The Madonna Hit That Was Inspired by a Sting Concert

Madonna and Sting were both huge in the 1980s and 1990s, but they were worlds apart musically — or were they? One of Madonna’s many hits was inspired by a Sting concert. In addition, Madonna and Sting’s families are connected in a major way.

Madonna on a couch
Madonna | Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music/Getty Images

A nostalgic Madonna hit

Madonna influenced more musicians than just about any other female singer from her era. In 2000, she made a move that felt right — she released a musical tribute to music itself. The song in question — “Music” — is both forward-thinking and pleasantly nostalgic. One one level, it uses futuristic vocoder effects.  On another level, it has a bouncy baseline reminiscent of Madonna’s early singles.

The retro sensibilities of “Music” make sense given that it was inspired by the popular 1980s band the Police — indirectly. Madonna went to a Sting concert and was moved as Sting began to play his band’s old songs. 

“Music”

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The Sting concert that inspired ‘Music’

“I went to see [Sting] in New York at the Beacon Theater,” Madonna told Rolling Stone. “… I’m obsessed with checking out the audience and seeing how they react. And people were pretty well-behaved and enthusiastically polite for stuff that he was doing off of his new album.

“But then, when he did the old Police songs — and it was just him and a guitar, and the lights came down — somehow the energy in the room changed,” the Queen of Pop continued. “It ignited the room, and it brought everybody closer to the stage. And suddenly, people lost their inhibition and their politeness, and everyone was singing the songs and practically holding hands — you know what I mean? I mean, it really moved me.”

“Every Breath You Take”

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After that concert, Madonna wrote the hook of the song: “Music makes people come together, and music makes the bourgeoisie and the rebel.” Madonna considered the Sting concert to be her most unexpected source of inspiration for a song. Subsequently, the combination of the Queen of Pop and Sting worked commercially, as Billboard reports the song reached the summit of the Billboard Hot 100.

The connections between Madonna and Sting

Interestingly, “Music” is not the only connective tissue between Madonna and Sting. The book Life with My Sister Madonna reports Sting introduced Madonna to film director Guy Ritchie during a party at his home. Madonna and Ritchie would later become a major power couple. Ritchie would also direct one of the Queen of Pop’s many star vehicles: Swept Away.

Sting and Trudie Styler
Sting and Trudie Styler | Stefan Rousseau – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

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According to the book Madonna: An Intimate Biography, Sting’s wife, Trudie Styler, became the godmother of Madonna’s son Rocco. Styler performed the hymn “Lorica” at Rocco’s baptism. In addition, Sting sang the hymn “Ave Maria’ at the same ceremony. Rocco was certainly very lucky if he had a world-class rock star perform at his baptism. Music certainly brings people together — whether it’s at a rock concert or a world-class baptism.