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Sting (Gordon Sumner CBE)

Better known by the stage name Sting, the English musician, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, activist, actor and philanthropist Gordon Sumner, CBE was born 2 October 1951. He is best known as the principal songwriter, lead singer and bassist for the rock band The Police and for his subsequent solo career.Sting has varied his musical style, incorporating distinct elements of jazz, reggae, classical, New Age, and worldbeat into his music. As a solo musician and member of the Police, Sting has received 16 Grammy Awards for his work, receiving his first Grammy forBest Rock Instrumental Performance in 1981, three Brit Awards – winning Best British Male in 1994, a Golden Globe, an Emmy Award, and several Oscar nominations for Best Original Song. He is a member of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.The Police consisted of Sting (lead vocals, bass), Andy Summers (guitar) and Stewart Copeland (drums). The Police became globally popular in the late 1970s and are generally regarded as one of the first New Wave groups to achieve mainstream success, playing a style of rock that was influenced by punk, regga, and jazz.They made many albums including Regatta de Blance, Zenyatta Mondatta and Their 1983 album, Synchronicity, which reached number one on both the UK Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200, and sold over 8 million copies in the US. The group disbanded in 1986, but reunited in early 2007 for a one-off world tour lasting until August 2008.

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 and led an all-star band (dubbed “The Secret Police”) which included Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Phil Collins, Bob Geldof and Midge Ure singing Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released” . In 1982 he released a solo single, “Spread a Little Happiness” from the film version of theDennis 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 It garnered Sting a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. In 1985 he sang the introduction and chorus to “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits. Sting was reportedly embarrassed when his publishing company insisted on a co-writing credit (and royalties)’ since his “I Want My MTV” line was sung to exactly the same notes as the chorus of “Don’t Stand So Close to Me”. He performed this song with Dire Straits at theLive Aid Concert at Wembley Stadium

In 1984 Sting was part of Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” In 1985, Sting provided a short guest vocal performance on the Miles Davis album You’re Under Arrest. He also sang backing vocals on Arcadia’s single “The Promise”, and on two songs from Phil Collins’ album No Jacket Required. He also contributed a version of “Mack the Knife” to the Hal Willner-produced tribute album Lost in the Stars: The Music of Kurt Weill. In September 1985, Sting performed “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free” at the 1985 MTV Video Music Awards. The 1986 film Bring on the Night, directed by Michael Apted, documented the formation of the band and its first concert in France. 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”. The song “The Secret Marriage” was adapted from a melody by German composer Hanns 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. in 1988, he released Nada como el sol, a selection of five songs from Sun . He also Recorded with jazz arranger Gil Evans, and on Frank Zappa’s 1988 Broadway the Hard Way album, performing 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. In 1988 Igor Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale was released with the London Sinfonietta conducted by Kent Nagano featuring Vanessa Redgrave, Sir Ian McKellen and Sting in the role of the soldier.

His 1991 he released his Grammy award winning album The Soul Cages including the Top 10 song “All This Time” and the following year, he married Trudie Styler and was awarded an honorary doctorate degree in music from Northumbria University. In 1991, Sting appeared on Two Rooms: Celebrating the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin,and performed “Come Down in Time”. The album was released on 22 October 1991 Also in 1991, a recording of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf was made by Deutsche Grammophon, narrated by Sting, and played by Claudio Abbado and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. This was also used as the soundtrack to the television special Peter and the Wolf: A Prokofiev Fantasy.In 1993, he released the album Ten Summoner’s Tales, which peaked at number two in the UK and US Album Charts, and went triple platinum in just over a year.Ten Summoner’s Tales was nominated for the Mercury Prize in 1993 and nominated for the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1994. The title is a wordplay on his surname, Sumner, and The Summoner’s Tale, one of The Canterbury Tales. Hit singles on the album include “Fields of Gold” and “If I Ever Lose My Faith in You.”, the latter earning Sting his second Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance at the 36th Grammy Awards. Concurrent video albums were released to support Soul Cages and Ten Summoner’s Tales.In May 1993, he released a cover of his own Police song from the Ghost in the Machine album, “Demolition Man”, for the Demolition Man film. Together with Bryan Adams and Rod Stewart, Sting performed the chart-topping song “All for Love” for the film The Three Musketeers. 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.TheBerklee 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 Sting, and also did a duet with Vanessa Williams on the song “Sister Moon.

At the 1994 Brit Awards in London, Sting won the award for Best British Male.His 1996 album, Mercury Falling contained the single “Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot” “You Still Touch Me” (June) and “I’m So Happy I Can’t Stop Crying” During this period, Sting also recorded music for the upcoming Disney film Kingdom of the Sun, which went on to be reworked into The Emperor’s New Groove. That same year Sting also released a little-known CD-ROM called All This Time, which provided music, commentary and custom computer features describing Sting and his music from his perspective.Also in 1996, he provided some vocals for the Tina Turner single “On Silent Wings” as a part of her Wildest Dreams album. In the same year, his performance with the Brazilian composer/artist Tom Jobim in the song “How Insensitive” was featured in the AIDS benefit album Red Hot + Rio produced by the Red Hot Organization. Sting has also cooperated with Greek popular singer George Dalaras, “Moonlight”, a rare jazz performance by Sting for the 1995 remake of Sabrina, written by Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman and John Williams, was nominated for a 1997 Grammy Award for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or Television. On 4 September 1997, Sting performed “I’ll Be Missing You” with Puff Daddy at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards in tribute of the late Notorious B.I.G..On 15 September 1997, Sting appeared at the Music for Montserrat concert at the Royal Albert Hall, London, performing alongside artists such as Phil Collins, Mark Knopfler, Elton John, Eric Clapton and Paul McCartney.

