Sting (Gordon Matthew Sumner) is a distinguished English solo musician & former lead-singer / principal-composer / bassist of, 1970s/80s rock band, The Police.
Sumner was born in Wallsend, near Newcastle, 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 Roman Catholic tradition, due to the influence of his paternal grandmother, who was from an Irish family.
Sumner attended St. Cuthbert’s Grammar School in Newcastle upon Tyne, and then the University of Warwick, but did not graduate. During this time, he would often sneak into nightclubs like the Club-A-Go-Go. Here he would watch acts like Jack Bruce and Jimi Hendrix who would later influence his music. After jobs as a bus conductor, a construction labourer, and a tax officer, he attended Northern Counties Teachers’ Training College, which later became part of Northumbria University, from 1971 to 1974. He then worked as a teacher at St. Paul’s First School in Cramlington for two years.
From an early age, Gordon Sumner knew that he wanted to be a musician. His first music gigs were wherever he could get a job, performing evenings, weekends, and during vacations from college and teaching. He played with local jazz bands such as the Phoenix Jazzmen, the Newcastle Big Band, and Last Exit.
In January 1977, Sting moved from Newcastle to London, and soon thereafter he joined Stewart Copeland and Henry Padovani (who was very soon replaced by Andy Summers) to form the new wave band The Police. The group had several chart-topping albums and won six Grammy Awards in the early 1980s.
Although they jumped on the punk bandwagon early in their career, The Police soon abandoned that sound in favor of reggae-tinged rock and minimalist pop. Their last album, Synchronicity, which included their most successful song, Every Breath You Take, was released in 1983.