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Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, (born ), usually known by his Sting, is a from . Prior to a distinguished solo career, he was the lead , principal composer, and of the 1970s/1980s rock band .
Sumner was born in , near Newcastle upon Tyne in northeast , to Audrey Cowell and her husband, Ernest Sumner. He is the eldest of four children and has a brother, Philip, and two sisters, Angela and Anita. His father managed a dairy, and as a boy Sumner would often assist him with the early morning milk delivery rounds. Sumner was raised in the tradition, due to the influence of his paternal grandmother, who was from an family.
Sumner attended St. Cuthbert's Grammar School in , and then the , but did not graduate. After jobs as a bus conductor, a construction labourer, and a tax officer, he attended Northern Counties Teachers' Training College from 1971 to 1974. He then worked as a teacher at St. Paul's First School in for two years.
From an early age, Gordon Sumner knew that he wanted to be a . His first music were wherever he could get a job, performing evenings, weekends, and during vacations from college and teaching. He played with local bands such as the , the Newcastle Big Band, and .
Origin of nickname
He has stated that he gained his nickname while with the Phoenix Jazzmen. He once performed wearing a black and yellow with hooped stripes that bandleader Gordon Solomon had noted made him look like a ; thus Sumner became "Sting." He uses Sting almost exclusively, except on official documents. In a press conference, he once jokingly stated that even his children call him "Sting". However, his current wife Trudie Styler, affectionately refers to him by his real name, Gordon.
In January 1977, Sting moved from Newcastle to , and soon thereafter he joined and (who was very soon replaced by ) to form the band . The group had several chart-topping albums and won six in the early 1980s.
Although they jumped on the punk bandwagon early in their career, The Police soon abandoned that sound in favor of -tinged rock and minimalist . Their last album, , which included their most successful song, "", was released in 1983.
In September , Sting made his first live solo appearance, performing on all four nights of the fourth benefit at the invitation of producer . He performed solo versions of "" and "".
He also led an all-star band (dubbed "The Secret Police") on his own arrangement of 's, "". The band included , , and , all of whom (except Beck) later worked together on .
His performances were featured prominently in the album and movie of the show and drew Sting major critical attention. Sting's participation in The Secret Policeman's Other Ball was the beginning of his growing involvement in raising money and consciousness for political and social causes.
In he released a solo single, Spread a Little Happiness from the television play . The song was a re-interpretation of a song from the 1920s musical by , and was a surprise Top 20 hit in the UK.
Sting's first solo album, 1985's , featured a cast of accomplished jazz musicians, including , , , and . It included the hit single "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free", which included a fan favorite non-LP track titled "Another Day". The album also yielded the hits, "Fortress Around Your Heart", "Russians", and "Love is the Seventh Wave". Within a year, it reached Triple . This album would help Sting garner a nomination for Album of the Year. The film and video "Bring On The Night" documented the formation of the band and its first concert in France.
Also in 1985, he sang the introduction and chorus to "", a groundbreaking song by . He would perform this song with Dire Straits at the Live Aid Concert at .