Detroit’s declaration of bankruptcy has been discussed in countless articles, both the how and the why of it.

One thing nearly everyone agrees on is that it’s been a long time coming. Just how long? Well, if you’d like a musical interlude, just listen to this song “Telegraph Road” by Dire Staits (and read the lyrics).

The song was first performed by its composer Mark Knopfler and the band in March of 1981, thirty-two years ago. Knopfler, who was born in Scotland but grew up in England, reports having written the song during a visit to—of course—the city of Detroit, driving along Telegraph Road and thinking of the rise and fall of the city.

Note in particular the last stanza:

I’ve seen desperation explode into flames
And I don’t want to see it again. . .
From all of these signs saying sorry but we’re closed
All the way down the Telegraph Road.


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