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Broken Music

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Having been a songwriter most of my life, condensing my ideas and emotions into short rhyming couplets and setting them to music, I had never really considered writing a book. But upon arriving at the reflective age of fifty, I found myself drawn, for the first time, to write long passages that were as stimulating and intriguing to me as any songwriting I had ever done.


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Having been a songwriter most of my life, condensing my ideas and emotions into short rhyming couplets and setting them to music, I had never really considered writing a book. But upon arriving at the reflective age of fifty, I found myself drawn, for the first time, to write long passages that were as stimulating and intriguing to me as any songwriting I had ever done.

30 review for Broken Music

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mischenko

    An enjoyable and insightful, well-written autobiography thats more of a memoir than anything in my humble opinion. I've been a huge Police fan since early childhood and Sting remains one of my favorite artists today. I enjoy learning about other people and their life stories so, I've had this book in my sights for some time now. I enjoyed all the stories from his childhood and learning all the family history. It's honest and even raw at times. I felt a few connections with his thoughts on religi An enjoyable and insightful, well-written autobiography thats more of a memoir than anything in my humble opinion. I've been a huge Police fan since early childhood and Sting remains one of my favorite artists today. I enjoy learning about other people and their life stories so, I've had this book in my sights for some time now. I enjoyed all the stories from his childhood and learning all the family history. It's honest and even raw at times. I felt a few connections with his thoughts on religion as I was raised Orthodox as he was Catholic. My only issue with the book was that it was just enough to keep me going and everything he talks about in the book was before The Police so, I guess I was hoping for more 'after' the fame. It wasn't exactly what I expected, however, I'm really glad I read it. 3.5 rounded up to 4****

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Brown

    I was too busy raising my babies to pay much attention to Sting, so I came to this book without any preconceptions as to who he was. I came away impressed with his thoughtfulness and ability to reflect on who he was and why. I'm baffled by the hostility of some reviewers here, as I didn't feel he came across as arrogant nor as if he were trying to impress anyone with his intelligence. It was a pleasure to read something so well written from the pen of a celebrity. Most celebrity "bios I was too busy raising my babies to pay much attention to Sting, so I came to this book without any preconceptions as to who he was. I came away impressed with his thoughtfulness and ability to reflect on who he was and why. I'm baffled by the hostility of some reviewers here, as I didn't feel he came across as arrogant nor as if he were trying to impress anyone with his intelligence. It was a pleasure to read something so well written from the pen of a celebrity. Most celebrity "bios" are written by well paid ghost writers and sound like it. But once you reach the height of celebrity this man has, you trigger the envy of others less talented and hard working. As someone who put in quite a few years in the music business in the 1970s in the US I thought the story he tells here rang very true and I was impressed by just how hard he worked at his craft. Those years of crappy gigs and the experience of playing so many different kinds of music gave him the background he needed to write songs that were more than ephemeral hit-of-the-moment efforts. I found the underlying story here very encouraging. Hard work which made it possible to take advantage of rare opportunities. This wasn't someone who had anything handed to him, and the story he tells should be an inspiration to anyone who dreams of making it as a creative artist in any medium.

