Born 2 October 1951, in Wallsend, north-east England, Gordon Sumner's life started to change the evening a fellow musician in the Phoenix Jazzmen caught sight of his black and yellow striped sweater and decided to re-christen him Sting. Sting paid his early dues playing bass with local outfits The Newcastle Big Band, The Phoenix Jazzmen, Earthrise and Last Exit, the latter of which featured his first efforts at song writing. Last Exit were big in the North East, but their jazz fusion was doomed to fail when punk rock exploded onto the music scene in 1976. Stewart Copeland, drummer with Curved Air, saw Last Exit on a visit to Newcastle and while the music did nothing for him he did recognise the potential and charisma of the bass player. The two hooked up shortly afterwards and within months, Sting had left his teaching job and moved to London.
Seeing punk as flag of convenience, Copeland and Sting - together with Corsican guitarist Henri Padovani - started rehearsing and looking for gigs. Ever the businessman, Copeland took the name The Police figuring it would be good publicity, and the three started gigging round landmark punk venues like The Roxy, Marquee, Vortex and Nashville in London. Replacing Padovani with the virtuoso talents of Andy Summers the band also enrolled Stewart's elder brother Miles as manager, wowing him with a Sting song called 'Roxanne'. Within days Copeland Senior had them a record deal. But the hip London music press saw through The Police's punk camouflage and did little to disguise their contempt, and the band's early releases had no chart success. So The Police did the unthinkable - they went to America.
The early tours are the stuff of legend - bargain flights to the USA courtesy of Freddie Laker's pioneering Skytrain; driving their own van and humping their own equipment from gig to gig; and playing to miniscule audiences at the likes of CBGB's in New York and The Rat Club in Boston. Their tenacity paid off though as they slowly built a loyal following, got some all important air-play, and won over their audiences with a combination of new wave toughness and reggae rhythms.
Continue on www.sting.com/biography
Saturday 26th Feb
@New Auditorium of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
Moderated by Maurizio Molinari, Editor in Chief "la Repubblica"
The Florence Declaration as a bridge between Europe and the Mediterranean Region: peace, social and economic development, culture and people to people relations.
Remembering David Sassoli, President of the European Parliament
A meeting with:
Luciana Lamorgese, Minister of the Interior, Italy
Filippo Grandi, High Commissioner UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees)
Amira Kalem and Nadežda Mojsilović , CEI - Rondine Cittadella della Pace
Jean-Marc Aveline, Bishop of Marseille
Giampiero Massolo, President of ISPI
Mayor Mustafa Tunç Soyer, Izmir; Mayor Roberto Gualtieri, Rome; Deputy Mayor Chen Arieli, Tel Aviv; Mayor Benjamina Karic, Sarajevo
Sting (video contribution)
Andrea Bocelli (video contribution)