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210 × 148 × 19 mm
248 pages
30 illustrations
25 Sep 2017

Sting From Northern Skies to Fields of Gold Paul Carr

Born in a mainly working-class area of North Tyneside in 1951, Gordon Sumner would become one of the world’s best-selling music artists. Known professionally as Sting, he was the lead singer for the band The Police from 1977 to 1984, before launching a hugely successful solo career. The foundations of Sting’s creativity and drive for success were established in the region of his birth, with vestiges of his ‘Northern Englishness’ continuing to emerge in his music long after he left the area. Published to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the formation of The Police, this is the first book to examine the relationship between Sting’s working-class background in Newcastle and the creativity and inspiration behind his music.

Focusing on the sometimes-blurry borderlines between nostalgia, facts, imagination and memories – as told by Sting, the people who knew (and know) him, and those who have written about him – Carr investigates the often complex resonance between local boy Gordon Sumner and the star the world knows as Sting.

This book will be of great interest to the many fans of Sting and The Police, as well as those interested in the history of popular music.

‘This biography isn’t an all-encompassing look at the life of Gordon Sumner. It is, however, the first to examine the strong sense of “place” evident in Sting’s music and lyrics, beginning with his working-class roots in northern England. The author, himself a musician, is a professor of popular music analysis at the University of South Wales; this is accessible scholarship that will be of greatest interest to those steeped in the musical culture of the past half-century’ — Toronto Star

‘Analyzing the career of any successful public figure requires a multi-faceted approach to understanding their evolution. With Sting: From Northern Skies to Fields of Gold, author Paul Carr highlights the influence of Sting's North England working-class upbringing as a driving factor, from the youthful rejection of his hometown to his subsequent acceptance of it in maturity. Indeed, location and the influence of countries near and far serve as the book's primary driving force. The book realizes Sting's musical and philanthropical efforts as a result of his travels . . . well-researched and comprehensive yet also accessible for the occasional reader. Brimming with exact date citations and a wealth of footnotes, Sting is unquestionably thorough . . . Diehard fans of the musician will relish accounts of early gigs and technical details of first recordings’ — Popmatters.com

‘Perhaps fittingly, this enjoyable book opens by describing how Gordon Sumner grew up on the borderline, between the Roman Empire and the uncharted wildlands to the North. It shows how where we come from – whether real, or imagined – defines us, and delves deep into those liminal zones between fact and fiction, to put Sting in a new geographical and cultural context’ — Dr. Paul Trynka, author of Sympathy for the Devil: The Birth of the Rolling Stones and the Death of Brian Jones and Starman: David Bowie The Definitive Biography

‘Paul Carr’s carefully researched study of Sting is clearly written out of deep appreciation for the man and his music, but it demonstrates why even non-fans should get to know him. Rather than focus on anecdote and personality, the book gets to the heart of what makes Sting tick musically without being drily academic. It negotiates well the seeming contradictions of this Geordie “world citizen”, providing fascinating detail about aspects of Sting’s sound, how it signifies, and how it has been achieved, leading to a rounded picture of a major musician’ — Allan F. Moore, Professor Emeritus, Department of Music, University of Surrey

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Paul Carr is Reader in Popular Music Analysis at the University of South Wales. He has worked as a professional musician with The James Taylor Quartet and former Miles Davis sideman Bob Berg.