  3. 5 out of 5

    David Kudlinski

    I was never fond of Sting. He seemed arrogant and too artsy-fartsy for my tastes. So, being fair-minded, I decided to read his memoir, Broken Music, published in 2003. Sting, the perfectionist that he is, produced a well-written book, which I found to be dense and a chore to read. The book is not entertaining, maybe by design. Sting is very ambitious, and his plans are very calculating. Sting was born with good looks and innate musical talent of rare caliber. Although he acts like Mr. Perfect, S I was never fond of Sting. He seemed arrogant and too artsy-fartsy for my tastes. So, being fair-minded, I decided to read his memoir, Broken Music, published in 2003. Sting, the perfectionist that he is, produced a well-written book, which I found to be dense and a chore to read. The book is not entertaining, maybe by design. Sting is very ambitious, and his plans are very calculating. Sting was born with good looks and innate musical talent of rare caliber. Although he acts like Mr. Perfect, Sting’s life was filled with sadness from his parents’ dysfunctional relationship and his own divorce. He is not a silver-spoon kid; he grew up in a poor family and hauled milk bottles throughout his childhood. Sting is smart, and he realized he was more talented than many of the more successful contemporary musicians. He tenaciously fought on, never giving up or compromising on his dream. The Police were a very professional and hard-working band with a great respect for the audience. But prior to that, Sting was on the welfare dole for years, as he worked nights in various rock bands. Sting admits he has a regrettable tendency to be selfish, and you see in the book where the cold drive for success resulted in tough decisions to cut likeable friends from various bands. On the verge of The Police’s success prior to the release of Roxanne, he worried that he had wasted a college education and could not support his family. In this book you see the vulnerable side of Sting. And you see how becoming a rock and film star takes a lot of hard work, but an equal measure of luck. The price of failure is damnable. If you make it, you are a music god – if you fail, like most, you are the world’s biggest loser. It takes a tough, determined person to make that gamble!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sassyfrazz

    I don't hate or love Sting, like so many others seem to. I think he is a very talented musician and his ambition cannot be denied. I have always vaguely considered him to be arrogant and a little pompous, but what rock star isn't? However, I have to admit I really enjoyed this book. I like the way it isn't perfect grammatically, how he switches back and forth with tenses, how it isn't exactly chronological and that he doesn't spend much time talking about the famousness of the band once it reach I don't hate or love Sting, like so many others seem to. I think he is a very talented musician and his ambition cannot be denied. I have always vaguely considered him to be arrogant and a little pompous, but what rock star isn't? However, I have to admit I really enjoyed this book. I like the way it isn't perfect grammatically, how he switches back and forth with tenses, how it isn't exactly chronological and that he doesn't spend much time talking about the famousness of the band once it reaches that level. I love the way his memoir is so much like all our memories...a little fuzzy with strange details that for some reason are the clearest part of the memory. For many memories it is just a place, or clothing, or atmoshphere, or words spoken that are the keystone. He must have kept a diary all his life though. I was impressed by his recollection of specific dates and people. The part of the book I loved the most was apparently the part that other readers hated or felt like it was work to trudge through. And that was the retelling of all of his gigs he played with all the different musicians. His successes and his failures. His few tantrums and faults. His dynamic with the other musicians. The type of music they played. The late nights, filthy bars, cheap hotels, long drives, pittance for their blood, sweat and tears. As a musicians daughter, I felt I could totally relate and appreciate what he experienced. I have never seen it written in such a way that really captured the world of the struggling musician. It made me remember my own experiences traveling with my father, loading and unloading the band equipment, watching him from the audience, driving home late at night, feeling so tired but also slap-happy. Trying to talk to keep him awake. Sting's account has made me want to explore his music more and think about what might have been going on with him while he wrote his lyrics. I am excited to revisit his earlier material and relisten with this new interest.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Heather Doherty

    First, I have to confess the crush I have had on the man since the early 80's (when I actually was a schoolgirl). This feeling, however, has only grown as the years have passed. I mean really, how often do you get references to Homer and Nabakov in popular music? Plus he practices yoga and is sexier now than when he was younger. In the light of this confession, I may not be completely objective about this book. I loved it though! I do typically like rock and roll memoirs, but this one is of the First, I have to confess the crush I have had on the man since the early 80's (when I actually was a schoolgirl). This feeling, however, has only grown as the years have passed. I mean really, how often do you get references to Homer and Nabakov in popular music? Plus he practices yoga and is sexier now than when he was younger. In the light of this confession, I may not be completely objective about this book. I loved it though! I do typically like rock and roll memoirs, but this one is of the best sort. It gives the reader a glimpse inside the artist's mind and feelings, as oppossed to merely detailing the events of his career. I particularly enjoyed learning about Sting's relationships with his parents, wives and children and about his evolution as a songwriter. I highly recommend this book to fans, but also to those who just like an interesting well-written memoir.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rekha

