Ten Summoner's Tales

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Ten Summoner's Tales
Sting - Ten Summoner's Tales.png
Studio album by
Released9 March 1993
RecordedJune–December 1992
StudioLake House, Wiltshire, England
31454-0070-2 (Canada, US)
31454-0075-2 (International)
ProducerSting, Hugh Padgham
Sting chronology
The Soul Cages
Ten Summoner's Tales
Fields of Gold: The Best of Sting 1984–1994
Singles from Ten Summoner's Tales
  1. "It's Probably Me"
    Released: 23 June 1992
  2. "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You"
    Released: 1 February 1993
  3. "Seven Days"
    Released: 1 April 1993
  4. "Fields of Gold"
    Released: 1 June 1993
  5. "Shape of My Heart"
    Released: 1 August 1993
  6. "Nothing 'Bout Me"
    Released: 4 February 1994
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[1]
The Buffalo News4/5 stars[2]
Chicago Tribune3/4 stars[3]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[4]
Entertainment WeeklyA[5]
Los Angeles Times3/4 stars[6]
Q4/5 stars[7]
Rolling Stone4.5/5 stars[8]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3/5 stars[9]
USA Today3/4 stars[10]

Ten Summoner's Tales is the fourth solo studio album by English rock musician Sting. The title is a combined pun of his family name, Sumner, and a character in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, the summoner. Released in 1993, it explores themes of love and morality in a noticeably upbeat mood compared to his previous release, the introspective The Soul Cages released in 1991 after the loss of both his parents in the 1980s.

This album contains two US hits; "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You" reached No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 while "Fields of Gold" got to No. 23.[11]

Ten Summoner's Tales was shortlisted for the 1993 Mercury Prize. In 1994, it was nominated for six Grammy awards including Album of the Year (losing to Whitney Houston‘s The Bodyguard), winning Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical, Best Male Pop Vocal Performance ("If I Ever Lose My Faith in You") and Best Long Form Music Video, while "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You" was also nominated for Record and Song of the Year.

A laser disc and VHS of the album were released, containing live performances of all songs on the album at Lake House.

A promotional disc was made where Sting discusses some of the songs on the album. There was also a live album produced during the Ten Summoner's Tales era, entitled Meadowlands of Gold, which contained 13 tracks performed at the Meadowlands Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The songs consisted of tracks from the album, and a few songs by The Police plus a cover of The Beatles' "A Day in the Life".


The album was recorded at Lake House, Wiltshire, mixed at The Townhouse Studio, London and mastered at Masterdisk, New York.[12] The cover of the album was photographed at Wardour Old Castle in Wiltshire, featuring Hrímnir, an Icelandic horse Sting owned for a period.

A long form 'performance' video of the entire album was filmed at Sting's Lake House property. The audio used is partly from the album, but partly recorded as played by the band during the filming. This film was released in conjunction with the album. The video went on to win a Grammy Award for Best Long Form Video in 1994, and was directed by Doug Nichol and produced by Julie Fong.

On 11 August 1994, a compact disc of Ten Summoner's Tales became the first item ever securely purchased over the Internet, for $12.48 plus shipping.[13] There was also an interview disc released for the album, in which Sting talks about all tracks on the album.

The second track on the album, "Love Is Stronger Than Justice (The Munificent Seven)", is was named as a homage to the films Seven Samurai and The Magnificent Seven. According to the interview disc, the idea came to Sting when he wanted to write a song in the 7/4 time signature. The song "Seven Days" is also noted for Vinnie Colaiuta and his sophisticated playing in the 5/4 time signature.

The international-exclusive track "Everybody Laughed But You" was excluded from Canadian and American pressings of the album. However, US singles from the album included the song, as well as a version of the song with different lyrics titled "January Stars".

The singles for Ten Summoner's Tales also give credit to Fernandes Guitars, as Dominic Miller played a Fernandes P-Project Acoustic Electric Nylon guitar throughout the album.

1998 re-release[edit]

Ten Summoner's Tales was remastered and re-released in 1998. The new CD issue included a bonus video track of "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You". It also featured the song "Everybody Laughed But You", which was excluded from the original 1993 release in the US and Canada. The song did appear on the original release in the UK, Europe, Japan and other territories, and the single "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You". The instrumental track for "Everybody Laughed But You" was also used with an alternate lyric and released as "January Stars" on the singles "Seven Days" and "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You".

