Sting’s second solo album, 1987’s …Nothing Like the Sun, is now available via A&M/UMe in a digital-only 35th-Anniversary expanded edition. The 26-track set features the original 12 songs on the album and 14 bonus tracks, including B-sides, remixes, alternate versions, and instrumentals.
“I look back on this album, and I realize that the record is about my mother, although I didn’t see it at the time,” says Sting in the liner notes of the new edition. “It’s about mothers and daughters, mistresses and wives, sisters…every song has one of these themes. It surprised me.” Sting’s mother died in late 1986, not long before he and his band started four months of intensive recording sessions at AIR Studios in Montserrat in early 1987.
The album followed the triple platinum success of Sting‘s first solo album, 1985’s The Dream of the Blue Turtles. Its title was a reference to Shakespeare’s Sonnet No.130 (“My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun”). The emotional circumstances determined a largely reflective tone, the exception being the uptempo first single “We’ll Be Together,” which featured Annie Lennox among its backing vocalists and became an instant hit.
Other songs on the album that became enduring signatures for the global star included “Englishman in New York,” Sting’s nod to English expat and raconteur Quentin Crisp, and “Fragile,” written about an American civil engineer who was killed in Nicaragua by the Contras. Lyrical inspiration also came from his participation in Amnesty International’s Conspiracy of Hope Tour in 1986. Notably, “They Dance Alone” addresses those tortured and murdered by the then-military dictatorship in Chile, through the eyes of their wives and daughters.
The album was produced by Sting, Hugh Padgham, Bryan Loren, and Neil Dorfsman, and featured a number of stellar guitarists including Police bandmate Andy Summers on “The Lazarus Heart,” Hiram Bullock on the version of Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing,” and Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton, and Fareed Haque on “They Dance Alone.”
Other collaborators on the set included keyboardists Gil Evans and Kenny Kirkland, saxophonist Branford Marsalis, and drummer Manu Katché. Sting oversaw all arrangements and sang all of the lead vocals, also playing bass and double bass, Spanish guitar on “History Will Teach Us Nothing,” and acoustic guitar on “Fragile.”
The album won the BRIT Award for Best British Album at the 1988 awards, had three Grammy nominations and has been certified double platinum by the RIAA, topping the album charts in the UK and Japan.
Buy or stream …Nothing Like The Sun.
The full tracklist is:
1. The Lazarus Heart
2. Be Still My Beating Heart
3. Englishman in New York
4. History Will Teach Us Nothing
5. They Dance Alone
7. We’ll Be Together
8. Straight To My Heart
9. Rock Steady
10. Sister Moon
11. Little Wing
12. The Secret Marriage
13. Conversation With A Dog [Bonus Track]
14. If You There [Bonus Track]
15. Up From The Skies [Bonus Track]
16. Someone To Watch Over Me [Bonus Track]
17. Ghost in The Strand [Bonus Track]
18. Englishman in New York / Ben Liebrand Mix [Bonus Track]
19. Englishman in New York / Ben Liebrand Mix (Edit) [Bonus Track]
20. Fragile / dj MONK’s Extended Vocal Remix Version [Bonus Track]
21. Fragile / dj MONK’s Radio Edit Version [Bonus Track]
22. Fragile / dj MONK’s Hard Rain Dub Version [Bonus Track]
23. Fragile / Bedroom Rockers Remix Version [Bonus Track]
24. We’ll Be Together / Extended Mix [Bonus Track]
25. We’ll Be Together / Alternate Version [Bonus Track]
26. We’ll Be Together / Instrumental [Bonus Track]