Founder member of Dire Straits along with his brother Mark, though David left the group after recording the first three albums so as to 'broaden his horizons'. David played rhythm guitar on Dire Straits' first two albums, Dire Straits and Communiqué. During the recording of Making Movies he left the group to pursue a solo career.
After leaving Dire Straits, David released his first solo album in 1983 titled Release. Behind the Lines his second album was released in 1985 and Cut the Wire in 1986. 1988 saw the release of his fourth album, Lips Against the Steel. - released in the U.S. by Cypress Records. Lifelines in 1991 was recorded in Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios. David released The Giver in 1993. (MESA/Bluemoon in the US). Its sparse acoustic arrangements brought strong critical acclaim. Co-produced with Harry Bogdanovs, Small Mercies and Wishbones followed in 1995 & 2001. Chris Rea guested on Wishbones.
His latest CD, Ship of Dreams was released in 2004. A book of poetry has been recently published with the title "Blood Stones and Rhythmic Beasts" by UK's BlackWing books (Released 6 May 2005. ISBN 0-9550260).
The US & Canadian jazz label Justintime Records released Ship of Dreams in October 2005 with an alternate rendition of "Tears Fall" featuring Megan Slankard (replacing Jule Neigel on the original European release).
Recent co-writing projects have included co-writes with Amilia Spicer, Mack Starks, Megan Slankard and Wendy Lands.
David has also scored the soundtracks for German TV productions including such films as: Treffer (1984), Jakob hinter der blauen Tür (1989) and Der grosse Bellheim.
Knopfler has started recording his next album with keyboardist/producer, Tony Carey.