Sting reveals the origin of his stage name – even though it started as a joke

20 April 2022, 13:54 | Updated: 20 April 2022, 14:09

By Mayer Nissim

Sting fans will know that "Sting" is (obviously) not the singer-songwriter's real name.

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He may have been born "Gordon Sumner", but everyone everywhere knows him as Sting.

"[My wife] Trudy calls me Sting," he told Time in 2011. "I was never called Gordon. You could shout Gordon in the street and I would just move out of your way. My children call me Dad."

It's well known that the former frontman of the Police earned his name from a previous bandmate mocking his clothes, and he's now said that he's pretty grateful for the joke sticking.

"He made me sing a song which was awful," Sting told the Daily Star (via Bang Showbiz) about the trombone player who gave him the nickname.

"So, in protest I began to wear a black and yellow top. He started to call me Sting as a joke. I'm grateful for it now as when you have to sign something, it's short!"

Sting has previously spoken about his name change, though it seems the idea of his striped sweaters being a form of protest rather than a youthful fashion choice is a new wrinkle to the story.

"I used to play in a traditional jazz group when I was 16 with much older guys," Sting told CBS Sunday Morning in 2016.

"I used to wear these yellow and black sweaters. And they thought I looked like a wasp. They joked, they called me Sting and they thought it was hilarious – they kept calling me Sting and that became my name."

Last November, Sting released his 15th solo studio album The Bridge, trailed by lead single 'If It's Love'.

"I’m certainly not the first songwriter to equate falling in or out of love with an incurable sickness, nor will I be the last," he said ahead of its release.

"'If It's Love' is my addition to that canon where the tropes of metaphorical symptoms, diagnosis, and downright incapacity are all familiar enough to make each of us smile ruefully."