Last Exit (British band)

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Last Exit were an English jazz fusion[1] band formed in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, in 1974.[2] It is best remembered as the group Sting was in before finding stardom with The Police.[3]


Keyboardist Gerry Richardson and bassist Sting originally were members of the Newcastle Big Band. Frustrated by the band's lack of ambition and conservative repertoire, and influenced by more modern jazz ensembles like Weather Report and Return to Forever, they decided to form their own group. The band's name came from Hubert Selby Jr.'s novel Last Exit to Brooklyn. The original line-up was drummer Ronnie Pearson (also of the Phoenix Jazzmen), guitarist John Hedley[3] (later replaced by Terry Ellis), Richardson and Sting.

The band was a leading act around Newcastle for several years. They released a single in 1975, "Whispering Voices/Evensong" (two Richardson compositions) on the Wudwink label, and later a tape called First from Last Exit featuring nine original songs.[4]

In 1976, Carol Wilson, Head of Richard Branson's music publishing company, saw Last Exit play in the Gosforth Hotel in Newcastle and signed them. Virgin financed the recording of a demo in the Pathway Studios in London. Wilson organised a number of gigs, including Dingwalls, and a double page feature in Sounds and played the demo to every major record label. Most A&R men liked it but could not see an obvious category to market the band, so no record deal materialised.

In 1977, Last Exit moved to London but after a few gigs, half of the band returned to Newcastle, and Sting and Richardson started looking for other jobs. Richardson worked with Billy Ocean's band as musical director, while Sting joined Stewart Copeland and Henri Padovani and formed The Police.

Several Last Exit songs were later reworked by Sting, to feature in The Police's and Sting's solo albums:

The songs "Don't Give Up Your Daytime Job" and "Don't You Look at Me" were considered for The Police album Ghost in the Machine, but were not used. They are, however, available as demos on several bootlegs.

In 1996, Sting invited Gerry Richardson to play organ on his album Mercury Falling.

In 2003, Richardson formed a band called The Big Idea, with Garry Linsley on sax and Paul Smith on drums. Sting sang as guest vocalist a rendition of Graham Bond's "Springtime in the City" on the band's second album, This ... Is What We Do (2010).

Band members[edit]

  • Terry Ellis – guitar
  • John Hedley – guitar
  • Ronnie Pearson – drums
  • Gerry Richardson – keyboards
  • Sting – bass, vocals
  • David Blackwell - bass


  • First from Last Exit (1975) (cassette album)
  • "Whispering Voices/Evensong" (1975) (single)


  • Sting, Broken Music, Simon & Schuster, 2003, ISBN 0-7434-5081-7.


  1. ^ "Stewart Copeland". Archived from the original on 8 April 2015. Retrieved 14 April 2015.
  2. ^ "Gerry Richardson's Big Idea - Album Launch at Sage Gateshead". Archived from the original on 14 April 2015. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  3. ^ a b Hutchinson, Lisa (8 April 2010). "American playwright visited region with Sting".
  4. ^ " - Official Site and Official Fan Club for Sting discography - Albums - LAST EXIT: First from Last Exit". Archived from the original on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2022.