Sting, the rock star sensation known for his timeless music, wasn’t always Sting. Born Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner in 1951 in Northumberland, England, Sting’s journey to becoming a rock icon started with a love for the Beatles and jazz legends like Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane. Before he became the gray-haired elder statesman of rock, he was a young, blonde frontman for the Police in the 1980s punk era.
The Birth of Sting: Not a Musical Sting, But a Fashionable One
During his early days as a performer, Sting’s name didn’t come from his stinging jazz riffs or honey-like vocals. In a candid moment on Inside the Actors Studio, he revealed that his band thought he looked like a bee. The reason? A black and yellow hooped sweater his girlfriend knit for him. Sting recalled, “Looked ridiculous. And the band thought I looked like a bee and of course called me Sting.” This bee-inspired nickname stuck, and even his wife and kids refer to him as Sting.
Sting’s Teenage Humor: A Little Pain, A Con Trick
Sting’s sense of humor about his name isn’t a recent development. In a 1983 interview with Teen magazine, the then-teen idol shared that he had the nickname since he was 1Recounting the striped sweater story, he mused, “if you define what a sting is — a little bit of pain, a con trick — the name suits me.” Back then, he even saw the practicality of it, joking that “Sting is graphic and short” and ideal for signing autographs, especially compared to his birth name, Gordon Matthew Sumner.
The Official Announcement: Gordon Sumner, Known as Sting
Despite Sting’s casual approach to his moniker, there are moments where formality takes precedence. In 2003, when he was honored as a Commander of the British Empire, the official announcement referred to him as “Gordon Sumner, known as Sting.” Even with such recognition, Sting remains approachable, with the nickname echoing through his personal and professional life.
Sting’s Musical Evolution: Decades of Timeless Tunes
Beyond the name, Sting’s music has played a pivotal role in defining the adult contemporary genre. From his early days in jazz bands like the Phoenix Jazzmen and Last Exit to his solo career, his musical journey has spanned decades. Today, he stands as a testament to the enduring power of his craft, resonating with fans across generations.
Sting’s name isn’t just a catchy moniker; it’s a symbol of his journey from a striped sweater and a bee-like appearance to becoming a revered figure in the music industry. The simplicity of “Sting” belies the complexity of the man behind the name, making him a unique and enduring presence in the world of rock and beyond.