...Nothing Like the Sun

...Nothing Like the Sun
...Nothing Like the Sun (Sting album - cover art).jpg
Studio album by
Released13 October 1987 (1987-10-13)
RecordedMarch–August 1987
StudioAir Studios, Montserrat
Sting chronology
Bring on the Night
...Nothing Like the Sun
Nada como el sol
Singles from ...Nothing Like the Sun
  1. "We'll Be Together"
    Released: October 1987 (US) [1]
  2. "Be Still My Beating Heart"
    Released: December 1987 (US)
  3. "Englishman in New York"
    Released: February 1988 (UK)
  4. "Fragile"
    Released: April 1988 (UK)
  5. "They Dance Alone"
    Released: August 1988 (UK)

...Nothing Like the Sun is the second solo studio album by English singer-songwriter Sting. The album was originally released on 13 October 1987 on A&M (worldwide). The album explores the genres of pop rock, soft rock, jazz, reggae, world, acoustic rock, dance-rock, and funk rock. The songs were recorded during March–August in 1987 in sessions that took place at Air Studios, in Montserrat, assisted by record producers Hugh Padgham, Bryan Loren, and Neil Dorfsman. It features a number of high-profile guest guitarists, including former Police member Andy Summers, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, and Hiram Bullock, and is generally regarded as the culmination of the smoother, more adult-oriented sound of Sting's early work.

On release, the album was received favorably by the majority of music critics and in 1989, the album was ranked #90 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Best Albums of the Eighties".[2] "We'll Be Together", "Be Still My Beating Heart", "Englishman in New York", "Fragile", and "They Dance Alone" were all released as singles.

It won Best British Album at the 1988 Brit Awards.[3] In 1989 the album received three Grammy nominations including Album of the Year while the album's second single ("Be Still My Beating Heart") was nominated for Song of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.[4]

Album title[]

The title comes from Shakespeare's Sonnet No. 130 ("My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun"), which Sting used in the song "Sister Moon". He added that his inspiration for this was a close encounter with a drunk, in which Sting quoted the sonnet in response to the drunk's importunate query, "How beautiful is the moon?"[5]

Production and recording[]

The album was influenced by two events in Sting's life: first, the death in late 1986 of his mother, which contributed to the sombre tone of several songs; and second, his participation in the Conspiracy of Hope Tour on behalf of Amnesty International, which brought Sting to parts of Latin America that had been ravaged by civil wars, and introduced him to victims of government oppression. "They Dance Alone (Cueca Solo)" was inspired by his witnessing of public demonstrations of grief by the wives and daughters of men missing in Chile, tortured and murdered by the military dictatorship of the time, who danced the Cueca (the traditional dance of Chile) by themselves, with photos of their loved ones pinned to their clothes. "Be Still My Beating Heart" and "The Lazarus Heart" approach the subjects of life, love and death. Elsewhere on the album, "Englishman in New York", in honour of Quentin Crisp, continues the jazz-influenced music more commonly found on Sting's previous album, as does "Sister Moon". "The Lazarus Heart" was originally written by Sting as the musical finale of the 1988 film, Who Framed Roger Rabbit in an early draft in which the novel, Who Censored Roger Rabbit?'s tragic ending where Roger is killed in the crossfire in the final duel was still in the script. When Disney ordered its default ending (where Roger is still alive in the final duel) to be used, the song got deleted and ended up on Sting's album instead.


The album's first single and biggest hit, "We'll Be Together" sported a prominent dance beat and funk overtones; it reached No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in late 1987 and even crossed over to the R&B charts. The album was one of the most expensive ever recorded at the time, resulting in a list price that was higher than most to cover the costs of exhausting recording costs.

The album also inspired a Spanish/Portuguese counterpart, the 1988 mini-album Nada Como el Sol. It featured four of the songs from the album sung in either Spanish or Portuguese, and in the case of "Fragile", both languages. The Brazilian CD ion of ...Nothing Like the Sun also contained "Fragile" in Portuguese ("Frágil") as the tenth track (between "Rock Steady" and "Sister Moon").[6]

Three years after its release on both the album and in single form, "Englishman in New York" was remixed in mid-1990 by Dutch producer Ben Liebrand. Providing a stronger dance beat, as well as an extended introduction, the song was a hit in clubs and reached number 15 in the UK singles chart. The maxi-single also included a dance remix of "If You Love Somebody (Set Them Free)" as a B-side.

