Sting’s musical journey started in his hometown of Newcastle, England. He played in various local bands before forming The Police in 1977. The Police quickly gained attention with its unique blend of rock, reggae, and new wave influences. They released their debut album, “Outlandos d’Amour,” in 1978, which featured the hit single “Roxanne.” The album’s success established The Police as a rising force in the music industry. In this article, we will take a close look at Sting’s favorite songs that he shared in an interview with BBC Radio 2 and find out what songs a music icon like Sting likes.
Sting`s favorite songs
A basic country rule is that a good song must always tell a story. Let’s look deeper into the soul of this icon and learn what stories his favorite songs tell.
Here are Sting`s favorite songs:
- Procol Harum – “A Whiter Shade Of Pale”
- Bob Marley & The Wailers – “No Woman, No Cry”
- George Michael/Wham! – “Careless Whisper”
- Eurythmics – “Here Comes The Rain Again”
- Pet Shop Boys – “West End Girls”
- The Human League – “Don’t You Want Me”
- Shaggy – “It Wasn’t Me”
- Otis Redding – “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay”
1. Procol Harum – “A Whiter Shade Of Pale”
“A Whiter Shade of Pale” is a timeless classic and the signature song of the British rock band Procol Harum. The song was released in 1967 and can be found on the debut album “Procol Harum“.
A Whiter Shade Of Pale is one of Sting’s favorite songs. In an interview, he said:
“Procul Harum ‘A Whiter Shade Of Pale’ for me probably encapsulate the whole period of the psychdelia. I wasn’t really involved, I was just a young teen but I remember being in (an) amusement park standing next to the jukebox and playing this song again, again, again and again. There is something about the little organ solo, the beginning which (something like) JS Bach, there is something classical and yet very, very modern and psychedelic about it. Then the lyrics they don’t really make any sense but they just carry you along with the absurdity,”
2. Bob Marley & The Wailers – “No Woman, No Cry”
“No Woman, No Cry” is one of Bob Marley’s most iconic and beloved songs, originally recorded by Bob Marley & The Wailers in 1974 and released on their album “Natty Dread.”
Legend says that Bob Marley and his good friend Vincent “Tata” Ford were sitting in the yard of a soup kitchen. They heard the voice of their neighbor, Puncie Saunders, who was arguing violently with her husband, as usual. Bob Marley and his good friend Vincent came up with the idea of comforting Puncie. So they decided to compose a song during the night. This is how “No Woman, No Cry” was born. For this reason, Vincent Ford appears in the credits of the song as a co-author.
Whether this was actually the case cannot be proven. In an interview, Bob Marley mentioned once, he wrote the song completely alone and Vincent Ford only indicated in order to escape a legal dispute with the label.
Sting on Bob Marley`s “No Woman, No Cry”:
3. George Michael (Wham!) – “Careless Whisper”
One of George Michael’s most important singles is definitely “Careless Whisper”. The song by the successful duo Wham! took the international charts by storm and caused a worldwide stir. The lyrics of the hit single were particularly discussed.
The song “Careless Whisper” tells the story of infidelity and the associated feelings of guilt from a first-person perspective.
Careless Whisper is one of Sting`s favorite songs. He said:
“George was a friend of mine, we were not close but I really admired him from the pop stardom from When to then coming a very, very well respected and serious songwriter and artist. I often wonder where George would be right now. What kind of music he would be creating. It’s a big regret that George didn’t progress with his music. Very sad, but ‘Careless Whisper’ is a great song. I love that line ‘guilty feet have got no rhythm’. It’s the kind of thing I wish I have written myself.”
Click the play button and listen to this unforgettable song while reading the rest of the article!
4. Eurythmics – “Here Comes The Rain Again”
“Here Comes The Rain Again” is one of the great ballads in pop history. Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics had been a couple since 1980. They had met in their hometown of Sunderland, and quite quickly moved into a shared apartment. After four years, they broke up. But throughout their career together, tensions as a couple, both positive and negative, always played a role in the Eurythmics’ music. Dave Stewart explains it for “Here Comes The Rain Again” like this:
The whole song is about the state of indecision. You could have sung “Here comes the next depression”, or “Here comes the next downward spiral”, but Rain also describes the state quite well. Then comes the “talk to me like lovers do,” and that then contrasts with the line before it. So the song constantly marches in and out of melancholy
Sting on Eurythmics:
“We’ve made a session for the BBC with The Police a support act that day and they were called The Tourists. (They were) of course Annie Lennox and Dave. I remember taking note of them and of course Annie left that band. She toured with me, we spent a lot of time backstage and she said to me: ‘Oh, I’m so nervous, I don’t know how you do it’. She had this proccess of worrying before she would go on stage and then become this amazing (diva), with this amazing voice. That was her proccess. But I love her dearly, I think she was a very important woman and artist. I just love her.”
