The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
Sting appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe Wednesday morning and said something it is easy to forget is true about his solo career: “I could have failed miserably.”
Twenty-Five years of sustained success can make us forget that in 1985, leaving The Police and starting a solo career seemed a little foolhardy, even for a frontman as popular as Sting.
At the time, The Police was one of the biggest bands in the world. Each album was commercially, and in a lot of ways critically more successful than the previous one. The group was coming off a bona fide blockbuster in Synchronicity when Sting announced he was leaving and starting a solo career.
This wasn’t like, say, Phil Collins, who squeezed his solo records in between Genesis albums – which were becoming increasingly indistinguishable. The Police were done, except for a few reunions including the most recent 2007 tour that brought the original trio to Churchill Downs – a venue where a horse named after Sting’s youngest son, Giacomo, won the Kentucky Derby in 2005.
So, if he had kicked out a solo record that flopped, this could have looked like one of the stupidest moves in rock history, and Sting does not like to look stupid.
Twenty-five years later, as Sting celebrated his 60th birthday on Sunday, the gamble has clearly paid off. Sting may not be the pop chart force he was in the late 1980s – who is? But his 25-year retrospective box set is a reminder of the quality of his albums that did top charts for good reasons and a career that has always kept him somewhere in the pop music conversation, be it that jazzy solo debut in The Dream of the Blue Turtles (1985) or turn-of-the-21st century hits such as Brand New Day and Desert Rose.
About Rich Copley & Copious Notes
Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. MORE | E-mail Rich