Sting

The milkman's son who became a teacher. It was his experience there that inspired 'Don't Stand So Close To Me' one of many classics of his band, The Police. Ridiculed for his tree-hugging and Tantric ways, he's now an elder statesman of pop


Gordon Sumner - nicknamed ‘Sting’ for the black and yellow striped sweater he would wear while performing - was born and raised in Newcastle. His mother was a classically trained pianist whose teaching resulted in him being offered an advanced piano scholarship. He too trained as a teacher, but jazz and guitar were Sting's real loves, resulting in him ditching his career and moving to London to play professionally. American drummer Stewart Copeland caught his act and persuaded him to try rock. Joined by guitarist Andy Summers, the trio formed the Police in 1977.

Their rock-reggae sound broke through with 'Roxanne', a song about a prostitute later banned by the BBC, which assured its hit status. The single proved so successful that their record company, A&M, rushed to release their first album, 'Outlandos D'Amour'. In quick succession, the band's next albums, 'Regatta De Blanc', 'Zenyatta Mondatta', and 'Ghost in the Machine' were released, with at least one hit single emerging from each. The release, in 1983, of 'Synchronicity' and its monster single, 'Every Breath You Take', secured their place in pop history. After a triumphant world tour, Sting decided he had achieved all he could with the Police, and the band dissolved at the height of its popularity.

Sting's solo career has proven equally successful. His first album, the jazz-influenced 'Dream of the Blue Turtles', went platinum. 1991's 'Soul Cages', dealing with the loss of his parents (who both died of cancer within a few months of each other), and 1993's 'Ten Summoner's Tales', revealed a maturity in his song writing not previously seen, and both albums won Grammy Awards. 

1996's 'Mercury Falling' continued in a meditative vein, as the forty-five-year-old artist ruminated on aging and his own mortality. A political activist, Sting has lent outspoken support to both Amnesty International, as well as helping to save Brazilian rainforests. His film career has showed mixed success, but his performances in such films as 'Brimstone and Treacle' and 'Quadrophenia' have been well received. He and his wife, Trudie Styler, live a relatively quiet life on their estate outside London, with their children and dogs.

In 1999, Sting released his album 'Brand New Day', which included some of the songs featured on the 'Emperor's New Groove' soundtrack. It also featured the top 40 hits 'Desert Rose' and 'Brand New Day'. It became triple platinum by January 2001. He also won a Grammy for the single.

He won another Grammy in February 2001 and he planned to record a live album from his Tuscan villa that would also be released as a DVD. He planned to perform the concert over the internet on 11 September 2001 but it was pushed back due to the terrorist attacks in the US.

In 2002, Sting won a Golden Globe for his track 'Until…' for the film 'Kate and Leopold' and he won the Brit award for Outstanding Contribution to Music and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in June that year. Sting was also given a CBE.

The following year, he released 'Sacred Love' which featured collaborations with hip-hop artist Mary J Blige. They won a Grammy for one of their duets and Sting went on a tour. In October 2003, Sting released his autobiography 'Broken Music'. His latest album, 'The Last Ship' was released in 2013.