Lex Neon on Sting (The Police, solo)

Whenever I hear a song by Sting or his trio The Police, I always think of The Muppet Show.  That’s not to say that Sting looks like a Muppet.  I guess it’s the association of the show with my very first taste of the music by the Police.

My aunt Ava, who is 7 months older than me, always had a knack for finding great bands just before the rest of the world caught on.  One day in late’79, she brought home an album called Reggatta De Blanc by some new English band called the Police.  I was in the family room watching a new episode of The Muppet Show, when I heard music playing at TOP volume in her room.  I turned down the television a listened to her singing along with a song that turned out to be “Message In a Bottle.”

It had a great riff, killer vocals, and a sound that I’d never heard before.  It sounded new, fresh, and exciting.  I forgot about turning up the volume of the television, and just sat there listening to her new album.  As each track played, I found myself more and more attracted to this strange, new sound.  I couldn’t stand it anymore.

I went to her room and pounded on the door as hard as I could.  When the door opened, I asked her what she was listening to.  She said, “The Police.  They’re a new band from England.  They’re great.”  She then showed me the blue and silver album cover, as well as pictures and articles she’d been collecting from magazines about the band.  Sting was her latest infatuation.  He looked like a young, handsome, surly rock star.  She went on to tell me that she was in love with him.

After a month, the record found itself in my clutches and on my stereo for a long time.  There were moody, inventive rock pieces (“Walking On The Moon,” “The Bed’s Too Big Without You”), intense rock work-outs (“Deathwish,” “Reggatta De Blanc”) and quirky pop songs (“It’s Alright For You,””On Any Other Day,” “Does Everyone Stare”).  The album appealed to my maturing musical tastes and kicked ass.

Into the next decade, I would start collecting Police records.  The albums usually had more great songs than not, and the 45 RPM singles had B-sides unavailable anywhere else.  It was the power of Sting’s writing, vocals, and bass chops that kept me in “Police mode” for a few years.  And as predicted, the “rest of the world” finally caught up with Ava’s taste.

When he went solo in ’85 with Dream of The Blue Turtles, I kinda gave up on him.  I was already into R.E.M., U2, and music from the 60s.  Sting’s “new” music didn’t really catch my ear.  It wasn’t until I saw him on Saturday Night Live promoting his ’87 album …Nothing Like The Sun that Sting recaptured my attention.  He sang a new tune called “We’ll Be Together Tonight” and a wonderful rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing” (which dovetailed into a cool version of the Beatles’ “From Me To You”).  I bought the album the very next day (it was my first purchase of a new fangled thing called a compact disc).  There was so much beautiful music on that disc, including “Englishman in New York” and “The Secret Wedding Vow,” which still brings a tear to my eye.

Sting’s taste for jazz, flamenco, and other types of music started leading me into previously unchartered musical territory.  Through him I started revisiting my uncle Kenny’s records by Miles Davis and John Coltrane, which used to be background music in my youth.  I started adding Segovia to my guitar lessons.  I started expanding as a young musician because of Sting’s music.  To this day, I still listen to his music for inspiration and music lessons.

Sting’s birthday lands on October 2.  With that I say Happy birthday, Sting.  You’ve been a real source of inspiration for almost 30 years of my musical life.  I’ve learned so much from listening and watching you that I cannot even begin to tell you.  You are an inspiration to me, and hopefully one day we can sit down and talk music.  I think I just might be a tad intimidated about getting you to play on a Poppermost song.  You rock.

(Lex Neon is the musical mastermind behind the music of indie sunshine pop / rock band Poppermost.  For more info, go to http://www.poppermost.com/)

Please note: The original release date of this album was October 5th, 1979.

Currently listening :
Reggatta De Blanc [Vinyl LP] [Stereo]
By The Police

~ by Poppermost on October 7, 2008.

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