    Another 'before I was famous' memoir, and this one is very well-written. Sting uses his development as a musician as the thread that holds all of his vignettes together, desribing what was going on in his life that brought him to his first guitar, for example, or the community of friends he finds during his time as a touring jazz musician. The book ends just before The Police become famous. A great read for those interested in what it's like to be a working, not-famous musician on the road, and Another 'before I was famous' memoir, and this one is very well-written. Sting uses his development as a musician as the thread that holds all of his vignettes together, desribing what was going on in his life that brought him to his first guitar, for example, or the community of friends he finds during his time as a touring jazz musician. The book ends just before The Police become famous. A great read for those interested in what it's like to be a working, not-famous musician on the road, and will even appeal to people who are not Sting fans.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    This autobiography, which actually appears to be written by Sting himself, tells the story from his childhood up to when The Police had just started to see success. There were some surprising details and amazing connections, and it is nice to see how long and hard the struggle can be, even for someone who grew into a well-crafted songwriter and superstar. My favorite bits came from his actual journal, and I would like to read more of that, from the immediate days of reflection rather than lookin This autobiography, which actually appears to be written by Sting himself, tells the story from his childhood up to when The Police had just started to see success. There were some surprising details and amazing connections, and it is nice to see how long and hard the struggle can be, even for someone who grew into a well-crafted songwriter and superstar. My favorite bits came from his actual journal, and I would like to read more of that, from the immediate days of reflection rather than looking back.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mariel

    This is Sting's life before he put on a sweater and stung the world with the ghost hit making machine that was The Police. Before he was a twat who hated on Stewart Copeland's short shorts he trudged through fifty feet of snow to get to school- Wait, that was my grandma's depression memories/guilt trips (Me: "It didn't snow in Louisiana!" *whop!*). Sting has the push to the top of dung heap of life mentality still. Still, I'm still team Stewart (the short shorts). I I don't find ambition endeari This is Sting's life before he put on a sweater and stung the world with the ghost hit making machine that was The Police. Before he was a twat who hated on Stewart Copeland's short shorts he trudged through fifty feet of snow to get to school- Wait, that was my grandma's depression memories/guilt trips (Me: "It didn't snow in Louisiana!" *whop!*). Sting has the push to the top of dung heap of life mentality still. Still, I'm still team Stewart (the short shorts). I I don't find ambition endearing. Have marathon sex on your own time! I guess the lesson here is that Sting writes memoirs like his ambition to be a jazz musician (ugh). It never ends. No praise is enough. "But... I clapped. Why still this six hour jam session?" He thinks he needs more than he's got. I just liked The Police. And he's fun in Dennis Potter's Brimstone and Treacle as a raping devil/angel. Ambition is nice when it drives you to different extremes, though.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tommy

