The Dream of the Blue Turtles

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The Dream of the Blue Turtles
Sting The Dream of the Blue Turtles CD cover.JPG
Studio album by Sting
Released 1 June 1985
Recorded 19841985
Studio Blue Wave Studio, Saint Philip, Barbados and Le Studio, Morin-Heights, Quebec, Canada
Length 41:40
Label A&M
Producer Sting & Pete Smith
Sting chronology
The Dream of the Blue Turtles
Bring on the Night
Singles from The Dream of the Blue Turtles
  1. "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free"
    Released: 9 July 1985
  2. "Love Is the Seventh Wave"
    Released: 1 August 1985
  3. "Fortress Around Your Heart"
    Released: 1 October 1985
  4. "Russians"
    Released: 1 November 1985
  5. "Moon over Bourbon Street"
    Released: 1 February 1986
  6. "We Work the Black Seam"
    Released: 1986
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[2]
Chicago Tribune 2.5/4 stars[3]
Los Angeles Times (Positive)[4]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[5]
Robert Christgau (C+)[6]

The Dream of the Blue Turtles is the first solo album by British pop singer-songwriter Sting, released in the United States on 1 June 1985, a year after The Police had unofficially disbanded. The album reached number 3 on the UK Albums Chart.[7] two on the Billboard 200.

It includes Sting's first hit after The Police (his first solo hit, "Spread a Little Happiness", was recorded while still a member of the Police), "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free". Though the song reached number 3 in the US, it was a relative flop in the UK, where the album's track "Russians" (about Cold War nuclear anxieties, which had peaked in the 1980s) proved more popular.

In the US the album spawned four singles "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free", "Fortress Around Your Heart", "Russians", and "Love Is the Seventh Wave".

The movie Bring on the Night documents some of the recording work that produced this album, as well as the subsequent tour.

The album earned Grammy nominations for Album of the Year, Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, and Best Engineered Recording.

The album is named after a dream of Sting's.[8]


The songs include "Children's Crusade" (paralleling the destruction of the younger generation in World War I to the devastation brought about by heroin addiction in modern-day London)[citation needed]; the original uptempo arrangement of The Police song "Shadows in the Rain"; "We Work the Black Seam" (about the UK miners' strike of 1984–85); and "Moon over Bourbon Street", a song inspired by Anne Rice's novel Interview with the Vampire.[9]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Sting, except where noted. 

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free"   4:14
2. "Love Is the Seventh Wave"   3:30
3. "Russians" (Prokofiev, Sting) 3:57
4. "Children's Crusade"   5:00
5. "Shadows in the Rain"   4:56
Side two
No. Title Length
6. "We Work the Black Seam"   5:40
7. "Consider Me Gone"   4:21
8. "The Dream of the Blue Turtles"   1:15
9. "Moon over Bourbon Street"   3:59
10. "Fortress Around Your Heart"   4:39


  • "Another Day" - 3:54
  • "Gabriel's Message" - 2:15


  • "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free" (1985) #3 US Hot 100, #26 UK Singles Chart
  • "Russians" (1985) #16 US Hot 100, #12 UK Singles Chart
  • "Fortress Around Your Heart" (1985) #8 US Hot 100, #49 UK Singles Chart
  • "Love Is the Seventh Wave" (1985) #17 US Hot 100, #41 UK Singles Chart
  • "Moon over Bourbon Street" (1986) #44 UK Singles Chart[7] - B-side of "The Ballad of Mack the Knife"


Additional personnel[edit]

  • Pete Smith – additional background vocals
  • Danny Quatrochi – additional background vocals, Synclavier
  • Elliot Jones – additional background vocals
  • Jane Alexander – additional background vocals
  • Vic Garbarini – additional background vocals
  • The Nannies Chorus – additional background vocals
  • Rosemary Purt – additional background vocals
  • Stephanie Crewdson – additional background vocals
  • Joe Sumner – additional background vocals
  • Kate Sumner – additional background vocals
  • Michael Sumner – additional background vocals
  • Pamela Quinlan – additional background vocals
  • Eddy Grant – congas (track 7)
  • Frank Opolko – trombone (track 2)
  • Robert Ashworth – additional guitar

