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Sting rode the new wave expansion to superstardom. Once he topped the charts worldwide, he returned to the progressive fusion roots he left behind so he could play a nervy blend of reggae, punk, and pop with the Police. He went solo after the trio's 1983 album Synchronicity and its accompanying hit "Every Breath You Take" turned the group into a household name.
The Dream of the Blue Turtles, his 1985 solo debut, expanded upon that success and its 1987 sequel Nothing Like the Sun consolidated it. The two albums laid the groundwork for an adventurous career encompassing jazz and classical music, worldbeat, and stage musicals. Awards were plentiful even when the hit singles were few — his last big hit was "Desert Rose," a 2000 single featuring Algerian singer Cheb Mami — because Sting regularly collaborated with musicians from around the globe. His duets with Rod Stewart, Bryan Adams, Eric Clapton, Toby Keith, Aswad, Craig David, Mylene Farmer, and Mary J. Blige signaled his omnivorous taste — many featured on the aptly titled 2021 compilation Duets — but also his wide reach. Sting didn't abandon the mainstream — he devoted his 2016 album 57th & 9th to snappy, well-crafted pop tunes. He cut a full record with the reggae singer Shaggy in 2018, then returned to pop on 2021's The Bridge — but it was one facet in a career that was difficult to pigeonhole.