Sting's 10 greatest songs ever, ranked
9 December 2021, 17:49
Sting became one of the most popular singers of his generation thanks to his band The Police scoring huge hits in the late 1970s and 1980s.
But after the band called it quits, he secured himself a highly successful solo career, with many fantastic albums and songs under his belt.
We've ranked his 10 very best to make for a perfect Sting playlist:
Brand New Day
This was the title track from his 1999 album, and it gave him a top 20 hit in the UK.
On New Year's Eve 2018, Sting released a free track, 'Brand New Day 2018', a new version of the song, on Facebook. The song was first performed live in Times Square on the same day.
This song was originally released in 1988 on his Nothing Like the Sun album. The song is a tribute to Ben Linder, an American civil engineer who was killed by the Contras in 1987 while working on a hydroelectric project in Nicaragua.
It was the opening song in Sting's ...All This Time concert, recorded on the evening of the September 11 attacks in 2001.
When We Dance
This song was one of two new tracks included on Sting's Best of Sting collection in 1994.
Amazingly, it's his only solo song to reach the top 10 in the UK, peaking at number 9.
Always On Your Side (with Sheryl Crow)
Sting teamed up with Sheryl Crow on this ballad for her 2005 album Wildflower.
It gave them both a top 40 hit in the UK and US, and is one of the best underrated duets of the decade.
All for Love (with Bryan Adams and Rod Stewart)
Following Bryan Adams’ huge success with ‘Everything I Do (I Do it for You)’ from the Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves soundtrack in 1991, he was recruited for the 1993 Three Musketeers movie starring Kiefer Sutherland and Charlie Sheen.
Rod Stewart and Sting joined him on the track, which was inspired by the Musketeers’ motto: “All for one, and one for all”.
It's actually his biggest song away from The Police, reaching number two in 1994.
Sting said that the lyrics in this song were to do with "lost love and longing". Making the most of the mainstream interest in Latin and Arabic cultures at the time, the song was a big hit around the world, reaching number two Canada and 15 in the UK.
The song is a duet with Algerian raï singer Cheb Mami, giving it a world music feel.
If I Ever Lose My Faith in You
From his 1993 album Ten Summoner's Tales album, it became one of Sting's signature songs - reaching number one for several weeks in Canada and earning him a Grammy.
Sting has never said who the 'You' in the song's title is, as he said it was important not to point out so that the listeners could connect more with the song.
Shape of My Heart
Another song by Sting that wasn't a massive hit at the time, but has become a famous song due to its use in various TV shows and films, including the end credits of Leon.
Sting explained that he wanted to tell the story of a "card player, a gambler who gambles not to win but to try to figure out something; to figure out some kind of mystical logic in luck, or chance; some kind of scientific, almost religious law."
Fields of Gold
Despite only reaching number 16 in the UK and 23 in the US, this has since become one of Sting's most famous songs and has been covered by many artists.
Talking about writing the song, he later said: "In England, our house is surrounded by barley fields, and in the summer it's fascinating to watch the wind moving over the shimmering surface, like waves on an ocean of gold.
"There's something inherently sexy about the sight, something primal, as if the wind were making love to the barley. Lovers have made promises here, I'm sure, their bonds strengthened by the comforting cycle of the seasons."
Englishman in New York
The ‘Englishman’ in question in this song is the famous eccentric and gay icon Quentin Crisp. Sting wrote the song not long after Crisp moved from London to an apartment in the Bowery in Manhattan.
Crisp had remarked jokingly to the musician “that he looked forward to receiving his naturalization papers so that he could commit a crime and not be deported.”
Branford Marsalis played soprano saxophone on the track, while the drums were played by Manu Katché and the percussion by Mino Cinelu.