5. Pet Shop Boys – “West End Girls”
The song is about a tense relationship between the wealthy girls from London’s West End and the more rustic boys from the East End.
In 1984, Chris and Neil recorded the song in New York, together with producer Bobby Orlando. But that first version flopped. “We can do better than that,” thought singer Neil Tennant, who was already 30 years old at the time and thus almost too old for a pop star career. But then the improved version appeared in 1985 and became a world hit.
“West End Girls” is one of Sting`s favorite songs:
“You know, Neil Tennant and I went to the same school in Newcastle. We didn’t know each other, he was a couple years younger than me. I didn’t really meet him until he was a journalist for Smash Hits, I think. He interviewed me and he revealed to me that he and I have been in the same school together. Then lo and behold he has this massive hit. Again, an iconic song fromt he perido, ‘West End Girls’, the synthesizer, the feeling. I mean, it’s a great, great pop song.”
6. The Human League – “Don’t You Want Me”
In the late 70s, an electronic music scene emerged in Sheffield, England, and Martyn Ware was part of it. Together with his friends, he experimented with synthesizers. At first, they called themselves The Future, but when Martyn Ware’s school friend Philip Oakey joined them as a singer, they became The Human League. After a short time, they got their first record deal.
“Don’t You Want Me” is a synthpop classic by the British band The Human League. It was released in 1981 as the lead single from their album “Dare”
“Don’t You Want Me’ baby is one of my karaoke songs. I do actually go to karaoke ocasionally, I enjoy it. That’s the song I choose. I love the line ‘you were working as a waitress in a cocktail bar’, it always gets people heads turned.”
7. Shaggy – “It Wasn’t Me”
“It Wasn’t Me” is a hit song by Jamaican-American artist Shaggy, released in 2000. The song, featuring vocals from Rikrok, became one of Shaggy’s most well-known and successful tracks.
The successful song “It Was Not Me,” which Shaggy, first released on his fifth album “Hot Shot” in 2000, reached the top of the charts in a number of different nations that year. As Sting noted, they became friends over time and collaborated on music
Sting on Shaggy:
“Sometimes you meet somebody and they might be very different from you, very different backgrounds but you recognize kindred spirit. Shaggy and I we genuinely love each other. We laugh at the same jokes, I find him an intensively interesting artist. When he raps he declames like a Shakespearean act, it’s a beautiful voice. And he writes these kind like moral parables . ‘It Wasn’t Me’ kind of have a morality to it. We did it in a German church and I had to explain the pastor what exactly the message was. I’m not sure how successful I was but it’s very funny.”
8. Otis Redding – “The Dock of the Bay”
“(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” is a timeless soul classic by American singer-songwriter Otis Redding. It was released in 1968.
On December 10, 1967, many teenagers in the United States received bad news. They heard on the radio that Otis Redding had died in a plane crash. Why? The 26-year-old singer was different from many others. He was sometimes aggressive like James Brown and sometimes sentimental like Sam Cooke.
He was the rising star of soul and rhythm & blues. For many, he was already “The King Of Soul“. Because he was a similar idol for the colored youth of the 60s as the early Elvis Presley was for the youth of the 50s, who also longed for a new idol. All that was now over from one second to the other, the title “The King Of Soul” Otis Redding still carries today.
“I think I was just 16 and Otis Redding had just died in a terrible plane crash. I went to my record store and bought ‘Dock Of The Bay’ on the Stax label, (there was) a lovely blue label, there was a paper bag and I took it out, put it on my turntable, the usual ritual, put the needle on it and I hear . What a wonderful song. I mean, sad song but without any minor chords. It’s all major chords, which is kind of an achievement in many ways.”
“I was asked by the Alzheimer’s Society to choose a song I would like to remember if I ever suffer from Alzheimer, because people who do suffer from Alzheimer remember songs more than anything else. So to just draw attention to this issue that I re-recorded as what I regard a masterpiece. It actually made me analyze the song and what it’s power is. It was a learning exercise for me to remember the song and pay homage to the great Otis Redding,”
What do you think of Sting`s favorite songs? Let us know in the comments!