Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times


Music: South side of the 6800 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Singer | Songwriter
Born Gordon Matthew Sumner on Oct. 2, 1951 in Wallsend, England, United Kingdom

Few musicians have ventured as stylistically far and wide as Sting, the singer-songwriter who first made his name as the bass-playing front man of the '80s new wave and Caribbean-influenced rock trio, the Police. With guitarist Andy Summers and drummer Steward Copeland, the English band made some of the most singular and enduring hits of the decade — including “Every Breath You Take,” the de facto anthem of loveable stalkers everywhere – before disbanding in 1984.

The son of an English milkman and a hairdresser, Gordon Sumner got his nickname for wearing a striped yellow-and-black sweater while playing in one of the jazz bands he circulated in before joining Copeland’s fledgling outfit in 1977.

The former school teacher was the primary songwriter for the Police, often weaving in literary references, such as Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov in “Don’t Stand So Close to Me.” The Police released four platinum albums, generating such radio candy as “Roxanne,” “Can’t Stand Losing You,” “So Lonely,” “Message in a Bottle” and “Walking on the Moon,” but it wasn’t until their fifth and final album, “Synchronicity,” that the band reached the height of their popularity with pop that was minimalist yet writ large.

A titular nod to analytical psychologist Carl Jung, the 1983 album went on to snare three Grammy Awards and multiplatinum sales, buoyed by hits such as “Wrapped Around Your Finger” and “King of Pain.” However, the recording of it was reportedly contentious and soon after, the band members drifted off to other projects.

Sting’s solo career officially launched in 1985 with “The Dream of the Blue Turtles,” which yielded the hit “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free.” He’s since released eight more solo albums, including “Ten Summoner’s Tales,” nominated for the 1993 Mercury Prize for its impeccable blend of jazz-inflected soft rock. In July 2010, his 10th solo effort, “Symphonicities,” a collection of Sting’s celebrated songs re-imagined for the classical palette, will be released.

In 1992, Sting married longtime partner Trudie Styler; the couple’s opulent wedding, frequent red-carpet appearances and various charitable capacities with Amnesty International and the Rainforest Foundation Fund have kept them in the limelight. Like Styler, a film producer and actress, Sting is no stranger to the film world, having appeared in “Quadrophenia,” “Dune” and “Julia and Julia.” With first wife, actress Frances Tomelty (they were divorced in 1984), Sting has two children, including Joseph Sumner, a member of the band Fiction Plane; with Styler, he has four children. In 2007, the Police reunited for a tour that grossed more than $247 million.

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    Academy Awards

    Year Category Work
    2000 Best Song "My Funny Friend and Me" from The Emperor's New Groove Nomination*
    2001 Best Original Song "Until" from Kate & Leopold Nomination
    2003 Best Original Song "You Will Be My Ain True Love" from Cold Mountain Nomination
    * A joint nomination shared with other people.

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