skip navigation
Sting

Sting

Up
Down

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Recent DVDs

 
 

Plenty DVD When the war ends, the emotional fallout begins. In "Plenty" (1985), Academy... more info $9.98was $9.98 Buy Now

Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels... Guy Ritchie's insanely popular, hip, British gangster classic. "Lock, Stock And... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels:... Get ready for a rip-roaring ride through London's gangland with Guy Ritchie's... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Urgh! A Music War DVD It’s live and loud. It’s urgent and proud. It’s more than two-dozen young,... more info $15.99was $19.99 Buy Now



Also Known As: Gordon Matthew Sumner, Gordon Sumner Died:
Born: October 2, 1951 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, GB Profession: songwriter, musician, actor, ditch digger, construction laborer, soccer coach, teacher, clerk

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Ever since his early days with seminal British band The Police, Sting was a consummate entertainer loved by millions all over the world. As the lead vocalist, bass player, and main songwriter for the influential new wave group, Sting delivered pop rock gems such as "Roxanne" (1978), "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic" (1981), and The Police's signature hit "Every Breath You Take" (1983). A modern day Renaissance man, Sting occasionally ventured into acting, from making his feature film debut in the rock opera "Quadrophenia" (1979), to the controversial comedy "Bruno" (2009), and constantly fought for human rights and environmental preservation. Following the 1984 breakup of The Police, Sting carved out a successful solo career with critically acclaimed albums Ten Summoner's Tales (1993) and Brand New Day (2000) that allowed him to explore various genres, reinvent the sound of rock, and cement his status as one of the most prolific artists in music.He was born Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner on Oct. 2, 1951 in Newcastle, England to a milkman father and hairdresser mother. Growing up in a blue-collar town, the future star developed a love for music at an early age after finding a rusty Spanish guitar...

Ever since his early days with seminal British band The Police, Sting was a consummate entertainer loved by millions all over the world. As the lead vocalist, bass player, and main songwriter for the influential new wave group, Sting delivered pop rock gems such as "Roxanne" (1978), "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic" (1981), and The Police's signature hit "Every Breath You Take" (1983). A modern day Renaissance man, Sting occasionally ventured into acting, from making his feature film debut in the rock opera "Quadrophenia" (1979), to the controversial comedy "Bruno" (2009), and constantly fought for human rights and environmental preservation. Following the 1984 breakup of The Police, Sting carved out a successful solo career with critically acclaimed albums Ten Summoner's Tales (1993) and Brand New Day (2000) that allowed him to explore various genres, reinvent the sound of rock, and cement his status as one of the most prolific artists in music.

He was born Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner on Oct. 2, 1951 in Newcastle, England to a milkman father and hairdresser mother. Growing up in a blue-collar town, the future star developed a love for music at an early age after finding a rusty Spanish guitar once owned by his uncle. As a student of St. Cuthbert's High School in Newcastle, Sting often snuck into nightclubs like Club-A-Go-Go, where he watched concerts by Cream and Jimi Hendrix. He held several jobs as a young man, including bus conductor, tax officer and schoolteacher before landing paying music gigs. Sting performed with local jazz bands such as the Phoenix Jazzmen, whose bandleader Gordon Soloman gave him the nickname "Sting" after the aspiring musician wore a black and yellow striped sweater to one of their gigs. He moved to London in January 1977 and met fellow musicians Stewart Copeland and Henry Padovani. The trio formed The Police with Sting on vocals and bass, Copeland on drums, and Padovani on guitar. A second guitarist Andy Summers joined the band shortly after, but after a few months Padovani left the group and The Police became a three-man band.

The Police released its debut album Outlandos d'Amour in 1978, which initially flopped on the charts. The album gained more momentum due to "Roxanne," a song about prostitution that Sting wrote after visiting a red-light district in Paris. The single gave The Police mainstream exposure after charting at No. 32 in the U.S. and No. 12 in the U.K. almost a year after its release. "Roxanne" went on to become one of the group's most famous tracks and even made Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Fusing rock, reggae and punk music, The Police churned out several hit songs for the next several years, including "Message in a Bottle" (1979), "Don't Stand So Close to Me" (1980), and "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic."

In 1983, the band released its most celebrated album Synchronicity. Switching their sound from reggae-tinged rock to more New Wave and world music influences, The Police's fifth and final studio album yielded their signature track "Every Breath You Take," which won Song of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal at the 1984 Grammy Awards. Written while Sting was going through a divorce with his first wife, Frances Tomelty, "Every Breath You Take" was a commercially successful single and heavily played music video. It also ranked No. 84 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Yet even at the band's height of success, conflicting egos and creative differences caused a rift between the members. During a 1983 concert at Shea Stadium in New York, Sting decided it was time to pursue a solo career. The Police disbanded in March 1984 and the trio went their separate ways.

