Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, better known by his stage name “Sting”, is singer-songwriter, bassist, and rock musician. He shot to prominence with the new wave band The Police, then later launched a successful solo career. He has garnered many awards including 16 Grammys and with The Police has been enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He blends many styles of music into his compositions—rock, jazz, reggae, classical, and new age, also bringing a literary breadth to his lyrical imagery.
His career began as he worked nights and weekends playing local clubs while going to college then working as a schoolteacher. When The Police formed, his career took off. His first solo concert, however, showed his social convictions as he performed for four straight nights at an Amnesty International benefit series. Sting addressed “growing feeling of hysteria” during the Cold War with his song “Russians” which has the line “if the Russians love their children, too.”
Sting continued throughout the 80s working with Amnesty International. In 1988 he wrote the song “They Dance Alone,” about the women in Chile who protested the disappearances of their loved ones by dancing alone at public events. He later performed that song in Chile and Argentina, dancing with many of those women on the stage. In 1989 under the sponsorship of Amnesty International Sting joined many other musicians including Peter Gabriel and Bruce Springsteen on a 6-week tour “Human Rights Now” to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Sting has been a regular fixture at rock benefits such as Band-Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas” for Ethiopian famine relief and then the global Live-Aid concert. He has used his music to support causes from the rainforest in the Amazon to aid to families of the 9/11 victims. At his concerts Sting continues to weave songs with peace and justice themes into his other hit tunes.
An Incredibly Emotional Version of “They Dance Alone” in Chile:
Singing in Spanish in the 1990 Amnesty International Tour in Chile (Mothers Standing Behind Him):
Cold War era Recording of “Russians”: