Broken Music
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Broken Music

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  2,069 ratings  ·  229 reviews
Having been a songwriter most of my life, condensing my ideas and emotions into short rhyming couplets and setting them to music, I had never really considered writing a book. But upon arriving at the reflective age of fifty, I found myself drawn, for the first time, to write long passages that were as stimulating and intriguing to me as any songwriting I had ever done.

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Published October 14th 2009 by Dial Press Trade Paperback (first published 2003)
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Nov 29, 2010 Mariel rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Invisible sun
Recommended to Mariel by: Don't stand so close to me
This is Sting's life before he put on a sweater and stung the world with the ghost hit making machine that was The Police. Before he was a twat who hated on Stewart Copeland's short shorts he trudged through fifty feet of snow to get to school- Wait, that was my grandma's depression memories/guilt trips (Me: "It didn't snow in Louisiana!" *whop!*). Sting has the push to the top of dung heap of life mentality still. Still, I'm still team Stewart (the short shorts). I
I don't find ambition endearin...more
Jenny Brown
I was too busy raising my babies to pay much attention to Sting, so I came to this book without any preconceptions as to who he was. I came away impressed with his thoughtfulness and ability to reflect on who he was and why.

I'm baffled by the hostility of some reviewers here, as I didn't feel he came across as arrogant nor as if he were trying to impress anyone with his intelligence. It was a pleasure to read something so well written from the pen of a celebrity. Most celebrity "bios" are writte...more
Broken Music by Sting. I'm stood looking at the bookshelf, wondering what to read next. Maria pulls a book off the shelf, hands it to me and says: "You know how you think this bloke is a wanker? Well, read this and you'll know it for a reason!" Sting is a wanker! No ifs, buts, maybes about this - Sting is a wanker. Often I enjoy (auto)biographies but in this case I didn't. I hung on 'til the end because, well because I liked the Police and (truth be told) I do like some of Sting's solo work. But...more
Another 'before I was famous' memoir, and this one is very well-written. Sting uses his development as a musician as the thread that holds all of his vignettes together, desribing what was going on in his life that brought him to his first guitar, for example, or the community of friends he finds during his time as a touring jazz musician. The book ends just before The Police become famous. A great read for those interested in what it's like to be a working, not-famous musician on the road, and...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Oct 26, 2013 Jenny (Reading Envy) rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jenny (Reading Envy) by: Scott D.
This autobiography, which actually appears to be written by Sting himself, tells the story from his childhood up to when The Police had just started to see success. There were some surprising details and amazing connections, and it is nice to see how long and hard the struggle can be, even for someone who grew into a well-crafted songwriter and superstar.

My favorite bits came from his actual journal, and I would like to read more of that, from the immediate days of reflection rather than lookin...more
I don't hate or love Sting, like so many others seem to. I think he is a very talented musician and his ambition cannot be denied. I have always vaguely considered him to be arrogant and a little pompous, but what rock star isn't? However, I have to admit I really enjoyed this book. I like the way it isn't perfect grammatically, how he switches back and forth with tenses, how it isn't exactly chronological and that he doesn't spend much time talking about the famousness of the band once it reach...more
David Kudlinski
I was never fond of Sting. He seemed arrogant and too artsy-fartsy for my tastes. So, being fair-minded, I decided to read his memoir, Broken Music, published in 2003. Sting, the perfectionist that he is, produced a well-written book, which I found to be dense and a chore to read. The book is not entertaining, maybe by design. Sting is very ambitious, and his plans are very calculating. Sting was born with good looks and innate musical talent of rare caliber. Although he acts like Mr. Perfect, S...more
Shahine Ardeshir
Remember the time when you went to the latest multi-billion-dollar film, on the first day of its release, only to have it turn out to be a big disappointment? And you couldn't quite put your finger on why? You know, the one that had all the ingredients - great cast, suave director, lavish sets - but somehow, still didn't have you coming back for more? Reading Broken Music was a similar experience for me.

On the surface, this book combines two of my favourite genres: music and autobiographies. And...more
Heather Doherty
First, I have to confess the crush I have had on the man since the early 80's (when I actually was a schoolgirl). This feeling, however, has only grown as the years have passed. I mean really, how often do you get references to Homer and Nabakov in popular music? Plus he practices yoga and is sexier now than when he was younger. In the light of this confession, I may not be completely objective about this book. I loved it though! I do typically like rock and roll memoirs, but this one is of the...more
Thomas Higgins
What I really like about this book is that it isn't just about The Police. I think it would have been really boring if the book concentrated on the Sting's time as the frontman of one of the biggest bands in the world. Instead, this memoir shows Sting's rise from a very modest beginning all the way up to before he became huge. This allows for the reader to get a better understanding of events that shaped him into becoming the man that he is today.
I think that Sting does a great job of describing...more
A dazzling, lyrical beginning, with Sting showing himself to be a master of metaphor and pacing, extraordinarily well-read and articulate. Second half, however, was uninspired, as though he rushed to finish a publishing deadline. But worth the read, overall. Reinforces the theory of the single-minded dedication and focus seen behind so many success stories, the 10,000 hour premise of Malcolm Caldwell in The Outliers. It also gave me an idea of the back-breaking, soul-crushing work of musicians,...more
Sep 09, 2011 Kristen rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kristen by: Ann
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I have witnessed this artist in many guises since The Police, his foray into solo pop, jazz and most recently classical in the exploration of the great Elizabethan Lutanist John Dowland. That Sting has written a memoir of his childhood and youth pre-The Police was no great surprise, however while I have always been impressed by his lyrics, I was most impressed by his writing in this book. Its poetic and thorough in form and honest (shows some of his emotional warts) and heartfelt (regrets over h...more
Huck C
Well written. Better than most autobios.

Call me shallow but I need more gossip when he was with the Police.
Chad Sayban
Born to working class parents in the English port town of Wallsend, Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner was a smart, quiet boy with good grades who would become a teacher, get married and have a couple of children. This is the person we don’t know. The person we do know is a Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, activist, actor and philanthropist – who’s stage name is Sting.

Broken Music is Sting’s autobiography of his life leading up to the moment of his first real commercial...more
Улисс на волнах музыки моря житейского
Автор рецензии: Karpos Elena
Дата публикации: 1 ноября 2005 г.

Жизнь звезды - это всегда смесь таинственности, скандального вымысла и благостной, консервативной правдивости. И даже сама звезда, сжившись с навязано-изобретенным образом, порой не в состоянии отделить ложь от правды. Но не в случае Стинга. "Я не тот человек, у которого много лиц; маска, которую я ношу - единственная", - признается он в одной из своих знаменитых песен-баллад. Это маска, котору...more
See the original review here:

I was talking about this review for a couple of days as I was re-reading this book. Now, I’m going to be honest, it was already one of my favourite books but the thing I find interesting is the controversy a name like Sting brings up.

“I don’t like him, the man is a complete tosser.”

“Why do you say that? What about him makes you think he is a complete tosser? I’m not saying that you’re wrong, I just want to know how you came to...more
Julie Barrett
The last five memoirs I have read have been stridently non-traditional. Stream of consciousness, reenactment of mental illnesses, spiritual quests and visions of God - basically anything but a straightforward, chronological "I was born etc" story. So it was a relief to pick up this memoir and read a traditional narrative. The book only goes up to the release of The Police's first album. Hopefully in another twenty years or so Sting will feel removed enough from his past to write more extensively...more
I try entering each read with the same level of expectation, and frame of mind one has when meeting a stranger for the first time…Open mindedly and expecting nothing…

In “Sting broken music” we are introduced to a familiar stranger…

This story unfolds, with expertly chosen lines that begin weaving the identities of Gordon Sumner, a tall young man filled with dreams and a true gift for words; who grew up an industrial area of the UK; with the internationally acclaimed front man “Sting” bassist, and...more
Nov 06, 2008 Tom rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Police and Sting fans/doubters
Recommended to Tom by: MEM
Shelves: favorites
Being a long-time fan of the Police and Sting's solo stuff, my initial enthusiasm for this memoir was obviously biased.

However, as any fan of Sting's songwriting will observe, his best songs have a magnificent poetry to them that move the listener deeply--and provide an addictive rhythmic cadence that only a true master can provide. Much of Sting's prose enchanted me this same way. After reading his book, I am more convinced than ever that he is a self-made genius, a man who from the power of h...more
I first thought maybe I'd try to write a review without commenting on Sting's music, but frankly, it would be stupid to even try. You're unlikely to read this memoir if you don't know who Sting is, and unless you've lived in a movie theatre and think he's only a bit player in a few flicks, you're likely to read this book (or not) based on his music.

What I found most interesting, though, is that this book is a lot like his music ... occasionally brilliant, mostly just okay, and sometimes downrigh...more
I was walking through an east austin neighborhood one night, and in the dark saw a blanket with a bunch of detritus of an abandoned yard sale with a handwritten sign FREE on it.

Score one for the thrifty chick! Along with a DVD collection of vintage Flash Gordon episodes, I found this paperback with Sting as a young child with a hand-tinted yellow stripe on his schoolboy sweater.

As most young women coming of age in the 80s, I had crush on the lead singer for the Police, but was less fond of his m...more
i picked this book up at a book swap, because i've been an unabashed Sting fan since i was in junior high. that's who this book is for -- Sting/Police fans; i think that if you're not a fan, this book won't make a lot of sense and will just ramble along as a tale of one hardworking musician's bloody-minded determination to be just vaguely successful.
what i loved, always, about Sting, was his amazing musicianship, both as a lyricist and as a musician unafraid to meld and mix and experiment with s...more
Sep 09, 2007 Elizabeth rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Sting fans
Now you all know what a cheese I am and how much I like Sting, that I sat through this whole book. It covers Sting's memoirs from his childhood through young adulthood and writing and recording "Roxanne" with the Police, which put him on the cusp of stardom. I enjoyed the snippets of real poetry in his prose, which reminded me of his song lyrics, especially in his descriptions of his childhood and his parents' relationship. However, sadly, Sting's a better songwriter than author. A lot of the bo...more
I've been doggedly trying to get through the books in my unread bookcase. This was one of them. Since I rarely read memoirs by musicians, this one never had gotten read. I'd purchased it on the recommendation of the paperback book club I belonged to, but then never could bring myself to read it. Then, thelibrarything said it was highly unlikely I would like it. So I started out with low expectations of the book. But I was pleasantly surprised. Sting is actually a very good writer (and why should...more
Brian Lane
I liked learning more about Sting. I was able to give some of his pretentiousness and unlikeable public behavior a pass because of what he went through before he became "big and successful". I enjoyed learning about the struggle and the climb - and getting some insight into the person, not the persona. A really good work if you want to round out your knowledge of the inner workings or building blocks of the band the Police (and potentially musicians in general) on their rise to stardom. Even pro...more
Becky Tucker
There were more than a few moments in this book where I felt that Sting was a bit pretentious and arrogant. There were other times when I was actually bored by the book and still other times when I felt that his writing was too flowery, like he was an amateur writer trying to articulate his feelings in the most over the top way possible. However, all that being said, I think this is an overall well written book with absolutely brilliant moments. Sting is a surprisingly good writer and the book i...more
Apr 03, 2008 Valerie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: music lovers
Recommended to Valerie by: RS
Sting is my favorite musician of all time. I love his lyrics, voice, and stage presence. Having this book actually written by Sting himself, in his own words, was like sitting there right with him and listening to him tell a story about his life. I loved hearing about his childhood, growing up in England and his priveledged education he recieved. His use of language is beautifully breathtaking, just like his songs. I loved the way this book ends, with this etheral story of a missing girl. I enjo...more
Gosh Gordy, you really had a rough life as a kid but who didn't in England after the war? Who would have imagined you grew up dragging milk cans to doors at dawn while smelling the salt air?

Actually a well written book with an unassuming tone of gratitude for fame and glory in the rock world. Sting comes across here as a regular bloke with a bent for family life. It was very interesting to read about his early years as a journeyman musician in the sea side dance halls and how hard he worked ho...more
fans of Sting already know what's in this book - for the most part. If you have paid attention to the lyrics in his music over the years (sans the horrible 'Secret Love' CD), this will eb a pleasant read and a nice companion to Andy Summers' "One Train Later" book. Now WHEN is Stewart goign to write HIS tell all 'Police' book? His parents (father actually)were involved in the CIA and they moved all over the world.

Anyway, most of this book is devoted to his family history, upbringing, and adoles...more
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Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, CBE, universally known by his stage name Sting, is a Grammy Award-winning English musician from Wallsend in Newcastle upon Tyne. Prior to starting his solo career, he was the principal songwriter, lead singer and bass player of the rock band The Police. As a solo musician and member of The Police, Sting has sold over 105 million records, and received over sixteen Gram...more
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“For to sit in a room full of books, and remember the stories they told you, and to know precisely where each one is located and what was happening in your life at time or where you were when you first read it is the languid and distilled pleasure of the connoisseur.” 11 likes
“The alley is a pitch for about twenty women leaning in doorways, chain-smoking. In their shiny open raincoats, short skirts, cheap boots, and high-heeled shoes they watch the street with hooded eyes, like spies in a B movie. Some are young and pretty, and some are older, and some of them are very old, with facial expressions ranging from sullen to wry. Most of the commerce is centred on the slightly older women, as if the majority of the clients prefer experience and worldliness. The younger, prettier girls seem to do the least business, apparent innocence being only a minority preference, much as it is for the aging crones in the alley who seem as if they’ve been standing there for a thousand years.

In the dingy foyer of the hotel is an old poster from La Comédie Française, sadly peeling from the all behind the desk. Cyrano de Bergerac, it proclaims, a play by Edmond Rostand. I will stand for a few moments to take in its fading gaiety. It is a laughing portrait of a man with an enormous nose and a plumed hat. He is a tragic clown whose misfortune is his honour. He is a man entrusted with a secret; an eloquent and dazzling wit who, having successfully wooed a beautiful woman on behalf of a friend cannot reveal himself as the true author when his friend dies. He is a man who loves but is not loved, and the woman he loves but cannot reach is called Roxanne.

That night I will go to my room and write a song about a girl. I will call her Roxanne. I will conjure her unpaid from the street below the hotel and cloak her in the romance and the sadness of Rostand’s play, and her creation will change my life.”
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