The rocker released his solo debut The Dream of the Blue Turtles in 1985. Free to create his signature type of music, Sting eschewed the reggae-tinged rock of The Police and explored pop, jazz, and world music territories. His fourth album, Ten Summoner's Tales, showcased the singer's soft rock style and went triple platinum in sales, thanks to the hit single "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You" and the haunting ballad "Fields of Gold." His 2000 album Brand New Day spawned the international hit "Desert Rose," a duet with Algerian singer Cheb Mami, and won Grammy Awards for Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.

Sting, who had begun living with actress and film producer Trudie Styler shortly after divorcing Tomelty in 1984, eventually wed his longtime girlfriend in August 1992 and the couple had four children together. At the height of his solo music career, Sting also turned heads for boasting about his sex life. The hitmaker revealed in interviews that he and Styler practiced tantric sex and that he possessed a prodigious libido. Sting's bedroom reputation followed him for several years, until 2004 when he told The Sunday Times that the whole story was fabricated while he was having dinner with fellow musician Bob Geldof a few years prior.

Sting branched out into acting early in his career with The Police, making his debut in "Quadrophenia," the feature film version of The Who's 1973 rock opera, as a Mod-era idol who worked as a bell boy. He impressed critics and audiences as a mechanic in love with Eddie Cochran's music in the British road movie "Radio On" (1980). By the mid-1980s, Sting was appearing in big-budget features, from the science fiction epic "Dune" (1984), to Terry Gilliam's period comedy "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" (1988). The rocker frequently made onscreen cameos, including on the long-running animated series "The Simpsons" (Fox, 1989- ) and in the satirical comedy feature "Bruno" (2009).

He was also a staunch activist, especially for Amnesty International and other human rights causes. Sting took part in the historic Live Aid concert in 1985, as well as the follow-up events Live 8 (2005) and Live Earth (2007). In 1989, Sting - along with Styler and Brazilian Indian tribe leader Raoni Metuktire - formed the Rainforest Foundation Fund, an organization to help save the rainforests and protect the rights of the indigenous people living there. In 2003, Sting was knighted a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his contributions to music. That same year, all three members of The Police were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. To the delight of longtime fans, the band finally set aside their differences and reunited in 2007 for a world tour that marked the band's 30th anniversary. For his 2010 album Symphonicities, Sting and the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra reinterpreted several classic tracks by The Police, including "Roxanne" and "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic," as classical symphonic compositions.

By Marc Cuenco

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

3.
 Do It Again (2010)
4.
 Poliwood (2009)
6.
 Brüno (2009)
7.
 Bee Movie (2007)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1961:
Began playing guitar at age nine (date approximate)
1969:
Received a seaman's card and worked as bass player with the Ronnie Pierson trio on Princess Cruise Lines at age 17 (date approximate)
1975:
Worked as a construction laborer, a clerk for Inland Revenue and an English teacher and soccer coach at St Catherine's Convent School in Newcastle-on-Tyne; moonlighted with rock and jazz groups such as Phoenix Jazzmen and Last Exit
1977:
Formed group The Police with drummer Stewart Copeland and rhythm guitarist Andy Summers; first album "Outlandos D'Amour" was an immediate success
1979:
Screen acting debut in "Quadrophenia"
1982:
Co-starred in Richard Loncraine's "Brimstone and Treacle", scripted by Dennis Potter; also composed music and performed on the soundtrack with The Police
1984:
Displayed more of his body than his acting ability in David Lynch's "Dune"
1985:
Left The Police to pursue solo career; first solo album "The Dream of the Blue Turtles"
1985:
Tour with band formed for "The Dream of the Blue Turtles" album was subject of Michael Apted's documentary "Bring on the Night", which in turn resulted in album of the tour with same title in 1986
1985:
Showed both street smarts and vulnerability in Fred Schepisi's "Plenty", adapted by David Hare from his play
1985:
Played leading role of Dr. Frankenstein in "The Bride"
1987:
Acted opposite Kathleen Turner in "Julia and Julia"
1988:
Starred in Mike Figgis' directorial debut "Stormy Monday"; delivered strong performance as a jazz club manager
1989:
Broadway debut as Macheath in a revival of "Threepenny Opera"; <i>New York Times</i> critic Frank Rich described him as "a stiff onstage"
1992:
Wrote music for Barbara Trent's Oscar-winning documentary "Panama Deception"
1995:
Sang on soundtrack of Figgis' "Leaving Las Vegas"
1995:
Revived acting career, portraying conniving bisexual butler in "Gentlemen Don't Eat Poets/Grave Indiscretion"; produced by wife Trudie Styler who also played a small role as a drunken cook
1998:
Acted in Guy Ritchie's "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels"; played bar owner father of a cardsharp
2000:
With David Hartley, wrote song score for the Disney animated feature "Kingdom of the Sun"; project retooled into "The Emperor's New Groove" and most of songs were dropped, however, one of the retained tunes, "My Funny Friend and I", received an Oscar nomination
2001:
Wrote and performed "Until" on the soundtrack to "Kate & Leopold"; earned second Oscar nomination
2002:
Signed deal to write a non-fiction book to be published by Bantam Dell in 2004
2003:
Wrote and performed "You Will Be My Ain True Love" for the film "Cold Mountain"; received Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song; received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song
2006:
Released "Songs From The Labyrinth," an album of recordings of the music of John Dowland by Sting and Bosnian lutanist Edin Karamazov
2006:
Received a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Collaboration for <i>Always On Your Side</i> which he sang with Sheral Crow
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Warwick University: -
St Cuthbert's Boys Grammar School: -

