigini quickly saw the potential for growth in the guitar market and began a concerted effort to establish a global footprint with guitars. By 1965, Eko was producing both electric and acoustic guitars with racy model names like the Cobra, Dragon and Barracuda. They helped Italian-made guitars account for 12% of the global export of guitars by the mid-1960s. Eko obtained distribution in the UK via the music merchandiser Rose-Morris and US Eko guitars were also manufacturing several guitar models for Vox (see lot 101). With bodies in bright primary colours and sparkle laminates along with a plethora of rocker buttons to control different tones, Eko guitars owed much of their style to Italian accordion designs.