    See the original review here: http://justanotherbooknerd.tumblr.com... I was talking about this review for a couple of days as I was re-reading this book. Now, I’m going to be honest, it was already one of my favourite books but the thing I find interesting is the controversy a name like Sting brings up. “I don’t like him, the man is a complete tosser.” “Why do you say that? What about him makes you think he is a complete tosser? I’m not saying that you’re wrong, I just want to know how you came to See the original review here: http://justanotherbooknerd.tumblr.com... I was talking about this review for a couple of days as I was re-reading this book. Now, I’m going to be honest, it was already one of my favourite books but the thing I find interesting is the controversy a name like Sting brings up. “I don’t like him, the man is a complete tosser.” “Why do you say that? What about him makes you think he is a complete tosser? I’m not saying that you’re wrong, I just want to know how you came to that conclusion.” Now 9 times out of 10 the answer was “because he just is.” However, the odd person did mention the Police and Sting essentially being the reason why they broke up in the end. That resentment is at least a valid reason to dislike him. So I’m having a little experiment and I am getting those people who would agree to read this book, to find out why he did it, how he felt, because that is the thing this book is going to tell you, it’s going to let you know that whilst there is this public facade that a popular musician has to have, there is always going to be an inner turmoil. By no accounts is Sting painting his life to be a bed of roses, you have to remember this book effectively ends on the cusp of his success with The Police, his logic being that people already know a great deal about the part of his life. It was the before that he wanted to reflect on. This being more a memoir for him than an interesting read for us. Sting discusses his affair with his now wife Trudie Styler whilst he was still married to first wife Frances Tomelty, his signing on ‘the dole,’ trying to make a life as an amateur jazz musician and the crushing feelings he had when his parents died. Don’t get me wrong this isn’t a ‘hey look I’m loaded and successful but check out how normal I can be because I have a terrible life’ type affair, like I said before, this is pre success Sting and though he does occasionally touch upon his post Police years, mostly this book discusses the kind of era that Sting grew up in, when Newcastle was still predominantly about mining and building ships. The problem with this book is that unless you’re a musician like me and therefore have an interest in finding out about his time working as a Jazz musician and touring through London and eventually Europe with the Original Police line up of Sting; Copeland and Padovani, then chances are this book isn’t going to be the one for you. Don’t get me wrong, there is still plenty in here for the curious reader and Sting fans will be on cloud 9 all throughout, but if you’re not inclined toward being interested in a book like this then it is never going to be able to grab you and hold you. Of course it was never Sting’s intention to do just that. He wrote this memoir to sate a sense of nostalgia and as such has written a deep, thoughtful and articulate book detailing the beginnings of someone who eventually went on to be one of the most successful musicians of our time. So if you’re a fan or if you want to know more about the life of a musician trying to make it, then this is the book for you. If you’re none of those things … well, I guess you should read something else.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Yaaresse

    This is more memoir than autobiography. It's musings of a man who, having hit 50, starts looking back and trying to make peace with some things and understand what drove him to where he stands. It's long on pondering and navel-gazing, short on gossip. I'm sure that lack is a sore disappointment to the groupie types who want to know every speck of dirt on the Police breakup, his affairs and divorce or the whole Tantric Yoga thing. There's little of that in this book, which focuses on his childhoo This is more memoir than autobiography. It's musings of a man who, having hit 50, starts looking back and trying to make peace with some things and understand what drove him to where he stands. It's long on pondering and navel-gazing, short on gossip. I'm sure that lack is a sore disappointment to the groupie types who want to know every speck of dirt on the Police breakup, his affairs and divorce or the whole Tantric Yoga thing. There's little of that in this book, which focuses on his childhood, how his parents' damaged marriage affected him, and his relentless pursuit of music that flew in the face of all good sense most of the time. It's a sort of stream-of-consciousness monologue, and it has all the weaknesses that come with that. At the same time, the man is extremely intelligent, willing to admit when he's been a fool, and has a keen curiosity about almost everything, and that comes through in the writing. I really wish he hadn't felt the need to write the whole damn thing in present tense. It was fine for the opening chapters when the situation described was tense and mysterious, but he's clearly fallen in with the fad of the PT style. (Yes, this is a huge peeve of mine. And yes, I will mention it every single time I come across a book that insists on that asinine and stale practice.) Many have called Sting arrogant. He calls himself that more than a few times. Maybe he is. But I also think something Meryl Streep said about him during the Kennedy Center Awards is true, that he is always looking to the side wondering what's next, what doesn't he know, what is left to discover and learn. Maybe artists have to be a little arrogant to get up in front of the rest of the world and do what they do.

