Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner (born 2 October 1951), known professionally as Sting, is an English musician famed for his pretty boy looks, falsetto crooning, and stinging rhythms. He was the lead singer and bassist of British post-post-pop combo The Police from 1977 to 1984, before launching a sleep-inducing solo career of film soundtracks and adult contemporary tunes.
Sting is noted for his hypnotic stage presence, with the ability to put entire stadiums into coma-like trances. He also plays the bass, which makes him better than all other musicians combined by 12 orders of magnitude — with the exception of Geddy Lee. And John Entwistle. And Les Claypool. And...well, you get the idea.
Early life and education
Sumner was born in Wallsend, North East of England in 1951, at a time when rationing was still happening but people didn't mind because they were wetting their demob suits laughing at the antics of Tony Hancock and the Australian Bill Kerr.
Sumner had a "normal childhood", and went to University where he had a "normal youth". It is said that in school, he was taunted by other pupils who disliked his lack of any real talent, constant self-promotion, and repeated shirtlessness. Sumner would often rub down his naked torso with rancid grease from the cafeteria to make himself glisten, then stand in front of a full length mirror for hours admiring his shining pecs and learning from his greatest influence, Jimi Hendrix.
Sumner became a teacher where he was unable to maintain his authority due to his habit of lecturing to the class by stripping to the waist and singing in a falsetto. His antics led to him becoming the subject of jailbait schoolgirl fantasy. While the temptation and frustration were so bad they made him cry, he ultimately gave in; at the wet bus stop, he took the girl in to his warm and dry car, and the two ended up doing it in the backseat. After some strong words and accusations in the staffroom, Sumner was fired; angered, the headmaster took him to one side and told him bluntly "Son, teaching isn't for you."
1977–84: The Police
In 1977, Sumner started out his career in music by joining The Police. Of course, being a complete fool, he had been trying to join the actual British Police force, but he screwed up royally and ended up being the singer in a faux-reggae pop rock band instead.
Legend has it that at an early performance at Glastonbury, The Police opened for Tom Jones. Sumner went on and on about political causes, then sang an early version of "Russians". When Jones finally got on stage, he found the audience curled up in the fetal position covering their ears. The promoters attempted to revive people with water cannons, but Tom grew impatient with the delay. He remarked into the microphone, "What do you call that, boyos? That guy stinks. I mean, stink, stink, stink!" Unfortunately, because Tom was suffering from a cold, the last words came out as "sting, sting, sting!"; this is said to be how Sumner obtained the moniker of "Sting".
The Police recorded four highly successful albums, Outlanders d'Armour (1978), Reggae de Blank (1979), Allo, Allo Allo (1980), and Sychronicicicitea (1983), plus the moderately-disappointing-by-comparison-but-still-pretty-good Ghost in the
Shell Machine (1981). These albums gave the band a string of overplayed radio hits including "Don't Stand So Close to Me", "Message in My Bottle", "So Boney", "Preposition Man", "Every Little Thing She Does Is Tragic", and "Walking on the Moon". The band received considerable attention for Sting's faintly-ridiculous falsetto singing style which many people have tried to imitate only to fail as they collapse in fits of helpless laughter.
1985–present: Solo career
Sting's career got a real boost when some Hollywood executives, who were tired of bleeding David Lynch dry, tapped the intergalactically famous actor and gladiator and underwear model Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen to play Sting in a movie about the horrors of drug abuse. Tragically, Feyd-Rautha OD'd on spice halfway through production, but the publicity surrounding the story made Sting famous on the big screen.
Starting in 1985, Sting insisted on releasing solo albums. The first of these, The Dream of Blue Language sold well to a generation who had found themselves newly middle-aged. This album included Sting's passionate anti-slavery single "If You Love Someone Set Them Free" about which Sting has said "If you love somebody, set them free. If you hate somebody, then don't set them free. Simple as that." Sting denies he has ever owned slaves and insists the purpose of the song was to "end slavery in the American South and Nazi Germany".
In 1987, Sting followed-up his debut album with ...Nothing Like The Police which included the singles "Englishman In New York" which he dedicated to "some old poofter I met over there" and "Fragile" inspired, according to Sting, "by a vase I broke by singing at it".
1991 saw the release of Sting's third album, The Yellow Pages which spawned the unnecessary hit "All This Thyme" in which Sting put the rigours of cooking the Sunday roast into song to the horror of many critics and music-lovers.
In 1993, he released the award-losing Ten Summoner's Ales, Barman which produced hit singles such as "Will You Ever Try My Tasty Poo?" (which we won't discuss here) and the angry pro-farmer, anti-monetarist political rant "Fields of Gold".
In 1999 he released Brand New Tray, which included the hit single "The Desert Blows". Some fucking car-making company, Audi probably, made an advert for this song which also plugged one of their petrol-guzzling, pollution-spewing tin-cans. Or was it the other way around? Sting was driving the car, anyway, looking smug.
2003 saw the release of Sacred Glove, an "obscene" album all about the vagina which caused him to be barred entry to the Vatican and Poland. He must not have got the message since he released another album on the same subject, Songs from the Labia, three years later. Stop it, Sting!
In 2009, Sting decided to release an album the title of which, funnily enough, was inspired by a different kind of release. "Me and my wife had just been making love for 100 hours a few days before Crimbo" says Sting, sitting back in his beanbag and smoking a clay pipe, "and after I'd blown my load and woken her up, in that order, I rolled over and did a fart - one of those really quiet but really smelly ones. My farts, I'm told, are pretty legendary and this one lifted my expensive silken bedclothes with its methane and sulphur-rich gas blast. After I finished laughing and my wife stopped being sick, I quickly jotted down the name of my next album - Pffffff On a Winter's Night.". The album isn't very good.
The stink of Sting
Sting is widely reputed not to use deodorant, and to be very smelly as a result. Sting rejects claims that he has an unpleasant body odour claiming that it's just the "natural smell of success" and that those who run from him holding their mouths over their hands in an attempt to vainly hold-back the floods of sick are "simply jealous".
A proposed law is pending in the UK to declare Sting's armpits to be lethal weapons. If passed, Sting would not be allowed to raise his arms in a public place including on stage and on commercial airliners (not even to access the overhead bins). Conversely, Texan lawmakers have stated that they support the "right to bear a filthy gut-ghost as an offensive weapon" even "amongst limeys" and have promised not to endanger Sting's "constitutional rights" in the unlikely event of him becoming a US citizen and deciding to live in Texas.