Wednesday, October 2, 2013

October 2: English musician Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner – AKA Sting with The Police - is 62-years-old today.

Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, CBE was born October 2, 1951 in Wallsend, North Tyneside, Tyne and Wear, England. Young Gordon would often assist his father with the early-morning milk-delivery rounds, and by age 10 he became "obsessed" with an old Spanish guitar that had been left behind by a friend of his father.

Gordon would often sneak into nightclubs like the Club A Go-Go, where he would watch acts such as Cream and Jimi Hendrix. After jobs as a bus conductor, a building labourer and a tax officer, he attended Northern Counties College of Education from 1971 to 1974 and qualified as a teacher. He then worked as a schoolteacher at St. Paul's First School in Cramlington for two years.

Sting performed in jazz bands on evenings, weekends, and during breaks from college and from teaching. He played with local jazz bands such as the Phoenix Jazzmen, the Newcastle Big Band, and Last Exit.

He gained his nickname after he performed wearing a black and yellow sweater with hooped stripes while onstage with the Phoenix Jazzmen. Bandleader Gordon Solomon thought that the sweater made him look like a bee, which prompted the nickname "Sting.”

In January 1977, Sting moved from Newcastle to London, and soon joined Stewart Copeland and Henry Padovani (who was soon replaced by Andy Summers) to form the New Wave band the Police. Between 1978 and 1983, they released five chart-topping albums and won six Grammy Awards.

Although their initial sound was punk inspired, the Police soon switched to reggae-tinged rock and minimalist pop. Their last album, Synchronicity, which included their most successful song, "Every Breath You Take,” was released in 1983.

According to Sting, who appeared in the documentary Last Play at Shea, he decided to leave the Police while onstage during the 18 August 1983 concert at Shea Stadium because he felt that playing that venue was "Everest.” While never formally breaking up, after Synchronicity the group agreed to concentrate on solo projects.

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. He performed solo versions of "Roxanne" and "Message in a Bottle.” In 1982 he released a solo single, "Spread a Little Happiness" from the film version of the Dennis Potter television play Brimstone and Treacle. 

His first solo album, 1985's The Dream of the Blue Turtles, featured a cast of jazz musicians, including Kenny Kirkland, Darryl Jones, Omar Hakim and Branford Marsalis. It included the hit singles "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free,” (backed with the non-LP song "Another Day") "Fortress Around Your Heart,” "Love Is the Seventh Wave,” and "Russians,” the last of which was based on a theme from the Lieutenant Kijé Suite. Within a year, the album reached Triple Platinum and garnered Sting a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year.

Over the years, the band members, particularly Sting, dismissed the possibility of reforming. In 2007, however, the band reformed and undertook a world tour.

For more about Sting, visit his Website at –


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