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Biographic

By Steve McGarry
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Sep 22, 2013
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Biographic
Written and Illustrated by Steve McGarry

STING

Born the son of a milkman in the north-east England town of Wallsend on October 2, 1951, Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner studied education and worked a variety of jobs, from laborer to tax officer, before entering the teaching profession.  Meanwhile, he played bass in a number of local bands, earning his nickname "Sting" from a yellow and black hopped sweater he frequently wore onstage.

In 1977, with his wife and baby in tow, he moved to London to team up with guitarist Henry Padovani and drummer Stewardt Copeland and form The Police.  The addition of guitarist Andy Summers soon precipitated the departure of Padovani.  The band's unique blend of rock and reggae saw The Police ride the crest of "new wave" to superstardom.

Songs such as "Don't Stand So Close to Me," "Every little thing She Does is Magic," and "Every Breath You Take" ensured the band's multiplatinum success.  But by the mid-1980s, internal friction was evident, and in 1984, The Police effectively disbanded, leaving Sting free to pursue the solo career for which he was clearly destined. 

His subsequent work has spanned the spectrum, from jazz to Elizabethan folk via chart-topping rock, and has earned him Grammys, a Golden Globe and three Oscar nominations.

Beginning with a prominent role in 1979's "Quadrophenia," he has frequently ventured into acting, starring in such movies as "Dune" and "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels," and undertaking a run in a stage production of "the Threepenny Opera" that took him to Broadway.

He has six children from his marriages to actresses Frances Tomelty and Trudi Styler. A noted environmental activist, he was made a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003.

Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003, the members of The Police came together to perform at the ceremony.  In 2007, in celebration of the band's 30th anniversary, the trio regrouped to perform at the Grammys, before undertaking a yearlong world tour that grossed $340 million!

Sting has continued to tour and perform, and has just released "The Last Ship," his first album of original material in a decade.
Oct 6, 2013
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