Sting debuted his new song "50,000" – inspired by the recent deaths of the rocker's legendary peers like David Bowie, Prince, Lemmy and Glenn Frey – on Friday's episode of Later… With Jools Holland. The track features on Sting's upcoming LP 57th and 9th, his first "rock" album since 2003's Sacred Love.
On the track, Sting reflects on what it's like to be an aging rock star and watch as many of your contemporaries disappear with lyrics like "Another of our comrades were taken down" and "You sing his songs in some sad tribute."
"50,000 voices rising every time he sings," Sting croons on the chorus. "Rock stars don't ever die / They only fade away."
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Sting talked about "50,000" and how the recent spate of rocker deaths have the bassist wrestling with his own mortality.
"Mortality does sort of rear its head, particularly at my age – I'm 64," Sting said. "It's really a comment on how shocked we all are when one of our cultural icons dies: Prince, David [Bowie], Glenn Frey, Lemmy. They are our gods, in a way. So when they die, we have to question our own immortality. Even I, as a rock star, have to question my own. And the sort of bittersweet realization that hubris doesn't mean anything in the end."
57th and 9th is out November 11th. The album also features the previous single "I Can't Stop Thinking About You."