Broken Music: A Memoir

Broken Music: A Memoir

by Sting

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Broken Music 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
ChadAaronSayban More than 1 year ago
3.0 stars – good Born to working class parents in the English port town of Wallsend, Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner was a smart, quiet boy with good grades who would become a teacher, get married and have a couple of children. This is the person we don’t know. The person we do know is a Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, activist, actor and philanthropist – who’s stage name is Sting. Broken Music is Sting’s autobiography of his life leading up to the moment of his first real commercial success with The Police in 1978. The book takes us through the loneliness of his youth, the contentious marriage of his parents and the failings of his relationships. Sting is very open about his upbringing as well as his shortcomings, including his propensity to be seen as arrogant. It is a charge he doesn’t try very hard to dispute. What does become apparent is how his upbringing and experiences shaped not just his life, but his music as well. Success was not the product of overwhelming talent, but rather single-minded, dogged determination. And while he was never the best pure musician, Sting’s strength was in storytelling and performance. This probably forms from his love of literature. “For to sit in a room full of books, and remember the stories they told you, and to know precisely where each one is located and what was happening in your life at time or where you were when you first read it is the languid and distilled pleasure of the connoisseur.” I found Sting’s story very interesting in and of itself. The writing is solid, if not great. There are also a lot of distractive asides and jumps back and forth in time that make it difficult to follow the narrative. However, the biggest letdown is the incomplete nature of the autobiography. While Sting wrote Broken Music in 2003, he essentially ends the narrative at the end of the 1970’s just as The Police were hitting it big. Knowing that there are so many fascinating parts of his life left unmentioned – his break with the Police, his role in the movie Dune, his solo career, the 9/11 concert in Tuscany, and many more – it is a letdown to not get to experience his personal take on these watershed moments in his life. So while I enjoyed what I did get to read in Broken Music, I was disappointed in what I didn’t get to read. It is a good, but incomplete look at a fascinating individual in popular culture. I just wish there could have been more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
At first I had hard time believing this was really written by Sting, given that most celebrities hire a ghost writers to write the stories of theirs lives. The writing is truly exceptional, and far better than the writing of some classical writers I have attempted to read (i.e. Capote). The language is often poetic and the images described are therefore vivid. It is one of the best written books I have ever read, and have read my fair share. Despite the outstanding writing, however, the book could use some editing. For example, I did not need to read an entire chapter about a cruise Sting was working on. The chapter did not draw any meaningful conclusion that pertained to his life other than perhaps the illustration of his dislike towards pompous social elite. I Highly recommend this tale of struggle toward stardom
Billychic More than 1 year ago
It is true that I have been a Police fan since 1980, and was a fan of Sting over the years after their break up. I had a crush on him as a pre-teen and teenager. When they recently went on tour a couple of years ago after their 25 + year break-up, I made sure I had my ticket (much to my landlord's chagrin since rent was late due to the amount MSG charged for tickets). However, I have also been, for the last 20 years, a critic of his as well; I blamed his arrogance and egomania on the band's dissolution and thought some of his general public statements were of a man too big for his britches, although I still loved his music (which at times I felt was phoned in). So this review is completely about the book, regardless of my love for the music. However, in reading this autobiography I was carried away to a childhood from across the ocean, with dreams of becoming as good as one can be at their art. Being an "artist" myself, I can identify; the moments he talks about listening to music with a methodical and obsessive way to not only escape life but to become a better person are rich in detail, distinct and beautiful in prose. I can relate; it was to his music with the Police and Hendrix and Zappa and Supertramp that I did the same. For those who say that it is overly fluffy with long words, let's not forget that the man was a schoolteacher, who taught English; perhaps being an English major myself I had no problem with understanding his lyrical and candid writing. If it is picture books you want, go get one of many pop culture biographies out there; if you find the language difficult for some reason, then simply extend your knowledge base and use a dictionary if you must. But I recommend this book to everyone out there who has ever dreamt of becoming something greater than what they are. I do agree and hope that he writes a second book; one that discusses in the same lovely way the second half of his life. But, for now, I will enjoy this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sting is a wonderful writer. I loved how the book made me feel we were in a conversation together. I only wish he went into more detail about his life after the Police. The ending was superb and I enjoyed the symbolism of the lake on his property.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Could this book be filled with any more extensive and unusual words? It felt like I was reading a dictionary without the definitions. At first this was a turn off for the book but then I realized that this was one of the best songwriters of all time. Also, it tended to drag on longer than it should have. Other than that, a fantastic book that is guaranteed to satisfy any hardcore Sting fan.