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A profile of Sting

Updated on March 7, 2015

Gordon Matthew Sumner was born in October 1951, Wallsend, In Northeast of England, his father Ernest was a milkman and his mother’s name was Audrey. From an early age, Sumner had always dreamed of becoming a musician. Turning up to see Phoenix jazzman, Gordon Soloman a musician noticed Sumner’s black and yellow Soloman nicknamed the youngster ‘Sting’. As a bass guitar player Sting played on Cruise ships and in Jazz bands like ‘Last Exit’.


After graduating from University, Sting found a job as an English teacher and soccer coach. Resigning as an English teacher and moving to London in 1976. He formed a band called the Police, with Stewart Copeland and Henri Radovan a guitarist from Corsica. Playing gigs in some of London’s top Punk venues, like The Roxy, Marquees, Nashville and Vortex. With their popularity growing, Stewart’s older brother Miles joined as the band’s manager. Luckily Miles managed to arrange a chance for them to pitch to a music label. Performing their song ’Roxanne’ to the labels producers, they managed to impress them and were immediately offered a record deal. Dropping Radovan from the band, Andy Sumner replaced him as the band's guitarist. However, just as the Police seemed to be making progress, London’s punk music media disliked what they believed was a band trying unsuccessfully to fit into the Punk scene.

Failure to reach a successful place in the British charts and a lack of loyal fans meant that the Police decided to move to America instead. Not long after they arrived in America, with only a van they played in all the major American cities. Gradually after playing gigs in small venues and gaining recognition of America’s radio stations. The Police were building a loyal fan base who liked their style of New wave combined with Reggae music. The first song released in America was ‘Message in a Bottle’ reaching number one in the American charts. ‘Walking on the Moon’ was their next hit song which again proved popular with American fans.

Sting made his acting debut in Dennis Potter’s ‘Brimstone and Treacle’ which was adapted for film by director Richard Loncraine. The Police composed the soundtrack to the film, ‘Spread a little happiness’ becoming a surprise hit song which they weren‘t expecting. Sting also landed a small role in ‘Artemis 81’ which was a made for television film by the BBC. His first film role was in Chris Petritt’s ‘Radio On’ which he had a very small role, he was immediately noticed and given a minor in the film ‘Quadrophenia’.

In 1980, the Police toured worldwide visiting countries like Bombay and returning to Britain to play the last two gigs in Newcastle. A BBC documentary televised ‘The Police in the East’ a film following the band as they went on their global tour. The Police started recording their next album called 'Zenyatta Mondatta' which was released in October 1980. The success of the album, including the hit song 'Don't Stand So close To Me' proved popular with fans. Although Sting felt the ‘Zenyatta’ was one of their worst albums, they did perform in a marquee on Tooting Bec common and for two nights in a row they were completely sold out. In 1981, ‘Ghost in the Machine’ was the Police’s next album, the lyrics were written by both Sumner and Copeland. Recording their next album in Montserrat, the Police released their next album in May 1983 called 'Synchronicity'. ‘Every breath you take’ was a hit with fans in both America and Britain, after touring the following year in 1984 Sting and the other band members felt it was time to split.

Sting released his first solo album since leaving the Police, in June 1985, called ‘Dream of Blue Turtles’, Sting’s songwriting had a more political edge than before. The album proved popular with fans and established Sting as a successful solo artist. In the same year, Sting performed at Live Aid in front of millions worldwide. Two years later Sting released his next album ‘…Nothing but the Sun’. Releasing a mini album called ‘'Nada Como El Sol' several of songs were rewritten and also sung in Spanish and Portuguese. The Rainforest foundation was established by Sting along with Trudie Styler, after visiting the Rainforests in South America. Sting and other famous singers performed at a fundraising concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall. Overcoming a long period of writer's block, Sting returned once again to the studio in 1991 to record his next album 'The Soul Cages'. The album once again proved popular with fans, Sting also received a Grammy award that year for best album. Marring Trudie his partner whom he met while setting up the Rainforest foundation, the following year in 1992 they settled in Wiltshire. ‘Ten Summer’s Tales’ was Sting’s next album which he wrote, recorded and released critics praised the new album which unlike his previous album featured more upbeat songs.

In 1998, Sting accepted a cameo role in the British gangster film ‘Lock, stock and two smoking barrels’. Deciding take a break from recording and instead focus on writing music scores for films like ‘The Thomas Crown affair’ and the Disney’s ‘The Emperor’s new Groove’. In 2006, Sting received an Honorary Doctorate in music from Newcastle University. The following year fans and the media were stunned when Sting, Summers and Copeland announced that the Police would reform again. Playing to sell-out tours in record time worldwide the ticket sales sold two and a half million.

In the 2011, Sting celebrated his sixtieth birthday performing in concert at the New York Beacon Theatre, with other celebrities including Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen and Steve Wonder.

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