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Sting Reaches for the Sun

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After all these years, aren't you tired of the name Sting? It started out as a nickname, but it's a public identity now. If you want to, say, write a string concerto, calling it Sting's First Concerto in A-Flat hardly lends it a ring of authority.
It's no sillier than Beethoven or Mozart. What's in a name? It's my name now. Gordon Sumner is a name that I don't ever use. I will sign a check with it, and my passport says that. But it's not a name I use with anyone who knows me. My children call me Sting, and they have no questions about it. It's also very useful. It's very graphic. It creates a kind of mystique, although that wasn't the original intention. It was a nickname, given to me. But it created a curiosity which is (smiles mischievously) well founded.

You've never regretted it, or considered changing it?
Once you've established a certain identity, like Johnny Rotten, which was wonderful, to back off from it is a problem. Elvis Costello tried it and realized it wasn't right. It's too self-conscious. If I ever back off from it. I'll have a real good reason. But right now I don't feel like it. Again, it's a spanner in the works. Can this man really be taken seriously with such a ridiculous name?

This story is from the February 11th, 1988 issue of Rolling Stone.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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