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Last Updated: Friday, 13 June, 2003, 23:36 GMT 00:36 UK
Sting's years at the top of pop
Sting and wife Trudie Styler
Sting, seen here with wife Trudie Styler, is a massive star
Sting, the former Police singer and bassist who has carved out a career as a successful solo artist, has been made a CBE in the Queen's Birthday honours list.

Such acknowledgement for his work shows just how much the former Police singer has become part of the UK's cultural establishment.

He was born Gordon Matthew Sumner in Newcastle in 1951, the son of a milkman.

He soon became a fixture in Newcastle's jazz scene, playing shows around his day job as a teacher. His colourful outfits included a yellow and black hooped jersey that led to him being called Sting.

The singer's stab at pop stardom came later in life than most of his contemporaries.

He was 25 when he moved to London, on the insistence of his first wife Frances Tomelty, to forge a musical career.

The Police with Sting, left
Sting (left) led The Police to international stardom

Along with ex-Caravan guitarist Andy Summers and drummer Stewart Copeland, Sting formed The Police in 1977. They were just in time for the punk explosion of the mid-1970s, fusing it with reggae for their distinctive sound.

The Police, who were together for little more than eight years, became the biggest pop group in the world in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

They went on to have huge hits including Message in a Bottle, and Every Breath You Take, but after frictions within the band they split in 1986.

By that time Sting had also left Tomelty - with whom he had had two children - for Trudie Styler, and started a solo career with his debut album, the jazz-tinged Dream of the Blue Turtles from 1985.

Global fame

He also forged an acting career, including roles in Dune and Stormy Monday.

And outside his music, he became increasingly involved in causes such as Amnesty International and the Rainforest Foundation, which successfully saved an area of Amazonian rainforest for posterity.

The musician has now become one of the biggest touring artists in the world, and his albums are best-sellers.

Worth as much as an estimated 200m, he was defrauded of 7m by his accountant in the 1990s - and did not notice for years.

Sting, who has four children Styler, is expected to release his latest album in several months' time.




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