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Mercury Falling

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Mercury Falling
Studio album by
Released26 February 1996[1]
  • English
  • French ("La Belle Dame Sans Regrets")
Sting chronology
Fields of Gold: The Best of Sting 1984–1994
Mercury Falling
Brand New Day
Singles from Mercury Falling
  1. "Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot"
    Released: 19 February 1996[3]
  2. "You Still Touch Me"
    Released: 1 April 1996
  3. "I Was Brought to My Senses"
    Released: 2 September 1996[4]
  4. "I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying"
    Released: 1 October 1996
Professional ratings
Review scores
Chicago Tribune[5]
Entertainment Weekly(A−)[6]
Houston Chronicle[8]
Los Angeles Times[7]
Robert Christgau(dud) (bad record)[9]
Rolling Stone[10]

Mercury Falling is the fifth studio album by English musician Sting. It was released on 26 February 1996 through A&M Records and was produced by Sting alongside longtime producer Hugh Padgham. The album features many tracks which see elements of soul and country music integrated to a greater extent than on past releases. Supporting musicians on the album include frequent collaborators Dominic Miller on guitar, Kenny Kirkland on keyboards, Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, and Branford Marsalis on tenor and soprano saxophone.

Mercury Falling was a success, reaching the top 10 in 18 countries, but failed to match the success of its predecessors. None of its four singles—"Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot", "You Still Touch Me", "I Was Brought to My Senses", and "I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying"—were hits across all regions, although the former two did perform well in the UK and especially Canada, where both reached the top 10. The album has been certified Platinum in three different countries (US, UK and Canada) and Gold in nine others. In 1997, the album earned Sting two Grammy nominations—Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for "Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot".

Music and lyrics[edit]

Alongside being used as the album's title, the phrase "mercury falling" appears as the first and last lyrics heard on the album. The lyric was the first written for the album (for "The Hounds of Winter"), and Sting later felt the phrase evoked the mood of the record and its variety of styles: "there are so many styles on this record and it darts around from genre to genre and back again. It's a very mercurial record, and it seemed to be the right thing to call the record."[11]

"I Hung My Head" is one of many songs on the album to be played in an odd time signature, in this case 9
. Johnny Cash performed a cover of the song on American IV: The Man Comes Around, his final studio album released during his lifetime. "Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot" displays a significant soul influence; Sting has stated that the music of artists such as Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin heavily inspired the track.[12] Expanding on this theme, the Memphis Horns were brought in to play on the track. The lyrics were inspired by a friend who was suffering from AIDS, and how such an event can affect someone's outlook on life. Sting described the song as "a song about death, or dealing with death in a way that offers some sort of hope. I actually think it's quite an uplifting song - the intent is for it to be uplifting."[13]

"I Was Brought to My Senses" is a song about gaining a greater appreciation for nature.[11] It starts off as a folk ballad in 6
, before transitioning to the main part of the song, which features what Sting called "a Brazilian vibe" and is played in 7

The track "Twenty Five to Midnight" was excluded from the American and Canadian releases. It was included in the CD-Maxi Single of "You Still Touch Me", as the 4th track.[14] "La Belle Dame Sans Regrets" is sung entirely in French; its title translates to "the beautiful lady with no regrets". The song was co-written with Sting's guitarist Dominic Miller. "Valparaiso" was used during the closing credits of the 1996 film White Squall.


Mercury Falling was released on 26 February 1996. It reached number four in Sting's native UK and number five in the US, becoming his fifth straight studio album to make the top 5 in both countries.[15][16] The album also achieved top ten placements in 16 other countries in addition to the European Albums Chart (where it topped the chart).

"Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot" was released as the album's first single on 19 February 1996. It became a top 20 hit in the UK, peaking at number 15, but stalled at number 86 in the US.[15][16] It did, however, reach number 3 on the Billboard Adult Alternative Airplay chart.[16] The single was most successful in Canada, where it peaked at number 7.[16] "You Still Touch Me", the album's second single, reached number 27 in the UK.[15] In the US, it was more successful than its predecessor, peaking at number 60.[16] The song matched the previous single's chart placement in Canada, giving Sting yet another number 7 hit.[16] A remixed version of "I Was Brought to My Senses", done by Steve Lipson, served at the album's third single. It barely missed the top 30 in the UK and failed to chart in the US.[15] "I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying" was the album's final single. Toby Keith released a cover of the song as a single from his album Dream Walkin', Sting guested on the track which gave him his only country hit.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Sting, except "La Belle Dame Sans Regrets" written with Dominic Miller

Mercury Falling
1."The Hounds of Winter"5:27
2."I Hung My Head"4:40
3."Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot"6:41
4."I Was Brought to My Senses"5:48
5."You Still Touch Me"3:46
6."I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying"3:56
7."All Four Seasons"4:28
8."Twenty Five to Midnight"4:09
9."La Belle Dame Sans Regrets"5:17
11."Lithium Sunset"2:38
Total length:52:24

Note: "Twenty Five To Midnight" was excluded from the original American and Canadian pressings of the album.


Title Source
"The Bed's Too Big Without You" "Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot"
"Lullaby to An Anxious Child" "You Still Touch Me"
"Beneath a Desert Moon"
"Twenty Five to Midnight"
"This Was Never Meant to Be" "I Was Brought to My Senses"
"The Pirate's Bride"
"Giacomo's Blues" "I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying"



  • Sting – producer
  • Hugh Padgham – producer, engineer, mixing
  • Simon Osborne – engineer
  • Bob Ludwig – mastering[17]
  • Gateway Mastering (Portland, Maine) – mastering location
  • Danny Quatrochi – personal technical assistant
  • Jeri Heiden – art direction, design
  • William Claxton – photography
  • Fabrizio Ferri – photography
  • Miles Copeland III – management
  • Kim Turner – management


Grammy Awards[edit]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
Mercury Falling Best Pop Vocal Album Nominated
"Let Your Soul Be Your Pilot" Best Male Pop Vocal Performance Nominated


Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[46] Gold 35,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[47] Gold 25,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[48] Platinum 100,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[49] Gold 24,617[49]
Germany (BVMI)[50] Gold 250,000^
Italy 210,000[51]
Japan (RIAJ)[52] Gold 193,600[42]
Netherlands (NVPI)[53] Gold 50,000^
Poland (ZPAV)[54] Gold 20,000*
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[55] Gold 50,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[56] Gold 25,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[57] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[58] Platinum 1,000,000^
Europe (IFPI)[59] Platinum 1,000,000*

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


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External links[edit]