Sting, (born Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner on October 2, 1951 in Wallsend, UK) is the bassist and lead singer for the New Wave band The Police, and has won sixteen Grammy awards and one Oscar in his career. He is unlocked by completing Demolition Man (Live) in the Bass career.
"Prior to becoming an Academy Award nominated and Grammy Award winning solo artist, Sting made a name for himself as the principal songwriter and bassist of the rock band The Police." - Guitar Hero World Tour Biography
Sumner was born in the town of Wallsend in the northeast of England to Ernest Sumner and Audrey Cowell. Ernest and Audrey had three more children after Gordon: a son (Philip) and two daughters (Angela and Anita). Audrey was a hairdresser and Ernest managed a dairy. The young Gordon would often assist his father with the early-morning milk-delivery rounds. Early on, Gordon's "best friend" was an old Spanish guitar with five rusty strings which had been left behind by an uncle who had emigrated to Canada.
He attended St. Cuthbert's High School in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Later, he left the University of Warwick in Coventry, after only one term. During this time, he stayed in Loxley halls and it is unsure whether he stayed in room 216 or 224. He would often sneak into nightclubs like the Club-A-Go-Go. Here, he would watch musicians such as Jack Bruce (noteworthy for playing guitar at Cream) and Jimi Hendrix, artists who would later influence his own music. After jobs as a bus conductor, a construction labourer, and a tax officer, he attended Northern Counties College of Education, (which later became part of Northumbria University) from 1971 to 1974 and qualified as a teacher, doing some training in Alnwick. He then worked as a schoolteacher at St. Paul's First School in Cramlington for two years. His experiences there would inspire him to write two of the Police's most notable hits: "Don't Stand So Close to Me" and "Roxanne". Each was loosely based on one of his favourite books: Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita (which is even mentioned in "Don't Stand So Close to Me") and Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac, respectively ("Roxanne" being the name of Cyrano's love interest in this book).
From an early age, Sumner knew that he wanted to be a musician. His first music gigs were wherever he could get a job. He performed 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.
Sting has stated that he gained his nickname while with the Phoenix Jazzmen. He once performed wearing a black and yellow sweater with hooped stripes that bandleader Gordon Solomon had noted made him look like a bumblebee; thus Sumner became "Sting". In a press conference filmed in the movie Bring on the Night, he jokingly stated when referred to by a journalist as Gordon, "My children call me Sting, my mother calls me Sting, who is this Gordon character?"
In January 1977, Sting moved from Newcastle to London, and soon thereafter he joined American drummer Stewart Copeland and guitarist 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.
While never formally breaking up, after Synchronicity the group agreed to concentrate on solo projects. As the years went by the band members, particularly Sting, dismissed the possibility of reforming. In 2007, however, the band reformed and undertook a world tour.
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 at the invitation of producer Martin Lewis. He performed solo versions of "Roxanne" and "Message in a Bottle".
He also led an all-star band (dubbed "The Secret Police") on his own arrangement of Bob Dylan's, "I Shall Be Released". The band and chorus included Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Phil Collins, Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, all of whom (except Beck) later worked together on Live Aid.
His performances were featured prominently in the album and movie of the show and drew Sting major critical attention. Sumner's participation in The Secret Policeman's Other Ball was the beginning of his growing involvement in raising money and consciousness for political and social causes.
In 1982 he released a solo single, "Spread a Little Happiness" from the film version of the Dennis Potter television play Brimstone and Treacle. The song was a re-interpretation of a song from the 1920s musical Mr. Cinders by Vivian Ellis, and was a surprise Top 20 hit in the UK.
Sting's first solo album, 1985's The Dream of the Blue Turtles, featured a cast of accomplished jazz musicians, including Kenny Kirkland, Darryl Jones (currently tour bassist for the Rolling Stones), Omar Hakim, and Branford Marsalis. It included the hit single "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free". The single included a fan favourite non-LP track titled "Another Day". The album also yielded the hits "Fortress Around Your Heart", "Russians", and "Love is the Seventh Wave". Within a year, it reached triple platinum. This album would help Sting garner a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. The film Bring on the Night, directed by Michael Apted, documented the formation of the band and its first concert in France.
