Happy HUMP Day, Everyone! Hope you’re enjoying Sting Week!
His first solo album, 1985’s The Dream of the Blue Turtles, featured jazz musicians including Kenny Kirkland, Darryl Jones, Omar Hakim and Branford Marsalis. It included the hit singles “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free” (backed with the non-LP song “Another Day”), “Fortress Around Your Heart”, “Love Is the Seventh Wave”, and “Russians”, the last based on a theme from the Lieutenant Kijé Suite. Within a year, the album reached Triple Platinum. This album received Grammy nominations for Album of the Year, Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, and Best Engineered Recording.
Sting sang the line “I Want My MTV” on “Money for Nothing”, a 1985 hit by Dire Straits. In November 1984, he was part of Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”, which raised money for famine victims in Ethiopia.In July 1985, Sting performed Police hits at the Live Aid concert at Wembley Stadium in London. He also joined Dire Straits in “Money for Nothing” and he sang two duets with Phil Collins. In 1985, Sting provided spoken vocals for the Miles Davis album You’re Under Arrest, taking the role of a French-speaking police officer. He also sang backing vocals on Arcadia’s single “The Promise”, on two songs from Phil Collins’ album No Jacket Required, and contributed “Mack the Knife” to the Hal Willner-produced tribute album Lost in the Stars: The Music of Kurt Weill. In September 1985, he performed “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free” at the 1985 MTV Video Music Awards at the Radio City Music Hall in New York. The 1985 film Bring on the Night, directed by Michael Apted, documented the formation of his solo band and its first concert in France.
Sting released …Nothing Like the Sun in 1987, including singles, “We’ll Be Together”, “Fragile”, “Englishman in New York”, and “Be Still My Beating Heart”, dedicated to his mother, who had recently died. It went Double Platinum. “The Secret Marriage” from this album was adapted from Hanns Eisler, and “Englishman In New York” was about Quentin Crisp. The album’s title is from William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130. The album won Best British Album at the 1988 Brit Awards and in 1989 received three Grammy nominations including his second consecutive nomination for Album of the Year. “Be Still My Beating Heart” earned nominations for Song of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. In 1989, …Nothing Like the Sun was ranked number 90 and his Police album Synchronicity was ranked number 17 on Rolling Stone’s 100 greatest albums of the 1980s.
In February 1988 he made Nada como el sol, five songs from Sun he sang in Spanish and Portuguese. In 1987 jazz arranger Gil Evans placed him in a big band setting for a live album of Sting’s songs, and on Frank Zappa’s 1988 Broadway the Hard Way he performed an arrangement of “Murder By Numbers”, set to “Stolen Moments” by Oliver Nelson, and dedicated to evangelist Jimmy Swaggart. In October 1988 he recorded a version of Igor Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale with the London Sinfonietta conducted by Kent Nagano. It featured Vanessa Redgrave, Ian McKellen and Sting as the soldier.