Origin Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Years active 1977-1984 (The Police)
Labels A&M Records
For other uses, see Sting (disambiguation).
For professional wrestler Steve Borden, see Sting (wrestler).
Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, CBE (born 2 October 1951), usually known by his stage name Sting, is a British musician from Newcastle upon Tyne. Prior to a distinguished solo career, he was the lead singer, principal composer, and bassist of the 1970s/1980s rock band The Police.
" 1 Biography
o 1.1 Origin of nickname
o 1.2 The Police
" 2 Solo career
o 2.1 Early work
o 2.2 1980s
o 2.3 1990s
o 2.4 2000s
" 3 Acting career
" 4 Activism
" 5 Personal life
" 6 Trivia
" 7 Discography
o 7.1 Albums
o 7.2 Virtual Albums
o 7.3 Singles
" 8 Bibliography
" 9 See also
" 10 References
" 11 External links
Sumner was born in Wallsend, near Newcastle upon Tyne in northeast England, to Audrey Cowell and her husband, Ernest Sumner. He is the eldest of four children and has a brother, Philip, and two sisters, Angela and Anita. His father managed a dairy, and as a boy Sumner would often assist him with the early morning milk delivery rounds. Sumner was raised in the Roman Catholic tradition, due to the influence of his paternal grandmother, who was from an Irish family.
Sumner attended St. Cuthbert's Grammar School in Newcastle upon Tyne, and then the University of Warwick, but did not graduate. After jobs as a bus conductor, a construction labourer, and a tax officer, he attended Northern Counties Teachers' Training College from 1971 to 1974. He then worked as a teacher at St. Paul's First School in Cramlington for two years.
From an early age, Gordon Sumner knew that he wanted to be a musician. His first music gigs were wherever he could get a job, performing evenings, weekends, and during vacations from college and teaching. He played with local jazz bands such as the Phoenix Jazzmen, the Newcastle Big Band, and Last Exit.
Origin of nickname
He has stated that he gained his nickname while with the Phoenix Jazzmen. He once performed wearing a black and yellow jersey with hooped stripes that bandleader Gordon Solomon had noted made him look like a bumblebee; thus Sumner became "Sting." He uses Sting almost exclusively, except on official documents. In a press conference, he once jokingly stated that even his children call him "Sting". However, his current wife Trudie Styler, affectionately refers to him by his real name, Gordon.
Main article: The Police
In January 1977, Sting moved from Newcastle to London, and soon thereafter he joined Stewart Copeland and Henry Padovani (who was very soon replaced by Andy Summers) to form the new wave band The Police. The group had several chart-topping albums and won six Grammy Awards in the early 1980s.
Although they jumped on the punk bandwagon early in their career, The Police soon abandoned that sound in favor of reggae-tinged rock and minimalist pop. Their last album, Synchronicity, which included their most successful song, "Every Breath You Take", was released in 1983.
In September 1981, Sting made his first live solo appearance, performing on all four nights of the fourth Amnesty International benefit The Secret Policeman's Other Ball at the invitation of producer Martin Lewis. He performed solo versions of "Roxanne" and "Message in a Bottle".
He also led an all-star band (dubbed "The Secret Police") on his own arrangement of Bob Dylan's, "I Shall Be Released". The band included Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Phil Collins and Bob Geldof, all of whom (except Beck) later worked together on Live Aid.
His performances were featured prominently in the album and movie of the show and drew Sting major critical attention. Sting's participation in The Secret Policeman's Other Ball was the beginning of his growing involvement in raising money and consciousness for political and social causes.
In 1982 he released a solo single, Spread a Little Happiness from the Dennis Potter television play Brimstone and Treacle. The song was a re-interpretation of a song from the 1920s musical Mr. Cinders by Vivian Ellis, and was a surprise Top 20 hit in the UK.
Sting's first solo album, 1985's The Dream of the Blue Turtles, featured a cast of accomplished jazz musicians, including Kenny Kirkland, Darryl Jones, Omar Hakim, and Branford Marsalis. It included the hit single "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free", which included a fan favorite non-LP track titled "Another Day". The album also yielded the hits, "Fortress Around Your Heart", "Russians", and "Love is the Seventh Wave". Within a year, it reached Triple Platinum. This album would help Sting garner a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. The film and video "Bring On The Night" documented the formation of the band and its first concert in France.
Also in 1985, he sang the introduction and chorus to "Money for Nothing", a groundbreaking song by Dire Straits. He would perform this song with Dire Straits at the Live Aid Concert at Wembley Stadium. Sting also provided a short guest vocal performance on the Miles Davis album You're Under Arrest.
Sting released ...Nothing Like the Sun in 1987, including the hit songs "We'll Be Together", "Fragile", "Englishman in New York", and "Be Still My Beating Heart", dedicated to his recently-deceased mother. It eventually went Double Platinum. The song "The Secret Marriage" from this album was adapted from a melody by German composer Hans Eisler, and "Englishman In New York" was about the eccentric writer Quentin Crisp. The album's title is taken from William Shakespeare's Sonnet #130.
Soon thereafter, in February 1988, he released Nada Como el Sol, a selection of five songs from Sun sung (by Sting himself) in Spanish and Portuguese. Sting was also involved in two other recordings in the late 1980's, the first in 1987 with noted jazz arranger Gil Evans who placed Sting in a big band setting for a live album of Sting's songs (the CD was not released in the U.S.), and the second on Frank Zappa's 1988 "Broadway The Hard Way" album, where Sting performs an unusual arrangement of "Murder By Numbers", set to the tune "Stolen Moments" by jazz composer Oliver Nelson, and "dedicated" to fundamentalist evangelist Jimmy Swaggart.
Sting's 1991 album The Soul Cages was dedicated to his recently-deceased father and included the Top 10 song "All this Time" and the Grammy-winning "Soul Cages". The album eventually went Platinum. The following year, he married Trudie Styler and was awarded an honorary doctorate degree in music from Northumbria University. In 1993, he released the album TenSummoner's Tales, which went Triple Platinum in just over a year. The title is wordplay on his surname, Sumner and Geoffrey Chaucer's classic The Canterbury Tales. Concurrent video albums were released to support "Soul Cages" (a live concert) and "Ten Summoner's Tales" (recorded during the recording sessions for the album).
In May 1993, Sting released a re-mix of the classic Police song from the Ghost In The Machine album, "Demolition Man" for the Demolition Man film.
Sting reached a pinnacle of success in 1994. Together with Bryan Adams and Rod Stewart, they performed the chart-topping song "All For Love" from the film The Three Musketeers. The song stayed at the top of the U.S. charts for five weeks and went Platinum; it is to date Sting's only song from his post-Police career to top the U.S. charts. In February, he won two more Grammy Awards and was nominated for three more. The Berklee College of Music gave him his second honorary doctorate of music degree in May. In November, he released a greatest hits compilation called Fields of Gold: The Best of