Dire Straits chose punk and disco's most formative year to make their debut. Coincidence? Strategic marketing? Or just a typically trend-free statement from frontman Mark Knopfler? Whatever the case, 1978's Dire Straits sounded little like anything else released that year, not even the traditional rock 'n' roll it seemed to be rooted in.

And that's pretty much the path the band took during its brief career, which yielded only six albums. Whenever Knopfler felt he was getting too comfortable, stagnant or pigeonholed, he turned things around on the next record. From bar-band rockers to ambitious storytellers to stadium-shaking superstars, Dire Straits rarely made the same album twice.

That's evident in the below list of Dire Straits Albums Ranked Worst to Best, which gathers the group's six studio LPs and charts the band's growth over the 13 years it recorded. "Money for Nothing" made them huge MTV stars (all the while biting the hand that fed), but Knopfler never compromised his band's vision. And by breaking up after a half-dozen albums, they never got around to making a bad or embarrassing one.