Gordon Matthew Thomas SumnerCBE (born 2 October 1951), known as Sting, is an English singer, songwriter, and actor. He was the principal songwriter, lead singer, and bassist for the new wave rock band the Police from 1977 to 1985, and launched a solo career in 1986.
Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner was born on 2 October 1951, in Wallsend, Northumberland, England, the eldest of four children of Audrey (née Cowell), a hairdresser, and Ernest Matthew Sumner, a milkman and engineer. He grew up near Wallsend's shipyards, which made an impression on him. At eight or ten years old, he was inspired by the Queen Mother waving at him from a Rolls-Royce to divert from the shipyard prospect towards a more glamorous life. He helped his father deliver milk and by ten was "obsessed" with an old Spanish guitar left by an emigrating friend of his father.
Sting performed jazz in the evening, weekends and during breaks from college and teaching. He played with the Phoenix Jazzmen, Newcastle Big Band, and Last Exit. He gained his nickname after his habit of wearing a black and yellow sweater with hooped stripes with the Phoenix Jazzmen. Bandleader Gordon Solomon thought he looked like a bee (or according to Sting himself, "they thought I looked like a wasp"), which prompted the name "Sting". In the 1985 documentary Bring on the Night a journalist called him Gordon, to which he replied, "My children call me Sting, my mother calls me Sting, who is this Gordon character?" In 2011, he told Time that "I was never called Gordon. You could shout 'Gordon' in the street and I would just move out of your way."