Also in 1985, he sang the introduction and chorus to "Money for Nothing", a groundbreaking song by Dire Straits (he was given co-writer status and receives royalties based on his somewhat minor performance, supposedly because he reused his melody from The Police hit "Don't Stand So Close to Me" for his vocal parts. It is one of only two shared songwriting credits on any Dire Straits album). He performed this song with Dire Straits at the Live Aid Concert at Wembley Stadium. Sting also provided a short guest vocal performance on the Miles Davis album You're Under Arrest. He also sang backing vocals in Arcadia's single "The Promise" from their only album, So Red the Rose. 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.
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", dedicated to his recently-deceased mother. It eventually went double platinum. The song "The Secret Marriage" from this album 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.
Soon thereafter, in February 1988, he released Nada como el sol, a selection of five songs from Sun sung (by Sting himself) in Spanish and Portuguese. Sting was also involved in two other recordings in the late 1980s, the first in 1987 with noted jazz arranger Gil Evans who placed Sting in a big band setting for a live album of Sting's songs (the CD was not released in the U.S.), and the second on Frank Zappa's 1988 Broadway the Hard Way album, where Sting performs 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.
October 1988 saw the release of Igor Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale with the London Sinfonietta conducted by Kent Nagano. It featured Vanessa Redgrave, Sir Ian McKellen and Sting in the role of the soldier.
Sting's 1991 album The Soul Cages was dedicated to his recently deceased father and included the Top 10 song "All this Time", which reached #5 on the U.S. Pop chart, and the Grammy-winning "Soul Cages". The album eventually went platinum. 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, an album dedicated to the singer/songwriter duo. Sting performed "Come Down in Time", for the album which also features other popular artists and their renditions of John/Taupin Songs. The album was released on October 22, 1991 by Polydor. In 1993, he released the album Ten Summoner's Tales, which 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 wordplay on his surname, Sumner and The Summoner's Tale, one of The Canterbury Tales. The single, "Fields of Gold" had moderate success on radio airways. Concurrent video albums were released to support The Soul Cages (a live concert) and Ten Summoner's Tales (recorded during the recording sessions for the album).
In May 1993, Sting released a cover of his own classic Police song from the 1981 Ghost in the Machine album, "Demolition Man" for the Demolition Man film, which starred Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes and Sandra Bullock.
Sting reached a pinnacle of success in 1994. Together with Bryan Adams and Rod Stewart, they performed the chart-topping song "All For Love" for the film The Three Musketeers. The song stayed at the top of the U.S. charts for five weeks and went platinum; 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. The Berklee 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, which eventually was certified double platinum.
Sting's 1996 album, Mercury Falling debuted strongly with the single "Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot", but it dropped quickly on the charts. He reached the Top 40 with two singles the same year: "You Still Touch Me" (June) and "I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying" (December) (which became a country music hit the next year in a version recorded with American country singer Toby Keith). During this period, Sting was also recording music for the upcoming Disney film Kingdom of the Sun, which went on to be reworked into The Emperor's New Groove (2000). The film went through drastic overhauls and plot changes, many of which were documented by Sting's wife, Trudie Styler. She captured the moment he was called by Disney who then informed him that his songs would not be used in the final film. The story was put into a final product: The Sweatbox, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. Disney currently holds the rights to the film and will not grant its release. 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, Sting provided some vocals for the Tina Turner single "On Silent Wings" as a part of her Wildest Dreams album. Sting has also cooperated with Greek popular singer George Dalaras, giving a common concert in Athens.
"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".
The 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. This is seen by many as a move on Disney's part to soothe the relationship with Sting and to keep open the door for future projects. 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 title track. 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 Gibran Spirit of Humanity Award. However, Sting was criticized for appearing in a Jaguar advertisement using "Desert Rose" as its backing track, particularly as he was a notable environmentalist.
In February 2001 he won another Grammy for his rendition of "She Walks This Earth (Soberana Rosa)" on A Love Affair: The Music of Ivan Lins. His song "After the Rain Has Fallen" made it into the Top 40. His next project was to record a live album at his Tuscan villa, which was to be released as a CD and DVD, as well as being simulcast in its entirety on the internet. The CD and DVD were to be entitled On such a night and was intended to feature re-workings of Sting favourites such as "Roxanne" and "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free." The concert, however, was scheduled for September 11, 2001 and due to the terrorist attacks in America that day, the project was altered in various ways. 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, ...All This Time. 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.