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This by far has been one my most enjoyable readings of the summer. I would have to agree with some of the reviewers here that this book makes the reader enjoy the story of an English boy who would become Sting. To be honest, I don't think that I would want to have this memoir written in any other way, there has been already enough written about the Police and Sting from a mass-culture viewpoint. It was nice to read the story written with the same wit, emotional intelligence and romance as his songs that we have all come to love. The narration flows, and the use of British English did not bother me at all. The book is not written at a 4th grade reading level, so if you can't read even such an enjoyable piece, then obviously such literary masterpieces as 'War and Piece' and 'Crime and Punishment' will always remain a mystery for you. My suggestion: work on your reading skills and don't hesitate to use a dictionary if you run into trouble understanding your native English. Thank you Sting for telling us your life story.
Melanie_Hughes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed learning about the experiences that made Sting the performer and man he is today. A very interesting person and some moving moments in the book.
foomy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm a huge fan of his music but not of his arrogant, hypocritical writing. I think he has a strong ego and a wanna-be-writer. I admit he is an intellectual literate for a musician but he has received enough recognition as an artist that he doesn't have to prove more. He should take an example from his other fellow musician-friends for their humbleness: Clapton, Dylan, Cash etc...
Augusti on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I recently got into the music of The Police, so I was curious about the band, and also about Sting's acting (Dune, Quadrophenia, etc.) Even though Broken Music is about Sting's life leading up to the band's huge success, the book gave me the insight that I was looking for.Sting has a truly mesmerizing way with words that pulled me through the book faster than I expected. He grabbed my attention with the opening, but then things slowed down during his initial recollections of his very early years. In the end, this helped to explain the path that he took in life and sheds some light on his public persona. He also describes his early musical background as a jazz cat, which helps to explain the direction that he took after leaving The Police.I found surprising humor in Sting's perspective and in the way that he sort of pokes fun of the absurdities of life. His memoir is tragic at times, but rather revealing and honest.Now, if only The Police's founder and brilliant drummer Stewart Copeland would write a book! He does write a few things at stewartcopeland.net but it would be great to hear about his early years.
eduscapes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This great autobiography provides interesting insights into the life of one of my favorite musicial artists, Sting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ThePoughkeepsieKid More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful look into the making of a man with a focus on his relationship with his parents and how it colored his relationships throughout his life. Economical in length, erudite in form and poignant in tone this reads almost like a poem(without the meter or rhyme).   It is not a moment by moment autobiography filled with too much fluff and puff. Sting admits many damning personal details of his life, warts and all, in an effort, I think, to educate those who read to accept your life as it has been, forgive people for not being what you wanted them to be, and move on in life with wonder and joy; ie: find your bliss.
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AvidReaderCA More than 1 year ago
I had this book on my shelf for ages. I finally decided to read it and could not put it down. Then it was my husband's turn. We are not huge fans of Sting or his music but I will now pay closer attention. His story is worth reading and I have a new found respect for how he climbed to the top. I would recommend this book for anyone who loves a success story. Sting has our respect and we'll be urging our friends to read "Broken Music" too.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Just like his music, Sting seems to have mellowed with age. Mellowed to a dangerous state in which he may get near to being bland or boring. On these exquisite stories of his life, the reader (as well as the avid Police fan like me)welcomes the inroads we get into his secret self. They arouse interest and, at times, they touch you, like when you can feel his tears as he tells the story of his first girlfriend. However, I still feel that Sting has kept too much hidden, and has been too polite. It is commendable to be autocritical, and he probably feared a backlash such as the review given by Uncut, a fine magazine that clearly hates him as a whole, but, like with his best songs, we are ready to have our heart broken. To be stung, in fact. We need the release and the emotion that he has produced in the past. Since, like most writers, he will not revise this book and it will be all we get, I would like to express my wish that he lets go of all reserve when he deals with the next part of his life, that period in which he made with Andy and Stewart the album that changed my life: Reggatta de Blanc. Love, Ramón.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sting is not only a master songwriter, he is a brilliant author. I could not put this book down. I enjoy reading books that pique my interest and challenge my intellegence, and this book is no exception. I am always intrigued by anyone who accomplishes greatness; Sting is exceptional not only as a muscian, but as a great author. Get your dictionary ready.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you've loved his music, you'll enjoy seeing how Sting came to be. There's nothing here that amazes the reader, but rather leads you to understand his path to becoming a musician. Much of the story is generic, but it's always fascinating to observe an artist's determination and commitment needed over so many years, and the evolution of talent, that all leads to success.