  11. 5 out of 5

    will

    Broken Music by Sting. I'm stood looking at the bookshelf, wondering what to read next. Maria pulls a book off the shelf, hands it to me and says: "You know how you think this bloke is a wanker? Well, read this and you'll know it for a reason!" Sting is a wanker! No ifs, buts, maybes about this - Sting is a wanker. Often I enjoy (auto)biographies but in this case I didn't. I hung on 'til the end because, well because I liked the Police and (truth be told) I do like some of Sting's solo work. But Broken Music by Sting. I'm stood looking at the bookshelf, wondering what to read next. Maria pulls a book off the shelf, hands it to me and says: "You know how you think this bloke is a wanker? Well, read this and you'll know it for a reason!" Sting is a wanker! No ifs, buts, maybes about this - Sting is a wanker. Often I enjoy (auto)biographies but in this case I didn't. I hung on 'til the end because, well because I liked the Police and (truth be told) I do like some of Sting's solo work. But the book covers his time in the Police (and none of his solo work) in the last ten pages of the book. Unfortunately (for Sting and Maria) I have a pathological hatred of jazz. So 200+ pages about a jazz musician was not my idea of fun. Oh, and it confirmed one of my original thoughts - Sting is a wanker.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shahine Ardeshir

    Remember the time when you went to the latest multi-billion-dollar film, on the first day of its release, only to have it turn out to be a big disappointment? And you couldn't quite put your finger on why? You know, the one that had all the ingredients - great cast, suave director, lavish sets - but somehow, still didn't have you coming back for more? Reading Broken Music was a similar experience for me. On the surface, this book combines two of my favourite genres: music and autobiog Remember the time when you went to the latest multi-billion-dollar film, on the first day of its release, only to have it turn out to be a big disappointment? And you couldn't quite put your finger on why? You know, the one that had all the ingredients - great cast, suave director, lavish sets - but somehow, still didn't have you coming back for more? Reading Broken Music was a similar experience for me. On the surface, this book combines two of my favourite genres: music and autobiographies. And Sting isn't a fly-by-night one-hit wonder, either - he has considerable musical talent and fame to make you want to read about him. Also, he's articulate (possibly the only thing I can praise in this read), and clearly knows how to string sentences together with eloquence and poise. And yet, the book didn't deliver for me. It was slow, overindulgent (no, you are not Charles Dickens, please don't spend three pages describing the landscape of your home town), and contained far less music in it that I had hoped for. For the most part, I felt like I was reading someone's rather prosaic, middle-aged journal. And I guess, for a personal memoir/journal type thing, to be read by one's grandchildren years after you were gone, it would work. As a commercial book in its own right, it doesn't. I wish I had better things to say about this, I really do. If you're a Sting or Police fan, I guess you'll pick the book up no matter what I say. If you're not, and would like an objective opinion, I would recommend you spend your time on something else. In a world where a thousand other books or more are competing for your attention, Broken Music really doesn't merit the effort.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Eliza

    Beautiful story told elegantly. For those who know nothing about the early years of this prolific poet/musician, it's a delightful read. Wish he would finish the story. He is a natural story teller. Gorgeous prose.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sreeram

    Excellent, heartwarming account of his own life by one of my favourite musicians. Bowled over by his humility.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bruce Kirby

    A very well-written book .... really. It's not your run of the mill bio, complete with the "high" points and lecherous behaviour of the rock star class. It's a deeper dive into his life that we all do at one time or another in our own lives about why we are here and where we fit.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Loni Hamer-Jackson

    Although this is Stings story I found it kind of boring.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Julie Barrett