The Emperor’s New Groove soundtrack was released with complete songs from the previous version of the film, which included Rascal Flatts and Shawn Colvin. The final single used to promote the film was “My Funny Friend and Me”. Sting’s September 1999 album Brand New Day included the Top 40 hits “Brand New Day” and “Desert Rose”. 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 his collaborator on the album version, Cheb Mami. For his performance, the Arab-American Institute Foundation gave him the Khalil GibranSpirit of Humanity Award. However, Sting was criticised for appearing in a Jaguar advertisement using “Desert Rose” as its backing track, particularly as he was a notable environmentalist. In 2001, he won another Grammy Award for his rendition of “She Walks This Earth (Soberana Rosa)” on A Love Affair: The Music Of Ivan Lins. He also released the song “After the Rain Has Fallen”. His next project was to record a live album “On Such a Night”at hisTuscan villa in Figline Valdarno, which featured re-workings of Sting favourites such as “Roxanne” and “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free.” The concert, scheduled for 11 September 2001, was altered in various ways due to theterrorist attacks in America that day. The webcast was shut down after one song (a reworked version of “Fragile”), after which Sting let it be up to the audience whether or not to continue with the show.

Eventually they decided to go through with the concert, and the resultant album and DVD was released in November under a different title. Both are dedicated “to all those who lost their lives on that day”. He performed a special arrangement of “Fragile” with Yo-Yo Ma and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir during the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, US.In 2002, he won a Golden Globe Award for the song “Until…” from the film Kate and Leopold which was also nominated for Academy Award for Best Song. At the 2002 Brit Awards Sting received the prize for Outstanding Contribution to Music and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2003 Sting was appointed a Commander of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire For services to the Music Industry For the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

At the 54th Primetime Emmy Awards in September, Sting won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Performance In A Variety Or Music Program, for his A&E special, Sting in Tuscany… All This Time. In 2003 he released Sacred Love, featuring collaborations with hip-hop artist Mary J. Blige and sitar performer Anoushka Shankar. He and Blige won a Grammy for their duet, “Whenever I Say Your Name”. The song is based on Johann Sebastian Bach’s Praeambulum from the Klavierbuechlein fuer Wilhelm Friedemann Bach .His autobiography Broken Music was published in October. He embarked on a Sacred Love tour in 2004 with performances by Annie Lennox. Sting also appears as a guest on the 2005 Monkey Business CD by American hip-hop group The Black Eyed Peas, adding vocals to the track “Union” which samples Englishman in New York. In 2005 Sting appeared at Live 8 and collaborated with Roberto Livi in producing a Spanish-language version of his cult classic “Fragile” entitled “Fragilidad” on the album Rhythms Del Mundo by “The Buena Vista Sound” (the Buena Vista Social Club).

During 2006, Sting was guest on the Gregg Kofi Brown album, singing “Lullaby to an anxious child” .In 2006, he released Songs from the Labyrinth featuring the music of John Dowland (an Elizabethan-era composer) and accompaniment from Bosnian lute player Edin Karamazov. Sting’s musical interpretation of this English Renaissance composer and his cooperation with Edin Karamazov brought him significant recognition in classical music circles., he also appeared on the fifth episode of Studio 60 during which he performed a segment of Dowland’s “Come Again” as well as his own “Fields of Gold”. In May 2007, Deutsche Grammophon released the opera Welcome to the Voice, with Sting portraying Dyonisos. In 2007, he reunited with “the Police” at the 2007 Grammy Awards, singing “Roxanne”, and subsequently announced the Police Reunion Tour. The Police toured North America, Europe, South America, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Documentary producer Vanessa Dylyn, was producing a film called The Musical Brain, featuring neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, and approached Sting about participating in the film. . Sting was also featured in Levitin’s second book, The World in Six Songs, where several of his songs (including “Russians”) are discussed. He is featured as a playable character in the video game Guitar Hero World Tour.”Brand New Day” was the final song of the night for the Neighborhood Ball honouring President Barack Obama on Inauguration Day, 20 January 2009. Sting was joined by Stevie Wonder on harmonica. Sting’s next album If on a Winter’s Night was released in 2009. Sting also appeared at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th anniversary concert, playing “Higher Ground” and “Roxanne” with Stevie Wonder. Sting himself was inducted in 2003, as a member of The Police.

In 2010–2011, Sting continued his Symphonicity Tour, and also began his Back to Bass Tour, Time magazine also named Sting one of the 100 most influential people in the world. In 2011 he performed “Every Breath You Take”, “Roxanne” and “Desert Rose” at the Time 100 Gala in New York City. Sting recorded a song called “Power’s Out” with Nicole Scherzinger. The song, originally recorded in 2007, was to have been included on Scherzinger’s shelved album Her Name is Nicole. The song was released on Scherzinger’s 2011 debut album Killer Love. Sting recorded a new version of the song “Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot” as a duet with Glee actor/singer Matthew Morrison, which appears on Morrison’s debut album. On 15 September 2011, Sting performed “Fragile” at the 92nd Street Y in New York City, to honour the memory of his friend, financier-philanthropist Herman Sandler, who died in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Sting also performed in an episode of CMT Crossroads with country legend Vince Gill. Sting’s musical The Last Ship, debuted on Broadway in 2014. The Last Ship tells a story about the demise of the shipbuilding industry in 1980s Newcastle and was partially inspired by his album The Soul Cages. Sting’s eleventh studio album, The Last Ship Was also released 2013 and was inspired by the play.

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