I hung my head, I hung my head
Call me old school but Sting will always hold a place in my iPod playlist. Although his main fan-base may be middle aged mothers, I have to say I love a lot of his music, especially his solo work. It’s the mix of genres and the fact that not all his songs are about heartbreak and love (although those ones are great too). For instance, hits such as The Russians which addressed the Cold War (thanks to him I could remember the Oppenheimer and Gorbachev situation for GCSE) and They dance alone, protesting against Pinochet (Chilean dictator whose regime killed thousands of people between 1973 and 1990) give the listener a real taste of the political climate at the time it was written- almost like a small time-capsule.
Englishman in New York is one of his best, an epic mash up of jazz reggae rock and pop and not to mention a pretty decent video. The wonderful soprano sax is played by Branford Marsalis – his solos are my personal favourite parts of the clip.
Originally written for gay icon, author, illustrator, actor and artist’s model Quentin Crisp (fabulously eccentric in the clip too) who moved to America and had suffered the largely homophobic society of 1920s-1960s, I think the song’s message can nevertheless be applicable to all of us, especially in this day and age:
“It takes a man to suffer ignorance and smile.
Be yourself no matter what they say.”
So originality and the real self is key. Original.
I leave you with one of his more amusing quotes:
“There is no need to do any housework at all. After the first four years the dirt doesn’t get any worse.”
And with that, happy listening!