Monday, July 4, 2011

Sting - "Englishman in New York"

Englishman in New York - Nothing Like the Sun

(Debuted April 16, 1988, Peaked # 84, 4 Weeks on the Chart)

Today is July 4th, which is a day we in the United States celebrate the day a group of English subjects decided they no longer wanted to be associated with the Crown. In that vein, here's a song that plays on the essence, most New York natives on the morning of July 4, 1776 were Englishmen.

First of all, the fact that this song didn't get any higher than #84 or spend more than four week on the Hot 100 is a mystery to me. Sting was a big enough star, and the song was definitely given some airplay in its day. At the time, I was listening to a couple of radio stations regularly; one was a Top 40 station, while the other leaned more towards the adult contemporary side. Seeing the chart performance, I can only guess that "An Englishman in New York" was played on the second station.
Sting wrote the song for his friend, an eccentric named Quentin Crisp who had emigrated to New York in 1981. Crisp had famously quipped that he looked forward to receiving his naturalization papers, so he could perform a crime without fear of being deported.

The song was included on Sting's ...Nothing Like the Sun LP, one of the first fully digital albums (noted as "DDD" on the CD sleeve) to go multi-platinum. Reflecting Sting's interest in jazz that often shows up in his solo work, Branford Marsalis is featured on the saxophone throughout the song.

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