And then there are those lead singers whose charisma is so powerful that it simply dwarfs the band that contains it, making the move to a solo career seem inevitable. Or worse, it makes the band's output feel retroactively like a solo project with a band name and a couple other (in this case, indignant) players to back the front man up.

Such is the case with one Gordon Sumner, who fronted the Police under the nom de guerre Sting, which has served him ever since as a one word signifier of blinding beauty, soaring voice, courtly love, jazz affectations and, as years advance, the odd lute-based project. It's hard to say what one thing about Sting diagnoses L.S.D., but really, just look at him: Everything does! From the arrogance of his good looks, the clear ambition of his song writing, his love of the rainforests, and of course the transformation of "Every Breath You Take" from a creepy stalker song into a ubiquitous wedding march.

But one thing's clear: He still knows his audience. At some point in a Sting show, no matter how dire the situation in the world may be -- if I ever lose my faith in Sting, he will almost certainly remove his shirt onstage. And the crowd will love it.

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