    The last five memoirs I have read have been stridently non-traditional. Stream of consciousness, reenactment of mental illnesses, spiritual quests and visions of God - basically anything but a straightforward, chronological "I was born etc" story. So it was a relief to pick up this memoir and read a traditional narrative. The book only goes up to the release of The Police's first album. Hopefully in another twenty years or so Sting will feel removed enough from his past to write more extensively The last five memoirs I have read have been stridently non-traditional. Stream of consciousness, reenactment of mental illnesses, spiritual quests and visions of God - basically anything but a straightforward, chronological "I was born etc" story. So it was a relief to pick up this memoir and read a traditional narrative. The book only goes up to the release of The Police's first album. Hopefully in another twenty years or so Sting will feel removed enough from his past to write more extensively about The Police and his solo career. I bet it would make for an interesting read. However, I understand that it is much more difficult to write about a recent past rather than to focus on one's childhood. In other memoirs I have read written by middle-aged people, once they get within ten years or so of the current date, the book falls to pieces. Just not enough clarity & distance yet to tell a cohesive story. Even though the memoir does not focus on his fame & fortune, Sting still tells a compelling story. I am predisposed to like it because I am a big British history buff & his recollections of life in the UK after WWII are fascinating to me. Sting does a good job portraying how gray and repressed and hard-scrabble that time was. The issues of class in the UK come into play in this book. Sting wins a scholarship to go to the fancy public (our American private) school and that introduction to the middle & upper classes draws a wedge between him & his working class family & his childhood friends. Yet, of course, he finds he doesn't really fit into this new world either. Towards the end of the book, Sting recounts auditioning for the director of Quadrophenia. He hears the undercurrent of a working class accent in the director's voice & let's his own Geordie account come out a bit. The men both recognize their status as interloper's to the upper class life and bond without coming out and flatly commenting on their metamorphosis into new people. The way one's accent labels a person in Britain is not the same here in the USA. Sure, if you sound like The Situation or Honey Boo Boo Child, people judge you, but for the most part it is hard to tell a person's background from their accent. The majority of the book deals with Sting's progression as a musician. Joining bands, practicing, traveling to dingy clubs, struggling to find dingy clubs to play in, writing songs, developing one's musical tastes etc. I liked that he is not a one-note Charlie and plays & enjoys all types of music. Why pigeon-hole yourself? If music is good than it's good no matter what the label. All in all, I enjoyed this book. I don't get other reviews on Goodreads calling him arrogent. That perception cannot have come from reading this book. Maybe in other books he comes across like that? I found him to be introspective and rather brooding. He recounted his flaws and mistakes and quirks no problem. I felt he erred too much on the side of modesty. When he mentions at one point he was forced to model to earn some money to support his wife & baby it came out of left field. Huh?! He really downplays his looks. The part of the book that bugged me the most was NO PHOTOS. WTF, Sting. Come on. When you write your memoir, you include photos. I thought that was a given. Apparently not. I would have enjoyed seeing photos of his family & friends and bandmates. He even describes in detail several photos but does not include them! It was so confusing. That cover photo is not enough. Hmmph.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    A dazzling, lyrical beginning, with Sting showing himself to be a master of metaphor and pacing, extraordinarily well-read and articulate. Second half, however, was uninspired, as though he rushed to finish a publishing deadline. But worth the read, overall. Reinforces the theory of the single-minded dedication and focus seen behind so many success stories, the 10,000 hour premise of Malcolm Caldwell in The Outliers. It also gave me an idea of the back-breaking, soul-crushing work of musicians, A dazzling, lyrical beginning, with Sting showing himself to be a master of metaphor and pacing, extraordinarily well-read and articulate. Second half, however, was uninspired, as though he rushed to finish a publishing deadline. But worth the read, overall. Reinforces the theory of the single-minded dedication and focus seen behind so many success stories, the 10,000 hour premise of Malcolm Caldwell in The Outliers. It also gave me an idea of the back-breaking, soul-crushing work of musicians, lugging their equipment all over the country to earn a few quid, vulnerable to audiences and critics. It begins with a visit to Brazil to take part in a "religious" ceremony based on the consumption of ayahuasca, a medicinal drug apparently popular with beat poets, to help him deal with the recent deaths of his parents. It triggers and releases powerful, previously buried memories, and is thus a fitting start to a memoir aimed at figuring out how he came out on top, how he dealt with the pain and confusion of youth. Planning to dig out Soul Cages and his other work composed at this time, when he couldn't mourn and couldn't come to terms with his parents' deaths. Moving, just like the book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A fabulous friend--who knows I'm in love with Sting--lent me his autobiography. It was interesting to see how his song- and lyric-writing played into his narrative prose. You could almost hear parts of "The Soul Cages" in descriptions of his childhood, and the choppy ska beats of "Synchronicity" in his early years as a musician. His descriptions of the struggles and hardships of a musician's life on the road were disturbing (to say the least)--the all-night road-trips, the filthy bars, the apath A fabulous friend--who knows I'm in love with Sting--lent me his autobiography. It was interesting to see how his song- and lyric-writing played into his narrative prose. You could almost hear parts of "The Soul Cages" in descriptions of his childhood, and the choppy ska beats of "Synchronicity" in his early years as a musician. His descriptions of the struggles and hardships of a musician's life on the road were disturbing (to say the least)--the all-night road-trips, the filthy bars, the apathetic crowds and malicious crew members. After reading about his beginnings as a musician, it's a wonder that anyone makes it at all. Though it is obviously personal (but that's what an autobiography is, right?), I wish that Sting had spent some more time narrating the events surrounding the split with his first wife, and the blossoming relationship with his current wife, Trudie. I also would've loved to know more about the origins of some of his songs (my friend and I believe the song "Don't Stand So Close to Me" must be autobiographical--referring to his time as a teacher); I loved the story about "Roxanne." A good book overall.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Larry

