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Sting

Category: Musician or composer

 

Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner (born 2 October 1951), known by his stage name Sting, is an English musician, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, activist, actor and philanthropist. He was the principal songwriter, lead singer and bassist for the rock band The Police before launching a solo career.

Sting has varied his musical style, incorporating distinct elements of jazz, reggae, classical, New Age, and world-beat 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 for Best 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.

He will probably be deeply embarrassed about being included on this website as whatever spiritual leanings he has they are kept private and secret, as they should be.  But the evidence is I am afraid too strong to exclude him.  Let me just show you his albums and songs and you will perhaps understand.

Year

Title

1985

The Dream of the Blue Turtle

1987

...Nothing Like the Sun

1991

The Soul Cages

1993

Ten Summoner's Tales

1996

Mercury Falling

1999

Brand New Day

2003

Sacred Love

2006

Songs from the Labyrinth

2009

If on a Winter's Night...

2010

Symphonicities[a play on the word  synchronicity]

In May 2007, Deutsche Grammophon released the opera Welcome to the Voice (composer Steve Nieve), with Sting portraying Dionysos.

 

In May 1993, he released a cover of his own Police song from the Ghost in the Machine  - this is the title of a book by Arthur Koestler.

Sting in 1979 'My ambition initially was just to make a living as a musician'

 “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".”  But then bees are symbolic too.

Around 1990 he met Danny Paradise who introduced him to yoga, and he later began practising regularly. According to Wikipedia “His practice consisted primarily of an Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga series, though now he practices Tantra and Jivamukti Yoga as well. He wrote a foreword to the book Yoga Beyond Belief, written by Ganga White in 2007”.  On the Michael Parkinson show, however, he admitted that he practised Tantric sex – which is sexual stimulation as a mechanism for obtaining spiritual experience – though poor old Parky didn’t realise this.

Here we have a YOUTUBE clip of this memorable occasion.

In 1982,  Sting separated from his first wife Tomelty and began living with actress (and later film producer) Trudie Styler.  The couple eventually married on 20 August 1992. I think it is her influence that has enabled him to move into this area.  All his most spiritual songs and titles come from after his meeting with her.

 

Besides his prolific output of superb music, Sting is a hugely active campaigner and supporter of good causes.  He is a genuine charity worker in that he ‘does’ things as opposed to simply talking about it.  [Squash the big I am].  Here are just a few examples of his charity work :

  • In September 1981 he participated in the fourth Amnesty International gala The Secret Policeman's Other Ball appearing on all four nights of the show at the Theatre Royal in London.
  • Sting worked with Bob Geldof, Phil Collins and Ure on 1984's Band Aid and 1985's Live Aid. He sang on "Do They Know It's Christmas?" – the single recorded by Geldof's super-group "Band Aid" that eventually led to the Live Aid concert in July 1985, in which Sting also took part, performing with Branford Marsalis, Phil Collins and Dire Straits.
  • Sting took part in Bob Geldof's "Feed The World" project in December 1984.
  • He was a participant in many of Amnesty's Human Rights Concerts – a series of music events and tours staged by the US Section of Amnesty International between 1986 and 1998.
  • In 1986, Sting contributed a haunting song made famous by Billie Holiday, "Strange Fruit," to a fund-raising compilation album entitled Conspiracy of Hope: Honouring Amnesty International's 25th Anniversary.
  • In 1988, he joined a team of other major musicians – including Peter Gabriel and Bruce Springsteen – assembled under the banner of Amnesty International for the six-week Human Rights Now! world tour commemorating the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  •  
    With his wife Trudie Styler and Raoni Metuktire, a Kayapó Indian leader in Brazil, Sting founded the Rainforest Foundation Fund to help save the rainforests and protect the rights of the indigenous peoples living there. His support includes an annual benefit concert held at New York's Carnegie Hall .  A species of Colombian tree frog, Dendropsophus stingi, was named after him in recognition of his "commitment and efforts to save the rain forest".
  • On 21 October 1991, Sting joined Don Henley and Billy Joel at New York's Madison Square Garden for a benefit rock show, The Concert for Walden Woods.
  • On 15 September 1997, Sting joined Sir Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Sir Elton John, Phil Collins and Mark Knopfler at London's Royal Albert Hall for Music For Montserrat, a benefit concert for the Caribbean island that had recently been devastated by an eruption from a volcano.
  • In September 2001, Sting also took part in the post-9/11 rock telethon America: A Tribute to Heroe  singing "Fragile" to help raise money for the families of the victims of terror attacks in the United States. Sting lost a close friend in the collapse of New York's World Trade Center towers.
  • In February 2005, Sting performed at the Leeuwin Estate Concert Series in Western Australia, with the concert raising $4 million for the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami relief efforts.
  • with his wife
    On 2 July 2005, Sting performed a complete set at the Live 8 concert, the follow-up to 1985's Live Aid concert.
  • In 2007, Sting joined Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland and played the closing set at the Live Earth concert at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Joined by John Mayer and Kanye West, Sting and The Police fittingly ended the show singing "Message in a Bottle," as the event was dubbed "The SOS Concert."
  • In 2008 Sting contributed to an album called Songs for Tibet, to support Tibet and the current Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso.
  • In 2010, Sting became a Patron of the poverty alleviation and beekeeping charity Bees for Development.
  • He is a patron of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
  • On 2 November 2012, Sting appeared on Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together  and sang a solo acoustic/rock version of "Message in a Bottle" to help raise funds for the American Red Cross in support of those affected by the storm which hit the east coast of the United States earlier that week. The show reportedly raised $23 million.

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