He’s one of those international superstars who goes by a single name, seemingly self-created with no family heritage a last name would suggest. Though Sting goes by the nickname coined by his bandmate in the Phoenix Jazzman, the musician who first gained fame in the band The Police doesn’t hide his roots. He was born Gordon Sumner in Newcastle, England in 1951 and his latest artistic project pays tribute to his childhood memories of the nearby shipbuilding community in Wallsend. His Broadway musical The Last Ship is set in Wallsend and includes not one, but two complex father-son relationships. Great Performances presents the intimate concert version of The Last Ship that Sting himself performed online here.
This coming Tuesday on Finding Your Roots on PBS, Sting is one of three famous personalities who will find out what they don’t know about their ancestry. Host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. will share genealogy research with Sting, Deepak Chopra and Sally Field — all of whom have roots in the British Empire.
Sting’s big surprise is learning about his third great-grandparents’ migration to France and Australia. Watch a preview of his segment, below, and tune in on Tuesday, November 11 at 8 pm for the full story.