    I have witnessed this artist in many guises since The Police, his foray into solo pop, jazz and most recently classical in the exploration of the great Elizabethan Lutanist John Dowland. That Sting has written a memoir of his childhood and youth pre-The Police was no great surprise, however while I have always been impressed by his lyrics, I was most impressed by his writing in this book. Its poetic and thorough in form and honest (shows some of his emotional warts) and heartfelt (regrets over h I have witnessed this artist in many guises since The Police, his foray into solo pop, jazz and most recently classical in the exploration of the great Elizabethan Lutanist John Dowland. That Sting has written a memoir of his childhood and youth pre-The Police was no great surprise, however while I have always been impressed by his lyrics, I was most impressed by his writing in this book. Its poetic and thorough in form and honest (shows some of his emotional warts) and heartfelt (regrets over his first love). Overall I very much enjoyed the book. Only quibble is the visions he experienced while in Brazil (chapter 1) were not fully explored or explained but that may be for the next book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mark Flanigan

    A very good memoir from Sting about his early life and path to The Police. Very insightful read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Winter Sophia Rose

    Heartfelt, Fascinating, Compelling & Grounded! An Excellent Read! I Loved It!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Brian O'Leary

    A way too wordy account of his life up until the time when the Police hit it big. Too many accounts of nothingness and too many weird tales that have nothing to do with anything.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Susie

    This was an interesting read. Sting has quite the early history which I knew nothing about and has an eloquent way with words.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Huck C

    Well written. Better than most autobios. Call me shallow but I need more gossip when he was with the Police.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Paul Rosemeyer

    I found Stings' memoir to be a little dry. Instead of humorous tales we are treated to the factual events, in his view, that made him the Sting we all, (all of us over thirty anyway), know. While this is exactly what one might expect from a memoir, I had hoped for a little more colorful, funny and strange revelations, as he is, after-all, Sting, and must be living a damn good life full of great tales of adventure. My unwritten memoir could be its' equal for that kind of stuff, and I'm a poor unk I found Stings' memoir to be a little dry. Instead of humorous tales we are treated to the factual events, in his view, that made him the Sting we all, (all of us over thirty anyway), know. While this is exactly what one might expect from a memoir, I had hoped for a little more colorful, funny and strange revelations, as he is, after-all, Sting, and must be living a damn good life full of great tales of adventure. My unwritten memoir could be its' equal for that kind of stuff, and I'm a poor unknown never-was. There are a few brief insights on life, (I think of these as Universal truths and they are the things that make life beautiful and full of wonder), and I felt he did explain these insights well enough for those who don't look for them, (I always look for these Universal truths), to understand his observation and maybe even be enlightened. But these moments in the book are rare. Not rare is people he's worked with musically and his music resume leading up to his solo career. Also not rare in his book are the major women in his life; his mother, girlfriends and wives.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Michael Weening

