Stings returns with first rock album in more than a decade
The first rock album in more than 10 years from 17-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and bassist Sting, 65, is titled, 57th & 9th. The ‘Roxanne’ singer debuted the album earlier this month during a set of sold out shows in New York City’s Irving Plaza. Sting explains the title of the 10-track set of all new material is the location of the Midtown studio where he recorded the album. The A&M Records/Interscope release represents a wide range of Sting’s musical and songwriting styles including a new single—the “raucous, guitar-driven” ‘I Can’t Stop Thinking About You,’ which is up to No. 2 on the Mediabase Adult Rock chart.
Sting recorded 57th & 9th “in just a few weeks” with producer Martin Kierszenbaum (Lady Gaga, Madonna, Far East Movement). The artist reveals the theme in the album’s song lyrics pertains to the idea of travel and motion—a direction that’s most apparent in the autobiographical ‘Heading South On The Great North Road’ and the track ‘Inshallah,’ which is described as a “first-person account of the global refugee crisis, written from a humanitarian point of view.”
“It’s about searching and traveling, the road, that pull of the unknown,” declares Sting in the press announcement. “On this album, we ended up with something that’s energetic and noisy, but also thoughtful.” The standard edition of 57th & 9th features a total of 10 songs including the “ferocious, Road Warrior-style imagery” of ‘Petrol Head’ and the anthemic ‘50,000.’
The last solo studio album Sting released was 2013’s The Last Ship, which reached No. 13 on the Billboard 200 and featured the singles ‘And Yet’ and ‘Practical Arrangement.’ 57th & 9th reached the Top 10 of the Billboard 200, while the single ‘I Can't Stop Thinking About You’ got to No. 2 on Billboard's Adult Alternative Songs chart—becoming Sting's first hit on the chart since 2004's ‘Stolen Car (Take Me Dancing),’ which reached No. 14 on the chart.
Sting spent the summer touring with Peter Gabriel on the pair’s critically acclaimed Rock, Paper, Scissors tour. He also recently performed in front of victims’ parents and survivors of the terrorist attack at the legendary Paris rock venue, the Bataclan, which reopened following the attack that killed 90 people last November. Sting was honored with The American Music Award of Merit at the 2016 American Music Awards, and is currently preparing to appear at wife Trudie Styler’s annual Holiday Concert for the Rainforest Fund—an organization he and Trudie founded to raise awareness and funds for the protection of rainforests around the world.
The star-studded Rainforest Fund event scheduled for Dec. 14 also features Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, Ronnie Spector, and others at New York’s Carnegie Hall. Sting next headlines a special New Year's Eve show at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas before formally launching the 57th & 9th Tour on Feb. 1 in Vancouver, BC, followed by stops in more than 20 major city venues across North America. Highlights include two-night stands at The Masonic in San Francisco (Feb. 5-6) and the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles (Feb. 8-9). Other featured stops take him to the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago (Mar. 3) and the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City (Mar. 14). The European leg of the 57th & 9th Tour gets underway Mar. 21 in Barcelona.
Watch Sting in the official music video for ‘I Can't Stop Thinking About You’ from the former The Police frontman’s twelfth solo album, 57th & 9th.
As A Matter of Fact…
* The artist known as Sting was born Gordon Sumner on October 2, 1951, in Wallsend, north-east near Newcastle, England. Sting paid his early dues by playing bass for several local outfits such as The Newcastle Big Band, Phoenix Jazzmen, Earthrise, and Last Exit—the latter featured his first attempts at songwriting.
* A bandmate in the Phoenix Jazzmen gave Sting his nickname because of a black and yellow-striped sweater he often wore. When the punk-rock music scene exploded in England during late 1970s, Sting met drummer Stewart Copeland and formed a trio with Corsican guitarist Henri Padovani.
* Sting left his teaching job in Newcastle and moved to London, where the trio began to rehearse and look for gigs at London’s landmark punk venues including The Roxy, Marquee, Vortex, and Nashville. Copeland chose the name The Police (thinking it would be good publicity) and the three started playing the London punk club circuit.
* After replacing Padovani with guitarist Andy Summers, the band enlisted Copeland’s elder brother, Miles, to act as manager for The Police. A demo of Sting’s ‘Roxanne’ got The Police a record deal, but indifferent music press in London prompted the band to relocate to America, where larger crowds embraced the The Police’s blend of “new wave toughness and reggae rhythms.”
* The Police debut album, Outlandos d'Amour, was released on A&M Records in October 1978. 'Roxanne' and two other singles ('Can't Stand Losing You,' 'So Lonely') initially failed to chart in the U.S., but the album landed the band a favorably reviewed headlining slot at the 1979 Reading Festival. The release of Reggatta de Blanc the following October was a step closer to mainstream stardom as first single, ‘Message In A Bottle,’ was a No. 1 hit in the U.K. and cracked the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 74.
* The band’s major breakthrough came in 1980 when the double-platinum Zenyatta Mondatta scored two Top 10 singles on the Hot 100 with ‘Don't Stand So Close To Me’ ' and ‘De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da.’ Subsequent studio albums Ghost In The Machine (1981) and Synchronicity (1983) maintained the same level of expertise and popularity, ranking No. 2 and No. 1, respectively, on the Billboard 200. The latter went eight-times platinum behind the Sting-penned megahit, ‘Every Breath You Take.’
* Sting began work on his first solo album late in 1984, rounding up a group of jazz musicians to record 1985’s The Dream of the Blue Turtles. The album scored two Top 10 and two Top 20 singles on the Hot 100 with ‘If You Love Somebody Set Them Free’ (No. 3), ‘Love Is the Seventh Wave’ (No. 17), ‘Fortress Around Your Heart’ (No. 8), and ‘Russians’ (No. 16).
* Following an aborted Police reunion, the group formally disbanded in 1986 and Sting launched a full-scale campaign as a solo artist and sometime actor—appearing in the films Quadrophenia (1979), Radio On (1980), Artemis 81 (1981), Brimstone and Treacle (1982), Dune (1984), Gormenghast (1984), Plenty (1985), The Bride (1985), The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988), Stormy Monday (1988), and Julia and Julia (1988).
* In September 2013, Sting released The Last Ship, his first album of original material since 2003's Sacred Love. Inspired by the play of the same name, the album explores the central themes of homecoming and self-discovery, drawing upon his memories of growing up in the shadow of the Swan Hunters Shipyard in Wallsend.
* Sting wrote the lyrics for “The Last Ship” original musical based on the book by John Logan and Brian Yorkey. It premiered during the summer of 2014 in Chicago before moving to the Neil Simon Theatre on Broadway. The following year, the musical received two Tony Award nominations for Best Original Score and Best Orchestrations.