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Sting except where noted.

1."Prologue (If I Ever Lose My Faith in You)" 4:30
2."Love Is Stronger Than Justice (The Munificent Seven)" 5:12
3."Fields of Gold" 3:42
4."Heavy Cloud No Rain" 3:39
5."She's Too Good for Me" 2:30
6."Seven Days" 4:40
7."Saint Augustine in Hell" (Narration performed by David Foxxe[14]) 5:05
8."It's Probably Me"Sting, Eric Clapton, Michael Kamen4:57
9."Everybody Laughed but You" (Excluded from original Canada/US releases[15]) 3:53
10."Shape of My Heart"Sting, Dominic Miller4:38
11."Something the Boy Said" 5:13
12."Epilogue (Nothing 'Bout Me)" 3:39

French bonus disc – five live recordings (later released as a promotional disc called Five Live)

  1. "All This Time"
  2. "Roxanne"
  3. "The Soul Cages"
  4. "Walking on the Moon"
  5. "Fortress Around Your Heart"


  1. "January Stars"
  2. "Everybody Laughed but You"
  3. "Mad About You" (Live)
  4. "Ain't No Sunshine" (Live)
  5. "Every Breath You Take" (Live)
  6. "Message in a Bottle" (Live)
  7. "Tea in the Sahara" (Live)
  8. "Walking on the Moon" (Live)
  9. "King of Pain" (Live)
  10. "Purple Haze" (Live)
  11. "Fortress Around Your Heart" (Live)
  12. "Roxanne" (Live)
  13. "Ne Me Quitte Pas" (Live)
  14. "All This Time" (Live)
  15. "Island of Souls" (Live)
  16. "The Wild Wild Sea" (Live)
  17. "We Work The Black Seam (1993 Version)" (US single)



Use in media[edit]

The backing track of "Shape of My Heart" was used, in a slightly altered way, by rapper Nas on his song "The Message" from his 1996 album It Was Written. In the later 1990s and the 2000s, it became a popular sample in R&B and hip hop songs, possibly inspired by Nas' usage. It has been sampled or interpolated in the following:

The song "Shape of My Heart" has been covered by several artists:

The song "Fields of Gold" has also been covered by several artists:

Soundtrack appearances[edit]

A different version of "It's Probably Me", featuring Eric Clapton, was featured in the opening titles of Lethal Weapon 3. (This version was available as a single.) The song "Shape of My Heart" was featured in the end credits of the 1994 French thriller Léon: The Professional,[17] replacing Éric Serra's "The Experience of Love" (a track that Serra eventually used in his 1995 soundtrack for the James Bond film GoldenEye). In 2011, "Shape of My Heart" was used to conclude the final episode of the seventh series of British television drama Hustle.


Grammy Awards[edit]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1994 Ten Summoner's Tales Album of the Year[18] Nominated
Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical[19] Won
Best Music Video, Long Form[19] Won
"If I Ever Lose My Faith in You" Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male[19] Won
Record of the Year[18] Nominated
Song of the Year[18] Nominated

Brit Awards[edit]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
Ten Summoner's Tales Best British Album Nominated
Sting (performer) Best British Male Artist Won
"Fields of Gold" Best British Video Nominated

Mercury Prize[edit]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1993 Ten Summoner's Tales Mercury Music Prize[21] Nominated



Year Title Chart positions
US Hot 100[11] UK Singles Chart[43]
1993 "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You" 17 14
"Seven Days" 25
"Fields of Gold" 23 16
"Shape of My Heart" 57
"Love is Stronger Than Justice (The Munificent Seven)"[44]
1994 "Nothing 'Bout Me" 57 32


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[45] Platinum 70,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[46] Platinum 100,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[47] Gold 28,537[47]
France (SNEP)[49] 2× Gold 350,000[48]
Germany (BVMI)[50] Gold 250,000^
Italy (FIMI)[51] Platinum 300,000*
Japan (RIAJ)[52] Gold 178,870[39]
Netherlands (NVPI)[53] Gold 50,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[54] Platinum 100,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[55] Platinum 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[56] 2× Platinum 600,000^
United States (RIAA)[57] 3× Platinum 3,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


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  • Stingoop.com Ten Summoner's Tales Release Details
  • sting.com Ten Summoner's Tales Release Details on Sting's official website