it was the beginning of 1993. i was 15 years old, in love with a girl called eva, living my last semester in germany, going to 10th grade. at that time, i was quite into radio and mtv, but i had some fixed musical acts i would listen to, as diverse as vangelis, williams costa jr, michael jackson, mussoursky, besides some current hits like dire straits, lisa stansfield, genesis, sinead o’connor and even some guns’n’roses. but my fixed repertoire of music hearing was divided into three main bands: a-ha, herbert grönemeyer, and most of all, simply red.
then came that last semester in germany. and with it, two musical discoveries; they would both change the way i listened to music, and until today, they are both in my top five favorite music acts. one of them is peter gabriel, and the other is today’s special person, gordon sumner. he is known to most as the band leader of legendary rock-punk-raggae band the police, nicknamed sting since his teen years as a bass player, when he once showed up to play with a horizontally striped, yellow and black sweater. “if i ever lose my faith in you” was my first conscious contact with sting’s music, and it is through mtv (where i would watch the clip with great enthusiasm) that i came to by the max-single, and later, the album it was taken from: ten summoner’s tales. by the beginning of 1994, already living in brazil, i’d bought his earlier work (the dream of the blue turtles, …nothing like the sun, the soul cages), including various specials, like a vhs of the recording sessions in his house in england (ten summoner’s tales). after that, sting had three other studio albums: mercury falling, brand new day, and his last effort, sacred love, from 2003. this last album was the only one i didn’t like so far, but i’m looking forward to his new release, which will be next month (if on a winter’s night). he’ll be 58 at the time of the album release, and hopefully back to top form.
the following songs made it to the top twenty: 20º when we dance, 19º everybody laughed but you, 18º a thousand years, 17º the soul cages, 16º tea in the sahara, 15º seven days, 14º when the angles fall, 13º after the rain has fallen, 12º they dance alone, 11º ghost story
here the list of my top ten favorite sting tunes.
10º shape of my heart – from the ten summoner’s tales album, this beautiful song reminds me of “duetting” it with my younger brother. the beautiful guitar melody, deep lyrics and wonderful melody make it a typical songwriting art work by sting.
9º why should i cry for you? – written after his father’s passing, sting puts lots of emotion into this rhythmic anthem. the “dark angles follow me” is one of my favorite sing-along passages in any song.
8º something the boy said – the last of the ten tales, this song describes a dream. i like the lyrics, and love to sing this one along, too. the “food for a crow” sections at the end are one of the best moments in any sting song.
7º if i ever lose my faith in you – the prologue to the ten summoner’s tales is my official favorite song of all time. the chorus, bridge and last verse are real highlights. my intro to sting’s musical world.
6º the wild wild sea – another dream, again as a reaction to his father’s death in the album “the soul cages”. dark, with a great climax in the album version, and a better end in the unplugged version.
5º i was brought to my senses – one of three top songs from the mercury falling album; great opening and intro to main body, great lyrics, great 7/8 rhythm, great sound. typical song that only sting could compose.
4º the hounds of winter – another one from the mercury falling album. one of my favorite sentences ever in any song: “i still see her face, as beautiful as day”. exceptional lyrics, love the guitar and the mood.
3º i’m so happy i can’t stop crying – the third mercury falling tune. just exceptional songwriting, in country-style. sing-a-long at a high level.
2º fields of gold – simply beautiful, perfect sync between lyrics, music and arrangement. sad and emotional, yet hopeful. reminds me of the summer of 93.
1º island of souls – probably sting’s most complete composition. musically first class, great lyrics, totally unorthodox album opener, interesting and 100% emotional.
the best album is ten summoner’s tales, followed by the soul cages.