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Broken Music: Memoirs [Hardcover]

Sting , Virginia Norey
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 Nov 2003
"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. And so 'Broken Music' began to take shape. It is a book about the early part of my life, from childhood through adolescence, right up to the eve of my success with the Police. It is a story very few people know. I had no interest in writing a traditional autobiographical recitation of everything that's ever happened to me. Instead I was drawn to exploring specific moments, certain people and relationships, and particular events which still resonate powerfully for me as I try to understand the child I was, and the man I became." STING

Product details

  • Hardcover: 337 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd; First Edition edition (3 Nov 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743231848
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743231848
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 16 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 501,156 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

"I had no interest in writing a traditional autobiography", claims musician, actor and environmental campaigner Sting in Broken Music. It is, as he says, a book that explores "specific moments" of his life, mainly his upbringing in Tyneside (unavoidably part Hovis ad and part Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads) and the years he spent paying his musical dues in numerous bingo-hall jazz combos and Last Exit--a group he fronted prior to the Police and which Sounds magazine "Picked to Click in 76". So, nothing on tantric sex, those embezzled millions or, for that matter, a great deal on the Police. This is a slight pity as you're left yearning for a smidgen less about the chicken-in-a-basket gig circuit and a bit more about the quibbles over royalties that he hints led to the multi-platinum trio's "ultimate demise", or the battle with Virgin publishing to regain copyrights, or an aside on "Message in a Bottle" storming the charts. Something for the second volume, perhaps.

Still, this being Sting, the book does open with the singer and his second wife Trudie Styler hunkered down in the Brazilian jungle imbibing mind-bending Ayahuasca in an Indian ritual. The drug awakened memories of his childhood and forced him to think about his recently deceased parents, thus kicking off the whole autobiographical endeavour. (Proust had to make do with a soggy Madeleine.) His relationship with his milkman dad Ernie and mum Audrey and their unhappy marriage provide the real backbone to the tale of how Gordon Sumner evolved into Sting, and he writes thoughtfully and honestly about the strengths and failings of his parents and himself. One for the fans, perhaps, but it does offer a chance to discover sides of the songwriter usually obscured by the glare of celebrity. --Travis Elborough

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brutally honest 26 Nov 2003
Sting has been my favourite artiste for many years now, but nothing could have prepared me for his biography. It is beautifully written, on par with his lyrics. More importantly, it is brutally honest, both in his own frailties and his turbulent relationship with his parents. It does not deal with the giddy heights of his Police and solo careers, but with his memories of growing up and his struggle to make it as a musician. After reading the book, his songs took on even greater meaning to me. An excellent book for all, particularly those who 'dislike' him. He is human just like the rest of us.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a beautifully written book 13 Nov 2003
Long awaited and full of expectation, this book is Sting taking you through his early memories, explaining and revealing much of himself along the way. It is everything you hope it to be in many ways: touching, often very insightful, beautifully written, and (as with the cameo for Miles Davis' album) full of entertaining and funny tales!
It's been Sting's misfortune that his honesty has often counted against him, but Broken Music shows just how much we should treasure that quality. I recommend this book for any and all who wish to understand the man behind the name, and why he is who he is.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story shared 25 Jan 2004
I asked my brother to buy me this book for Christmas after seeing Sting on Parkinson last year, even then when pressed by Parky you could see the emotion of the memories in his eyes. Reading the book brings those alive, I could read them and see them at the same time. Broken Music is so vividly and beautifully written; no less than you would expect from someone with the phenonmenal song-writing talent like Sting. A thoroughly enjoyable read, I couldn't put it down, and in fact I read it again straightaway, to take it all in. Parts of it are sad, some funny, all moving. I'm glad he chose to share it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Answers a lot of questions 28 Sep 2004
If you were a Police\Sting fan from '78 onwards, this book is the antithesis for "Epilogue (Nothing 'Bout Me)". There's more than enough eloquently written passages here (well what do you expect from an ex-English teacher) to reveal an uneasy childhood evolved around his parents fragile relationship, and the preceding events to the brink of The Police's success, that were to shape the songwriter\storyteller we know as Sting. A frankly honest, self-critical autobiography, tinged with sadness and so many references to "what might have been" if other paths had been chosen. Reiteration of the difficulty the generation of his parents had in openly showing affection is a regular reference, and a source of seemingly unfinished business. This must have been an exercise in excorcism for Gordon Matthew Sumner, so far, not possible to be fully chanelled through the vehicle of song - though you will understand "Soul Cages" a lot better after reading. The first book in ages that made me laugh (Bingo machine story in particular as I've done the same gigs) and cry (last chapter will cut to the quick for anyone who has lost a parent), the first book I've read for ages that I couldn't put down. Thank you for sharing these memoirs, Sting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written 1 Jan 2004
As Sting himself admits, not a typical autobiography in the classical sense - he writes about the most important fragments of his life sometimes movingly and always honestly. He's prepared to confront his own foibles and share them with us, something rare amongst the over-inflated egos of the celebrity world. The book is elegantly and beautifully written and I've enjoyed every minute of it. The reason he didn't include any photos is obvious, but I still found it a shame - wouldn't it have been possible to include something other than the usual family groups in this unusual autobiography?
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4.0 out of 5 stars Like about Sting 25 Dec 2003
I never cared much for The Police, but Sting has always interested me. This is a good book and certainly fell into the “couldn’t put it down” category for me. It is packed with detail but does finish somewhat abruptly – did Sting simply loose interest in the entire project? Or are we deliberately being teased for the sequel: Mended Music? Although the book answered more questions than I could have possibly imagined having about Sting, it didn’t explain how such a “down to earth lad from the North” turned into an “arty farty southern Jessie!” The book is well written, though in some places possibly a bit too well written. Is Sting trying to prove to us that he isn’t your typical “rock star thickie”? He really and truly was once a teacher, you know. After a while, the book reads like a reference guide for metaphors and similes -- the phrase “like a” itself becomes like a well trodden and worn path…
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I wish I had the determination and stamina. 31 May 2011
By Chris
If nothing else, this autobiography, like many I have read, make me realise, that I will never be sucsessful like those who have a driven want and stamina to make it to the top.
I play a few musical instruments and sing, and like so many, have considered going into that business called show.
Got close once, and was offered Bernie Turpin by a company as the producer.
It never came off (a long story) so still am just playing for pleasure only.
The things that stay in my mind are the parts where he and his fellow musicians travel many miles to just do one gig and then return home again all in one night, falling asleep at the wheel at one point!
A good read and just cements the feelings I have on trying to make it to the top in that in doing so, you all but have to sell your soul to get there.
I wish I had the determination and stamina!
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