    I found, despite being a Sting fan (music) that I really had to push to finish. The last 3rd I sped read through. Perhaps it is his early unfaithfulness to his first wife, his efforts to use overly large words in the memoir or the initial trite “I went on this crazy journey in the Brazilian rainforest” opening that simply didn’t appeal to me. Or perhaps it is my making a huge effort to catch the Police at their make-lots-of-money cash in reunion tour where instead of actually properly performing I found, despite being a Sting fan (music) that I really had to push to finish. The last 3rd I sped read through. Perhaps it is his early unfaithfulness to his first wife, his efforts to use overly large words in the memoir or the initial trite “I went on this crazy journey in the Brazilian rainforest” opening that simply didn’t appeal to me. Or perhaps it is my making a huge effort to catch the Police at their make-lots-of-money cash in reunion tour where instead of actually properly performing for their fans, all I could see was Sting doing a psychedelic version of “Do do do” while you can just envision him saying “I am an artist and too good for this. I should be up here in free flowing gowns with people at my feet (Massey Hall is where I saw that)” ... which this book reinforced. He earned his place. He had a tough life. He is a talented musician and he definitely ground his way to success. But unlike after finishing Cleese’s book I found myself liking him less. Perhaps because the book oozes an air of self importance.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Scott Hamilton

    I thought I'd be reading a book about the Police. But considering the book ends shortly after the release of their first album, Outlandos d'Amour, I'm left wanting a follow-up, which apparently isn't coming, considering this one came out 14 years ago. Sting is a gifted writer and a masterful storyteller, but I'd have been far less inclined to even pick up the book if I knew it focused almost entirely on his attempts to make it in the music business, rather than his success once he had. It broke I thought I'd be reading a book about the Police. But considering the book ends shortly after the release of their first album, Outlandos d'Amour, I'm left wanting a follow-up, which apparently isn't coming, considering this one came out 14 years ago. Sting is a gifted writer and a masterful storyteller, but I'd have been far less inclined to even pick up the book if I knew it focused almost entirely on his attempts to make it in the music business, rather than his success once he had. It broke a lot of stereotypes—he grew up quite poor, he only taught briefly and as a last resort, and he spent years working as a self-taught jazz and prog rock musician. But knowing he had to fight so hard to break into the business only left me wanting to know what came next. In the end, the book was a great read, but I was left feeling like I'd eaten dessert, yet not what I'd ordered.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Hank Pharis

    I'm a huge music fan but I guess I've become somewhat of a curmudgeon concerning "pop" music. The only "new" groups I've liked since 1980 have been U2, Police/Sting and Coldplay. But I have really enjoyed these three. In any event I found Sting's accounts of his years growing up until the formation of the Police very interesting. The most amazing thing was how little success and in fact how much difficulty he had before the Police. It appeared that he was not going to "make it" when suddenl I'm a huge music fan but I guess I've become somewhat of a curmudgeon concerning "pop" music. The only "new" groups I've liked since 1980 have been U2, Police/Sting and Coldplay. But I have really enjoyed these three. In any event I found Sting's accounts of his years growing up until the formation of the Police very interesting. The most amazing thing was how little success and in fact how much difficulty he had before the Police. It appeared that he was not going to "make it" when suddenly he did. (N.B. - I'm stingy with stars. For me 2 stars means a good book. 3 = Very good; 4 = Outstanding; 5 = All time favorites.)

  30. 4 out of 5

    Elana Dougatz miller

    I typically love autobiographies, and especially those of musicians and this book was very well written for a "rock star". Sting is very intelligent and it's evident in the writing. Sometimes the book was a little slow but it was interesting to learn of his life, humble beginnings, and musical journey. His anecdote in the first chapter detailing his experience in the Amazon jungle at an indigenous ritual during the breakout period of his solo career blew my mind. And peaked my interest to learn I typically love autobiographies, and especially those of musicians and this book was very well written for a "rock star". Sting is very intelligent and it's evident in the writing. Sometimes the book was a little slow but it was interesting to learn of his life, humble beginnings, and musical journey. His anecdote in the first chapter detailing his experience in the Amazon jungle at an indigenous ritual during the breakout period of his solo career blew my mind. And peaked my interest to learn more about this ritual. (Based on his experience, this would NOT be for me. Nonetheless, fascinating).

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