In a less culturally significant ripple of The Beatles’ success in the 1960s, The Police gained popularity in the late 1970s and early ‘80s with their accessible reggae-infused rock songs that struck a chord in the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. While few comparisons can be made between the music of The Beatles and that of The Police, frontman and bassist Sting once explained the gigantic debt he owed to the Fab Four for his own success as a musician. When Sting first heard The Beatles in his youth, he seemed to feel a deeper connection than most with the group.
During a 2021 interview with YouTube personality Rick Beato, Sting explained that he shared a very similar cultural background to The Beatles. “I’m glad you mentioned the Beatles because the reason I’m a musician is because of the Beatles,” Sting said.
Adding: “They were from Liverpool, I was from Newcastle; both port towns in the north of England – working class. They had the same education as me, I went to grammar school; they were scholarship boys. Smart working-class kids.”
Aside from his connection to The Beatles, Sting realised that the group had an enormous influence on so many others in the generations that followed them. “They conquered the world with their own songs, and therefore gave permission to a younger generation, a decade younger, to try the same thing [and think] ‘Oh we’ll try that, I know those four chords – I could do that, probably,’ Sting explained. “And we all tried. We owe a lot to the Beatles, they really were an amazing influence on all of our lives.”
During the interview, which included Sting’s longstanding guitarist Dominic Miller, the pair were asked to name the most important Beatles tracks for them. Sting picked out ‘Blackbird’ and ‘Penny Lane’ as his personal favourites, while Miller chose ‘A Day In The Life’.
While Sting chose two songs that Paul McCartney wrote, it appears McCartney has also shown his love for Sting’s work in the past. In an interview with Jarvis Cocker at the Liverpool Institute in 2018, McCartney was asked if there were any songs he wished that he’d written himself. He responded: “There’s always a couple that I hear that I think I’d have liked [to have written]. “I liked Sting’s ‘Fields Of Gold,’ and I thought: ‘Y’know what, I should have written that.’” He added, “How dare he? I told him: ‘You stole my song.’ I thought that was a nice one, y’know?”.
Sting took to Twitter after hearing these kind words from his hero: “Paul McCartney says he wishes he would have written Fields Of Gold. There are more than a few of Paul’s that I wish I would have written. To hear this from someone I owe my life to is very special. Thank you, Paul.”
Listen to Sting’s ‘Fields of Gold’ below.