Notes

Earned his nickname Sting because of the yellow and black jerseys he wore while performing with The Phoenix Jazzmen; it was originally Stinger which was later shortened

He is the managing director for Kaleidescope Cameras of London from 1982

Received honorary Doctorate of Music from Northumbria University in October 1992

Received honorary degree from Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA in May 1994

Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002.

"I'd write songs for no money. I'd really do it for no money at all. I think we get paid for being famous which, as I've discovered, has its ups and downs. I'm not pleading for anonymity. I'm used to being celebrated and recognized. I can handle it. I don't cause hysteria among my fans and I don't run away from them in the street. But I also try to live a normal life as far as I can. I have to try and find a balance between being famous and being a normal person." --Sting quoted in Daily News, October 22, 1994

About his rainforest friends the Kaiapo introducing him to the ceremonious injesting of psychotropic plants: "It's daunting whenever you have an experience like that because you're dealing with raw fear. I'm totally against frivolous drug taking as some sort of party tool. But in a religious, informed context, it's the best thing you can do. I believe that in evolutionary terms we've just swung down from the trees, and that one of the things that made us human was the relationship with certain plants that tripped us into consciousness. I think we need another evolutionary leap." --Sting to The New York Times, March 10, 1996

"Well, I get solace from the fact that whoever Sting is, he seems to be sending mixed signals. There seems to be a great disparity between the extremes people see in me. On the one hand, I'm a rainforest-tree-hugging savior. On the other hand, I'm sort of this lowlife. I like to think that I'm able to encompass both ends of the scale. I don't really worry about it. I know who I am, the people who share my life with me know who I am, and despite that, they still love me." --Sting to Interview, July 1996

"You can scratch the surface of my songs pretty slightly and you'll find someone who wanted to be James Taylor at the age of fourteen. And the Beatles were obviously very influential because of their background; they were educated in a way that was very similar to me. I think the Beatles are responsible for England producing successful musicians in the same way that Bjorn Borg is responsible for Sweden turning out great tennis players." --Sting in Interview, July 1996

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Frances Tomelty. Actor. Married on May 1, 1976; separated in 1982; divorced in March 1984.
wife:
Trudie Styler. Producer, actor. Born c. 1956; together from c. 1982; married in August 1992.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Eric Matthew Sumner. Engineer, milkman. Died of cancer c. 1988; Sting's "Soul Cages" solo album (1991) is a reflection on father's death.
mother:
Audrey Sumner. Hairdresser. Died of cancer c. 1987; album "Nothing Like the Sun" is dedicated to her.
sister:
Angela Sumner. Younger.
sister:
Anita Sumner. Younger.
brother:
Philip Sumner. Younger.
son:
Joseph Sumner. Musician. Born c. 1977; mother, Frances Tomelty.
daughter:
Katherine Sumner. Born c. 1982; mother, Frances Tomelty.
daughter:
Mickey Sumner. Born in 1984; mother, Trudie Styler.
son:
Jake Sumner. Born in 1985; mother, Trudie Styler.
daughter:
Coco Sumner. Born in 1990; mother, Trudie Styler.
son:
Giacomo Luke Sumner. Born on December 17, 1995; mother, Trudie Styler.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Sting: Demolition Man" Carroll & Graf
Broken Music Dell Publishing Company

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute