A couple of years back you knew that a reunion of The Police was on the horizon when Sting started playing the lute. Another puzzling moment was when he turned up in Paris with a bloke with a giant disc in his lip. They were there to raise awareness of the destruction of the Amazon rainforests, but sadly because everybody was distracted by that lip the message got a bit lost.
This wasn’t the first time that Sting has tried to raise awareness for an issue. He’s got a bit of history starting in 1981 with Amnesty International’s Secret Policeman’s Other Ball.
At the end of the show Sting and others performed a song:
In this grouping there was Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Phil Collins, Donovan and oh look… Bob Geldof and Midge Ure. It was probably the first time that individual musicians had banded together like this to aid a cause.
It wasn’t just by himself, with The Police they released the single Invisible Sun which sang about people living in war torn and impoverished countries. And hey look, just like Paul McCartney track mentioned previously, the BBC also banned this song.
This wasn’t the first time Sting had addressed a serious issue though. But that single became more famous than the 1980 album track called Driven to Tears.
After that there was the Band Aid contribution, which led to Live Aid, then in 1986 he took part in the Amnesty concerts A Conspiracy of Hope and again in 1988 with Human Rights Now!
Then in 19…
alright just stop it already ! We get the idea - he like to turn up for a cause. He still does the concerts and all that, but it’s Bono’s mug we always bloody see nowadays.
Luckily though Sting does see the funny side of all this and spoofs himself in The Simpsons episode when he took part in the benefit song: We’re sending our love down the well. And even helped to dig a tunnel to get Bart out:
[Pan to hole, where Marge and Homer are watching Sting, topless, digging out of a hole in the wall. There is a wheelbarrow next to him. He gasps(…) for breath.]
Marge: “Sting, you look tired, maybe you should take a rest.”
[Sting stops digging and leans on his shovel.]
Sting: “Not when one of my fans needs me.”
[Stings continues to dig.]
Marge: “Actually, I don’t know if we’ve ever heard Bart play one of your albums.”
Homer: “Sssh…Marge! He’s a good digger!”
I want to go back though and give a mention for the bloke who looks like he has a frisbee caught in his mouth. The gentleman in question is Raoni of the Kayapo people of Brazil. He made a personal request to Sting, his wife and another to help them protect their land and culture. Never one to turn down a good cause (code>We’ve been over this !, he co-founded the Rainforest Foundation.
Were there any benefit concerts you are asking. Why yes there is – it’s a biannual event in fact.
But were there any albums or singles ? Actually not. He was beaten to the punch by another similar project, also set up around the same time and also by some musicians.
And this is where it starts to become uncomfortable viewing…
I’m not disrespecting their good cause or good intentions, but with the single, featuring many well known artists, and the video. It looks like a We Are The World parody:
But it didn’t end there… It looked like Chris Rea & Mr. Mister & XTC & Dave Gilmour & Brian Wilson & Joni Mitchell & Ringo Starr & Fish & Belinda Carlisle & Deborah Harry & Bonnie Raitt & Kate Bush & Little Steven & Jon Anderson & Sam Brown & Olivia Newton-John in the above video there felt sorry for some lesser known singers and there was another single:
This one included Ian Anderson & Joe Cocker & Carol Decker & Harold Faltermeyer & Herbie Hancock & Tommy Johnson & Chaka Khan & Stevie Lange & Sandra & Michael McDonald & Richard Page & Maggie Reilly & Jennifer Rush & Chris Thompson and…. Sting ! Look what you’ve done !
[Oh and there was an album too, featuring guess who.]
Still, I suppose it’s better to sing about the trees than trying to be one.