STING! What you may not know?...
Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner was born on October 2, 1951.
In 1971, after a short time at the University of Warwick in Coventry, England and a series of odd jobs, Sumner enrolled at Northern Counties Teachers Training College with the intention of becoming a teacher. A music afficionado from young age, while in school he performed in local clubs, mostly with jazz bands such as Last Exit and Phoenix Jazzmen.
He received the nickname “Sting” from one of his Phoenix Jazzmen
bandmates because he often wore a black-and-yellow striped sweater while performing.
After graduating in 1974, Sting taught at St. Paul’s First School in Cramlington for two years.
His life took a turn because his love of music moved him to make a change.
In 1977 he moved to London and met and soon teamed up with Stewart Copeland and Henri Padovani (who was eventually replaced with Andy Summers). With Sting on bass, Summers on guitar, and Copeland on drums, the trio formed a newwave group they called the Police! They became enormously successful but, at their peak, disbanded in 1984.
According to Sting, he decided to leave the Police while onstage during a concert in August 1983 at Shea Stadium in New York City – because he felt that playing that venue was “Mount Everest”.
In 1983 the Police had won two Grammy Awards (best pop performance and best rock performance by a group with vocal). Sting also won song of the year for “Every Breath You Take”, which would have a lasting effect on Sting’s bank account to this day.
His first solo album, The Dream of the Blue Turtles (1985), saw Sting switch from bass to guitar. The album experienced great success and had the singles “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free” and “Fortress Around Your Heart.” The album featured collaborations with jazz musician Branford Marsalis and continued to show the musical versatility Sting had introduced with the Police.
Nothing like the Sun (1987), Sting’s next album, included collaborations with Eric Clapton and with former bandmate Summers. The album featured such hits as “Fragile,” “We’ll Be Together,” “Englishman in NewYork,” and “Be Still My
Beating Heart.” Sting continued to expand his creative instincts.
Beginning in the late 1970s and into the late 1980s, Sting acted in numerous films, including , and . Quadrophenia Dune Julia and Julia.
During the 1980s Sting demonstrated his interest in social causes. He
performed at Live Aid, a historic benezt concert for famine relief in Ethiopia. In 1985,1986 and 1988 he performed at the Amnesty International concerts for human rights. In 1987 he and his future wife, Trudie Styler, cofounded the Rainforest Foundation, an organization to protect the Brazilian rainforest and
its indigenous peoples. His pension to “give back” continued as he became a vocal advocate for human rights and environmental causes throughout his career.
Sting released four albums during the 1990s. (1991), a darker album reflecting the recent loss of his father, unfortunately was not as successful as his previous two solo albums. But 1993’s Ten Summoner’s Tales was a triple-platinum album (selling more than three million copies), and Sting won that year’s Grammy for best male pop vocal performance with “If I Ever Lose My Faith in You”.
He released in 1996 and had a big hit with in 1999, especially with the album’s title song and “ Desert Rose,” which featured Algerian rai singer Cheb Mami. The album also went triple platinum and in 1999 won the Grammys for best pop album and for best male pop vocal performance for the single “ Brand New Day.”
America: A Tribute to Heroes
Demonstrating his commitment again to socially conscious projects In September 2001, Sting took part in “America: A Tribute to Heroes” to raise money for families of victims of the 9/11 attacks in the US. In February 2005, he performed the Leeuwin Estate Concert Series in Western Australia: the concert raised $4 million for the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami relief cause.
As Sting moved further into the 2000’s he continued to record regularly and tour consistently. In 2003 he won a Grammy for his duet with Mary J. Blige, “ Whenever I Say Your Name,” from the album Sacred Love.
He also published an autobiography, Broken Music.
Sting further expanded his musical horizon into classical music. In 2006, with Songs from the Labyrinth an adaption of a collection of songs by Elizabethan songwriter John Dowland.
In 2007 and into 2008, Sting reunited with Summers and Copeland for the highly successful Police Reunion Tour. Later he released (2009), an album of traditional folk songs, and an ambitious album of orchestral arrangements of his old songs, (2010). He took the project on the road and toured with London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra!
Sting continued his career like a freight train with no brakes! He contributed music to numerous movie soundtracks, including the animated Disney movie (2000), as well as the romantic comedy Kate & Leopold (2001) and the Civil War drama (2003). He earned Academy Award nominations for the songs he contributed to each of them (2001, 2002, and 2004, respectively) and won a Golden Globe (2002) for the song “Until…” from Kate & Leopold.
In addition to more than 15 Grammys, Sting also won numerous Brit Awards (the British equivalent of the Grammys) for his work with the Police as well as for his solo work. In 2002 he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and in 2004 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
In 2014 Sting received a Kennedy Center Honor, awarded by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to individuals who have made signizcant contributions to American culture through the performing arts, and in 2017 he was awarded the Polar Music Prize for lifetime achievement by the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.
With the Police, Sting became one of the world’s best selling music artists. Solo and with the Police combined, he has sold over 100 million records.
The word icon may be used too loosely in today’s society, but the word correctly describes Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner – globally known as Sting.