...Nothing Like the Sun was one of the first fully digital audio recordings (DDD) to achieve multi-platinum status.[citation needed]

Critical reception[]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[7]
Chicago Tribune2.5/4 stars[8]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[9]
Los Angeles Times4/4 stars[10]
Orlando Sentinel4/5 stars[11]
Rolling Stone4.5/5 stars[12]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4/5 stars[13]
The Village VoiceB[14]

...Nothing Like the Sun was praised by many critics. In a review for Rolling Stone, Anthony DeCurtis wrote: "...Nothing Like the Sun represents [an] impressive growth for Sting. His voice is rich, grainy and more mature; his ideas are gaining in complexity; and musically he is stretching without straining. His mistress's eyes may be nothing like the sun, but on this fine new album Sting's intrepid talent shines on brightly."[12] In 1989, the album was ranked number 90 on Rolling Stone's list of the "100 Best Albums of the Eighties".[2]

AllMusic or Stephen Thomas Erlewine cited the track "We'll Be Together" as a highlight, while praising the album as a whole, writing: "If Dream of the Blue Turtles was an unabashedly pretentious affair, it looks positively lighthearted in comparison to Sting's sophomore effort, Nothing Like the Sun, one of the most doggedly serious pop albums ever recorded." Erlewine added, "If Nothing Like the Sun runs a little too long, with only his Gil Evans-assisted cover of 'Little Wing' standing out in the final quarter, it still maintains its tone until the end" and noted that "it's one of his better albums."[7]

There were harsher assessments elsewhere, with some critics like Robert Christgau of The Village Voice[14] and Ira Robbins of Trouser Press[15] also disparaging it as "pretentious." Robbins in particular was highly critical, calling it "self-important...a tedious, bankrupt and vacuous cavern of a record." Chicago Tribune critic Greg Kot felt that Sting's "nuanced singing and literate lyrics" were "weighed down by ponderous music."[8]

Commercial performance[]

In the United States, the album debuted at number 54 on the US Billboard 200 chart on the week of 31 October 1987 and eventually peaked at number nine in its third week of release. The album spent a total of 52 weeks on the chart. On 24 October 1991, the album was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for sales of over two million copies in the United States.

In the UK, the album debuted and peaked at number one on the UK Albums Chart. In the second week the album dropped to number three. It spent a total of 42 weeks on the chart. The album was certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for sales of over 300,000 copies in the United Kingdom.

Track listing[]

All tracks are written by Sting, except where noted.

Side one
1."The Lazarus Heart"4:34
2."Be Still My Beating Heart"5:32
3."Englishman in New York"4:25
Side two
4."History Will Teach Us Nothing"4:58
5."They Dance Alone (Cueca Solo)"7:16
Side three
7."We'll Be Together"4:52
8."Straight to My Heart"3:55
9."Rock Steady"4:27
Side four
10."Sister Moon" 3:46
11."Little Wing"Jimi Hendrix5:04
12."The Secret Marriage"Hanns Eisler, Sting2:03
Total length:54:45


  1. "Ghost in the Strand" ("Englishman in New York" 7"/ Maxi Single)
  2. "Ellas Danzan Solas" ("They Dance Alone" Maxi Single)
  3. "If You There" ("They Dance Alone" 7")
  4. "Conversation with a Dog" ("We'll Be Together" 7"/ Maxi Single)
  5. "Someone to Watch over Me" ("Englishman in New York" 3-inch CD single)
  6. "Up from the Skies" (Jimi Hendrix cover with Gil Evans and His Orchestra, "Englishman in New York" 3-inch CD single)






Certifications and sales[]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia 100,000[43]
Belgium (BEA)[44] Platinum 50,000*
Brazil 125,000[45]
Canada (Music Canada)[46] Platinum 100,000^
France (SNEP)[48] 2× Platinum 689,200[47]
Germany (BVMI)[49] Platinum 500,000^
Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)[50] Gold 10,000*
Italy 460,000[51]
Japan (Oricon Charts) 221,000[52]
Netherlands (NVPI)[53] 2× Platinum 200,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[54] Gold 7,500^
Portugal (AFP)[55] Gold 20,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[56] Platinum 100,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[57] 2× Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[58] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[59] 2× Platinum 2,000,000^
Yugoslavia 50,000[60]

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


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