& The Police - Biography
Gordon Matthew Sumner, CBE
(born October 2, 1951), best known by his stage name Sting,
is an English musician and formerly bassist and lead singer of The
Sumner was born in Newcastle,
England to Audrey and Ernie, a milkman, and raised a Roman Catholic.
From an early age, he knew that he wanted to be a musician. He
attended the University of Warwick in Coventry, but did not
graduate. From 1971 to 1974, he attended Northern Counties Teacher
Training College. He has a brother, Phil, and two sisters, Anita and
Before playing music
professionally, Sumner worked as a ditch digger and a teacher of
English. His first music gigs were wherever he could get a job. He
played with local jazz bands such as the Phoenix Jazzmen and Last
Exit. It is most likely that he gained his nickname while with the
Jazzmen. He once performed wearing a black and yellow striped jersey
that fellow band member Gordon Solomon had noted made him look like
a bee, thus he became Sting. He uses Sting almost exclusively,
except on official documents.
In 1977, Sting, Stewart Copeland,
and Andy Summers, formed the rock/pop band The Police in London. The
group had several chart topping albums and won six Grammy Awards in
the early 1980s, including their arguably best well-known song,
Every Breath You Take. Their last album, Synchronicity
was released in 1983. The Police attempted a reunion in 1986 with
re-recording of their song "Don't Stand So Close to Me", but did not
Sting has occasionally ventured
into acting. He made his film debut in 1979's Quadrophenia.
Apart from playing a devil-like character in Brimstone and
Treacle (1982), one of his more famous roles was that of
Feyd-Rautha in the 1984 film adaptation of Dune. More
recently, he appeared in Guy Ritchie's Lock, Stock and Two
Smoking Barrels. He has also made appearances on television
(including guest spots on The Simpsons and Ally McBeal)
and stage. Most of his later credits in films and TV are for his
1985's The Dream of the Blue
Turtles, featuring a star-studded cast of jazz musicians, was
Sting's first solo album. It included the hit single "If You Love
Somebody Set Them Free". Within a year, it reached Triple Platinum.
He also sang the introduction and chorus to "Money for Nothing", a
groundbreaking song by Dire Straits. Sting released Nothing Like
the Sun (1987), including the hit songs "We'll Be Together" and
"Be Still My Beating Heart", dedicated to his recently deceased
mother. It eventually went Double Platinum and was recognized as one
of the most important rock & roll albums of the 1980s. Soon
thereafter, in February of 1988, he released Nada Como el Sol
— a selection of five songs from Nothing Like the Sun sung
(by Sting himself) in Spanish and Portuguese.
In the late 1980s, Sting strongly
supported environmentalism and humanitarian movements, including
Amnesty International. With long-time girlfriend Trudie Styler and a
Kayapó Indian leader in Brazil, he founded the Rainforest Foundation
to help save the rainforests. His support for these causes continues
to this day.
His 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 Ten
Summoner's Tales, which went Triple Platinum in just over a
year. In May, he released a remix of The Police's song "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. Finally in November, he released a greatest hits
compilation called Fields of Gold: The Best of Sting, which
was eventually certified Double Platinum.
Sting's 1996 album, Mercury
Falling debuted strongly, but dropped quickly on the charts.
Yet, he reached the Top 40 with two singles the same year with "You
Still Touch Me" (June) and "I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying"
(December). (Sting was also featured on Toby Keith's country
cover-version of "I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying", on Keith's 1997
Dream Walkin' album.) In 1998, he appeared in the film
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
Sting made a (partial) comeback
with the September 1999 album Brand New Day, including the
Top 40 hits "Brand New Day" and "Desert Rose" (Top 10). The album
went Triple Platinum by January 2001. In 2000, he won Grammy Awards
for Brand New Day and the song of the same name. At the
awards ceremony, he performed "Desert Rose" with Cheb Mami. For his
performance, the Arab-American Institute Foundation gave him the
Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Award.
Sting kicked off 2001 with a
performance during the Super Bowl's half time show. He added another
Grammy to his collection in February. His song "After the Rain has
Fallen" made it into the Top 40. On September 11, he recorded a new
live album in Italy, but the Internet simulcast was cancelled after
the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack. Later, Sting performed
"Fragile" for the fundraiser America: A Tribute to Heroes.
His live album, All This Time, recorded on a moonlit night in
Tuscany, was released in November but did not gather healthy sales
figures. All This Time featured jazzy reworkings of Sting
favourites like "Roxanne" and "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free".
2002 was a year of awards for
Sting. He won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for his second
Academy Award for his song "Until..." from the film Kate &
Leopold. In June, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of
Fame. Late in the year, it was announced that The Police would be
inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2003. In the
summer, Sumner was made a Commander in the Order of the British
Empire. Yet Sting was placed 81st on the 100 Worst Britons list by
polls conducted by Britain's Channel Four in 2003.
2003 also saw the release of
Sacred Love, an original studio album with racier beats and
experiments collaborating with hip-hop artist Mary J. Blige and
sitar maestro Anoushka Shankar. His autobiography Broken Music
was published in October. Sting embarked on a Sacred Love
tour in 2004 with performances by Annie Lennox.
Sting married actress Frances
Tomelty in 1976. The couple had two children before their divorce in
1982. Soon after, he began living with actress (and later film
producer) Trudie Styler but did not marry until
1992. Sting and Trudie have had four children. His son with Frances,
Joseph, is following in his father's footsteps as a musician. Though
Sting reportedly owns several properties in the United Kingdom and
the United States, he currently calls Tuscany his home.
It is unclear whether he was
serious or (rather) not when he referred to himself as
"manic-depressive". He has written also a song entitled "Lithium
Sunset", which appears to refer to lithium carbonate, a treatment
for the disorder. According to some reports he did this because he
wanted to help people who really have this disease. In an interview
given by Sting, he also referred to the naturally occurrence of
lithium in the brain when one views a sunset.
In early 2005 Sting proclaimed he
now liked Hinduism and wants to spend lot more time in India and
that he loves Indian culture. His words in an interview are:
"In a sense I am more of a Hindu ... I
like the Hindu religion more than anything else at the moment.
"I have become addicted to India ... I
would want to spend the rest of my life discovering your beautiful
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