In 2002 Sting won a Golden Globe Award for the song "Until..." from the film Kate and Leopold (which starred Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman). Written and performed by him, "Until..." was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Song. In June he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In the summer, Sting was awarded the honour of Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). In 2003 he released Sacred Love, a studio album featuring collaborations with hip-hop artist Mary J. Blige and sitar maestro Anoushka Shankar. He and Blige won a Grammy for their duet, "Whenever I Say Your Name". The album, however, did not have any hit singles like his previous releases. The first single, "Send Your Love" reached only #30 and reviews were mixed. However, the album did reach platinum status by January 2004.
His autobiography Broken Music was published in October. Sting embarked on a Sacred Love tour in 2004 with performances by Annie Lennox (Eurythmics). Sting went on with the Broken Music tour, touring smaller venues, with a four piece band starting in Los Angeles on 28 March 2005 and ending this "College Tour" on 14 May 2005. Sting appears as a guest on the 2005 Monkey Business album by American hip-hop group The Black Eyed Peas, adding vocals to the track "Union" which makes heavy use of samples from his 1987 hit song "Englishman in New York".
Continuing with his involvement in Live Aid, he appeared at Live 8 in July 2005. During 2006, Sting collaborated with Roberto Livi in producing a Spanish language version of his cult classic "Fragile" entitled "Fragilidad" on the album Rhythms Del Mundo by Latino recording legends "The Buena Vista Sound" (previously known as the Buena Vista Social Club) available via www.apeuk.org.
In October 2006, Sting released an album, to mixed reviews, entitled Songs from the Labyrinth featuring the music of John Dowland (an Elizabethan-era composer) and accompaniment from Bosnian lute player Edin Karamazov. As a part of the promotion of this album, he 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 the arrangement for voice and two archlutes. Around this time, reports surfaced in early 2007 that Sting would reunite with his former Police bandmates for a 30th anniversary tour. These rumours were confirmed by posts on the popular fanzine Stingus and on various other news websites such as De Standaard and Yahoo!. In May 2007, Deutsche Grammophon releases the opera Welcome to the Voice (composed by Steve Nieve), with Sting portraying the main character, Dyonisos.
On 11 February 2007, Sting indeed reunited with the other members of the Police as the introductory act for the 2007 Grammy Awards, singing "Roxanne", and subsequently announced The Police Reunion Tour, the first concert of which was held in Vancouver, BC on May 28, in front of 22,000 fans at one of two nearly sold-out concerts. The Police toured for more than a year, beginning with North America and eventually crossing over to Europe, South America, Australia & New Zealand and Japan. The last concert was at Madison Square Garden on 7 August 2008, during which Sting's three daughters appeared with him onstage.
In 2007 he recorded a song called "Power's Out" with Nicole Scherzinger (lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls). The song is featured on her debut solo album Her Name Is Nicole, released in the beginning of 2008.
"Brand New Day" was the final song of the night for the Neighborhood Ball, one of ten inaugural balls honouring President Barack Obama on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2009. Sting was joined by Stevie Wonder on harmonica.
According to an article posted on his official website, Sting entered the studio in early February 2009 to begin work on a new album.
Songs featured in the Guitar Hero series Edit
- "Message in a Bottle" (w/ The Police, from 1979's Reggatta de Blanc) - Guitar Hero II and Smash Hits
- "Synchronicity II" (w/ The Police, from 1983's Synchronicity) - Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s
- "Demolition Man (Live)" (originally from The Police's 1981 album Ghost in the Machine) - Guitar Hero World Tour
- "So Lonely" (w/ The Police, from 1978's Outlandos d'Amour) - Guitar Hero 5
|Characters of Guitar Hero|
|Guitar Hero: Axel Steel - Clive Winston - Grim Ripper - Izzy Sparks - Johnny Napalm - Judy Nails - Pandora - Xavier Stone
Guitar Hero World Tour: Aaron Steele - Billy Corgan - Hayley Williams - Jimi Hendrix - Johnny Viper - Marcus Fretshredder - Matty Cannz - Nick - Ozzy Osbourne - Riki Lee - Rina - Rockubot - Shirley Crowley - Skeleton - Sting - Ted Nugent - Travis Barker - Zakk Wylde