Englishman in New York

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"Englishman in New York"
Single by Sting
from the album ...Nothing Like the Sun
B-side "Ghost in the Strand"
Released February 1988
Length 4:25
Label A&M
Songwriter(s) Sting
Sting singles chronology
"Be Still My Beating Heart"
"Englishman in New York"
"Be Still My Beating Heart"
"Englishman in New York"
...Nothing Like the Sun track listing
"Be Still My Beating Heart"
"Englishman in New York"
"History Will Teach Us Nothing"

"Englishman in New York" is a song by English artist Sting, from his second studio album ...Nothing Like the Sun, released in October 1987. Branford Marsalis played soprano saxophone on the track, while the drums were played by Manu Katché and the percussion by Mino Cinelu.

The single was released in February 1988 as the third single from the album, but only reached #51 on the UK Singles Chart.[1] In the US, "Englishman in New York" peaked at #84 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in April 1988[2] and reached #32 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart that same month.[3] However, the single was more successful in continental Europe, becoming a hit in several countries,[4] reaching the Top 40 (and sometimes the Top 20) in France, Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, etc. "Englishman in New York" was also a Top 20 hit in Ireland. In South Africa, it peaked at no. 9.

In 1990, just prior to the release of his third studio album The Soul Cages, Sting's record label licensed Dutch DJ and producer Ben Liebrand to remix "Englishman in New York" and subsequently released it as a single. The remix played around with the introduction and some of the instrumentation, but the essence of the song remained the same. The new version was commercially successful, reaching number 15 in the UK charts in mid-1990.[5]


The "Englishman" in question is the famous eccentric and gay icon Quentin Crisp.[6][7][8] Sting wrote the song not long after Crisp moved from London to an apartment in the Bowery in Manhattan. Crisp had remarked jokingly to the musician "that he looked forward to receiving his naturalization papers so that he could commit a crime and not be deported."[9].

Music video[edit]

The video was shot in black-and-white and was directed by David Fincher, and featured scenes of Sting and his band in New York, as well as the elusive Crisp. At the end of the video, after the song fades, an elderly male voice says: "If I have an ambition other than a desire to be a chronic invalid, it would be to meet everybody in the world before I die... and I'm not doing badly."

Track listing[edit]

  • 12" Single (AMY 431)
  1. "Englishman in New York" — 4:25
  2. "Ghost in the Strand" — 2:33
  3. "Bring on the Night"/"When the World is Running Down (Live)" — 11:42
  • 7" Single (AM 1200)
  1. "Englishman in New York" — 4:25
  2. "If You There" — 4:08
  • CD Maxi Single (75021 2370 2)
  1. "Englishman in New York" — 4:03
  2. "Someone to Watch Over Me" — 4:35
  3. "Up From the Skies" — 10:07


  • In 1993, the finnish band Vilperin Perikunta made a cover of the song with the title "Turkulainen Helsingis".
  • In 1993, the song was partially remade by Shinehead, re-titled as "Jamaican In New York" (1993). It reached #30 in the UK Singles Chart in April 1993.
  • In 2007 Razorlight covered the song on BBC Radio 1's 40th anniversary compilation Radio 1 Established 1967.
  • In 2014, Shirley Bassey released a cover on the album Hello Like Before.
  • In 2015, Cris Cab covered it in a release featuring Tefa & Moox, Willy William. This version charted on SNEP, the official French Singles Chart reaching number 16.[10] The song also charted on Ultratip in the Belgian Wallonia Singles Chart.[11]
  • In 2015, Japanese singer Majiko released a cover as a bonus track on her single Mirror[12]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1988) Peak
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[13] 16
France (SNEP)[14] 30
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[15] 60
Ireland (IRMA) 12
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[16] 9
Spain (AFYVE)[17] 21
United Kingdom (The Official Charts Company) 51
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 84
U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 32
Chart (1990 remix) Peak
United Kingdom (The Official Charts Company) 15


External links[edit]