Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Sting

In one sense, Sting is already a part of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Police [1], and there are plenty of people who are quite happy that it should remain that way without Sting’s solo career being recognized as well. Nevertheless, given the length and success (both critical and commercial) of Sting’s solo career, as well as the way in which Sting’s presence and approval has seemed to matter a great deal for those acts which have lacked critical approval and are attempting to use Sting’s borrowed feathers as a way of improving their own credibility. The fact that bands like Foreigner [2] and Dire Straits [3] included in their most notable greatest hits albums the way in which they appreciated the help they got from Sting, whether that was encouragement for Foreigner on their love ballad “I Want To Know What Love Is,” which apparently was so passionate that it caused Sting to interrupt his solo sessions that later became “Dream Of The Blue Turtles” or whether it was backing vocals and a bit of lyrical help on “Money For Nothing,” both songs of which, as it happened, became #1 hits. Before we even talk about Sting’s career, which includes a lot of intriguing elements as far as musical influence is concerned, the fact that other artists who are themselves worthy of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame but lack a certain amount of credibility with music critics use Sting as a way to bolster that credibility speaks very highly of his own reputation in those circles.

Sting’s Contribution

Aside from Sting’s massive critical approval, which has resulted in eleven solo Grammy wins (to go along with the additional 5 he had with the Police) [4], Sting’s career has combined popular appeal as well as influence in bringing several neglected musical genres into popular awareness. For example, his career has included notable work in such genres as jazz, pop, country, film music, classical music, world music, folk music, and even pre-classical madrigals [5]. Despite this extremely diverse genre work, he has managed to have a distinctive sound that has garnered him five multi-platinum albums, an additional four platinum, and an additional three gold albums beyond that [6]. As far as singles are concerned, Sting’s solo career has given him one number one hit in the United States as well as four top tens and eight additional top 40’s beyond that. If you add his collaborations, he has made a career reputation for himself as an artist who works well with others, including in his humanitarian interests with Amnesty International and others. Sting’s societal contribution in cultural matters is such that Canadian rock band Barenaked Ladies made a reference to his interest in tantic sex in their hit “One Week.” Even if people consider his solo career to be too “middle of the road” for their tastes, Sting’s massive cultural influence is such that he deserves a solo induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame both in terms of his influence on others as well as his own excellence in his body of work.

Why Sting Is A No-Brainer For The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

Why is Sting such an obvious choice for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a solo singer? For one, he was considered worthy of being the subject of a documentary about the drama involved with one of his film music projects, “The Emperor’s New Groove.” He has a gold album of madrigals from Elizabethan England (which may be the only album of madrigals that has ever been released to have gold status, certainly the only one I am aware of). His solo repertoire alone contains songs of lasting worth and cultural relevance across many genres, and has included such songs as “If I Ever Lose My Faith In You,” “Why Should I Cry For You?” “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free,” “Brand New Day,” Desert Rose,” “I’m So Happy I Can’t Stop Crying,” (which was turned into a successful country cover by no less a star than Toby Keith), “Fields Of Gold,” “Always On Your Side,” “All For Love,” “All This Time,” “It’s Probably Me,” “Russians,” “Englishman In New York,” “Fragile,” “Be Still My Beating Heart,” “Fortress Around Your Heart,” “They Dance Alone,” and “We’ll Be Together,” the last of which managed to win an MTV award for best cinematography for Sting. This is a body of work that the vast majority of artists would be massively envious of, and that is leaps and bounds over most of the artists and bands which are inducted for entry into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame even aside from the way in which Sting serves as a cultural talisman of what is considered to be worthy of critical appeal, rather like the Illuminati symbolism of his video for “Brand New Day [7].” If this doesn’t say no-brainer for an artist from the 80’s and beyond, I don’t know what is good enough for the gatekeepers of whom Sting is himself one.

Why Isn’t Sting In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame?

Given that Sting has already been nominated, and has only been eligible for a few years, it is likely that Sting has not been inducted yet because a) he is already a member of the Police and so not a very urgent induction, b) he has a lot of critical appeal but there are a lot of people who are very critical of him, so he’s a bit polarizing in certain circles, c) he is a relatively safe future induction so there is no need for him to be too upset about having to wait a few years like George Harrison, another artist with a fairly similar profile of popular success, previous band induction, and world music interest, as well as Peter Gabriel, another artist with a similar profile. Given the fact that both George Harrison and Peter Gabriel have been inducted after a wait of several years, Sting’s induction seems similarly likely.

Verdict: Sting combines cultural relevance, collaborative spirit, popular success, and genre-crossing to such an extent that it appears that his eventual induction as a solo artist is extremely likely. Really, given the critical appeal he has with those who make such decisions as self-appointed gatekeepers of critical legitimacy in Rock & Roll, the only question appears to be when he will be inducted, not if. If only all artists in his position could be so lucky.

[1] http://rockhall.com/inductees/the-police/

[2] http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000NDEXNE/ref=asc_df_B000NDEXNE3036999?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&tag=pg-1584-86-20&linkCode=asn&creative=395097&creativeASIN=B000NDEXNE

[3] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2012/11/16/why-arent-they-in-the-rock-roll-hall-of-fame-dire-straits/

[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_awards_and_nominations_received_by_Sting

[5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sting_%28musician%29

[6] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sting_discography

[7] http://youtu.be/cA46ZNjrzeY

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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