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Broken Music: A Memoir Hardcover – October 27, 2003

215 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Sting’s gift for prose and reverence for language, nearly the equal of his musical gifts, shine on every page. Even when Broken Music addresses the quixotic life of an aspiring rock & roller, it reads like literature from a more rarified time when adults didn’t condescend to the vulgarities of pop culture.” —Rolling Stone

“You can’t fault his scrupulous candor.…A natural storyteller.” —London Sunday Times

“Sting mixes tenderness, sadness and humor in his narration, indulging readers with the same style of descriptive, pensive words that characterize his songs….Even readers unfamiliar with Sting’s music will find the book compelling.” —Associated Press “A beautifully styled, elegantly crafted and intelligent portrayal of Sting’s own life…[it] ranks on the highest shelf of literary debuts.” —Toronto Globe and Mail

“A first-rate memoir…Engrossing…With writing that is both witty and refreshingly self-deprecating, this book has pleasures that extend well beyond interest in the man’s music alone.” —People

“An engaging, lucidly written reminiscence…intellectually vigorous…elegant and thoughtful.” —Entertainment Weekly

From the Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

Having been a songwriter most of my life, condensing my ideas and emotions into short rhyming couplets and setting them to music, I had never really considered writing a book. But upon arriving at the reflective age of fifty, I found myself drawn, for the first time, to write long passages that were as stimulating and intriguing to me as any songwriting I had ever done.

And so Broken Music began to take shape. It is a book about the early part of my life, from childhood through adolescence, right up to the eve of my success with the Police. It is a story very few people know.

I had no interest in writing a traditional autobiographical recitation of everything that?s ever happened to me. Instead I found myself drawn to exploring specific moments, certain people and relationships, and particular events which still resonate powerfully for me as I try to understand the child I was, and the man I became.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 337 pages
  • Publisher: The Dial Press; 1st edition (October 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385336780
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385336789
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (215 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #424,328 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

270 of 278 people found the following review helpful By D. Dunn on October 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover
When Sting announced that he was writing a memoir, like most people we thought that the book would focus on the life of Sting the rock star and of Sting the celebrity. After all, he has sold close to 100 million albums around the world, fronted the most successful band of the early '80s, subsequently pursued a solo career that has outstripped the success of his Police days in album sales, has been a long-time supporter of good causes raising some $18 million for the Rainforest Foundation, and is generally recognised as one of the most famous people on the planet. It was a no-brainer.
Except that Sting is a self confessed risk taker.
So perhaps we should not be too surprised that his memoir, 'Broken Music', is a product of that risk taking. Instead of opting for the easy route and focusing on the years of fame and success that would have guaranteed wide publicity and huge sales, Sting decided to tell us a much more interesting story. 'Broken Music' is the story of a boy growing to adulthood in an industrial city in northern England; of his relationship with his parents; of first love, lost love, his love of music and where these experiences eventually took him.
As with most individuals, certain events from his childhood are not happy memories for Sting. The separation from his friends as a result of passing the "11-plus" exam that sent him to grammar school and the regular canings at school for trivial offences for example are still resented to this day. Like many families at that time, open displays of affection were uncommon in the Sumner household, and Sting is very open and honest in describing both the relationship between his parents and his relationships with each of them.
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66 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Deborah A. Broeker on November 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Having never been much of a fan of Sting's various bands(except for a few tunes from "Police"), I wasn't quite sure why I picked up this book to read, except that I had read a few reviews which made it clear it was NOT about his superstar exploits, which hold no interest for me. But if you want to learn about Sting, the boy, the man, the singer, AND the is an absolutely incredible piece of work. He takes you so intimately into his life growing up in a small town in Northern England and gives you an incredible portrait of someone who clearly remembers where he came from, and how that affected who he became...AWESOME reading! I'm going out today to buy one of his CD's too!
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72 of 80 people found the following review helpful By C. Middleton on November 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover
It seems to be human nature to bring down those we perceive as successful people. In Australia we have a term for this habit - The Tall Poppy Syndrome. If the plant is seen to be towering over the rest of the crop, our first inclination is to cut its head off, bringing it down to an acceptable level along with the rest of us. The subject and author of this excellent biography is one of the most successful artists in the last twenty years. And its no surprise that the man has experienced some heavy criticism over this time, and the fiercest attempted decapitations have come from Sting's home ground, the British tabloids. Sting is an accomplished and award winning musician, lyricist, songwriter, poet, actor and a sincere environmental activist. He has more money than he knows what to do with, (somewhere in the vicinity of $ 200 million) and now at the crest of a new album, (Sacred Love) he publishes an autobiography, a memoir, about his childhood and musical journey to international stardom. Considering this man's incredible success, I went into the reading with a hint of trepidation, my tall poppy scythe firm in hand - would this memoir be a gloating exercise, another `success story' with the usual tired anecdotes and prosaic self-deprecating questions - "Why me? I'm just a regular guy like the rest of you." Let me just say that this biography was an enormous surprise and one exceptional read.
The narrative begins with Sting's controversial experience in South America, where he ingested an ancient medicine, used predominately by a Christian syncretic group, known as Ayahuasca. He describes this experience in atmospheric detail and the various visions he witnessed during the religious ceremony. Sting's prose is quite accomplished throughout the book.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Carlos on November 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Incredible as it seems, maybe this could be a first in rock: A memoir that is closer to Paul Auster or Roddy Doyle than to a book about a celebrity.
The prose is exquisite (some may say that too high brow), like the lirics of his songs; the emotion genuine and touching; the cadence, well, it reads like a family saga; respectful to all the persons involved, seldom seen in the pop world, showing integrity above all, not cheap gossip or yellow pages here.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By SJbooknut on March 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I do realize that this book is a memoir, and not a blow-by-blow autobiography, but still, it was a disappointment that he focused so little on his time with Stewart and Andy and none at all on the break-up of the band and his solo career. He completely glosses over that with an "I knew all along that I had bigger fish to fry" attitude, which isn't quite what most fans are looking for. Also, after his appearance on Oprah with Trudie, I had the impression that he was going to tell more about the onset of that relationship, but that didn't happen either--basically you're left with the impression that he dumped Frances somewhere along the way (why?) and ended up with Trudie. No doubt he left out the details of that out of respect for his former wife, but the fact that he leaves the woman who was with him when they were practically starving, supporting his career and encouraging his dreams, doesn't leave a person with the most favorable opinion of him as a man. And I was less than impressed with the opening chapter, in which a hallucinogenic drug helped him to flash back to his childhood. A needless contrivance, in my opinion.
All in all, though, the writing was very good, which was a pleasant surprise. I found particularly poignant his insight into his parents' relationship, which was gained from wisdom that came through his own adult experiences and relationships.
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