Production details[edit]

  • Engineers - Pete Smith and Jim Scott
  • Producers - Pete Smith and Sting
  • Photography - Max Vadukul and Danny Quatrochi
  • Art direction and design - Michael Ross and Richard Frankel
  • Recorded at Blue Wave Studios, St. Philip, Barbados and Le Studio, Morin Heights, Quebec


Grammy Awards[edit]

Year Recipient/Nominated work Award Result
1986 The Dream of the Blue Turtles Album of the Year[10] Nominated
Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male[11] Nominated


Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[12] Platinum 100,000^
France (SNEP)[13] Platinum 551,100[14]
Germany (BVMI)[15] Platinum 500,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[16] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[17] 2× Platinum 600,000^
United States (RIAA)[18] 3× Platinum 3,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone


Decade-end charts[edit]

Chart (1980–89) Position
Australian Albums Chart[19] 32


  1. ^ Pareles, John (17 June 1997). "The Dream of the Blue Turtles". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Kot, Greg (1993-03-07). "Feeling A Sting". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2011-10-01. 
  4. ^ Damsker, Matt (1985-06-16). "A Generous Sting Sets Himself Free". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-10-18. 
  5. ^ Pareles, Jon (1997-06-17). "The Dream Of The Blue Turtles". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2007-11-07. Retrieved 2012-05-29. 
  6. ^ Sting profile by Robert Christgau
  7. ^ a b Sting in the UK Charts, The Official Charts.
  8. ^ "Sting: The Dream of the Blue Turtles". Retrieved 2 January 2012. The title of the album came from a dream that woke me up on my first night in Barbados. I dreamed I was sitting in the walled garden behind my house in Hampstead, under a lilac tree on a well manicured lawn, surrounded by beautiful rosebushes. Suddenly the bricks from the wall exploded into the garden and I turned to see the head of an enormous turtle emerging from the darkness, followed by four or five others. They were not only the size of a man, they were also blue and had an air of being immensely cool, like hepcats, insouciant and fearless. They didn't harm me but with an almost casual violence commenced to destroy my genteel English garden, digging up the lawn with their claws, chomping at the rosebushes, bulldozing the lilac tree. Total mayhem. I woke up to the sound of Branford in the room upstairs, riffing wildly on his tenor sax, followed by his unmistakeable laughter. 
  9. ^ "STING: Moon over Bourbon Street, 12". Retrieved 17 September 2012. That was inspired by a book by Ann Rice, called 'Interview With The Vampire', a beautiful book about this vampire which is a vampire by accident. He's immortal and he has to kill people to live, but he's been left with his conscience intact. He's this wonderful, poignant soul who has to do evil, yet wants to stop. Once again, it's the duality which interested me. 
  10. ^ "GRAMMYs' Best Albums 1980–1989". Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  11. ^ "Picking The Grammy Nominees Of 1986". Los Angeles Times. 1986-01-05. Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  12. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Sting – The Dream of the Blue Turtles". Music Canada. 
  13. ^ "French album certifications – Sting – The Dream of the Blue Turtles" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. 
  14. ^ "Les Albums Platine". (in French). SNEP. Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  15. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Sting; 'The Dream of the Blue Turtles')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  16. ^ "Solo Exitos 1959-2002 Ano A Ano: Certificados 1979-1990". Solo Exitos 1959-2002 Ano A Ano. 
  17. ^ "British album certifications – Sting – The Dream of the Blue Turtles". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter The Dream of the Blue Turtles in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  18. ^ "American album certifications – Sting – The Dream of the Blue Turtles". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  19. ^ a b c d Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  20. ^ " Sting - The Dream of the Blue Turtles" (ASP). Hung Medien (in German). Retrieved 2011-10-21. 
  21. ^ Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 2011-10-20
  22. ^ " Sting - The Dream of the Blue Turtles" (ASP). Hung Medien. MegaCharts. Retrieved 2011-09-12. 
  23. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste" (in French). Retrieved 2011-09-12. 
  24. ^ a b "Hit Parade Italia - Gli album più venduti del 1985" (in Italian). Retrieved 2011-10-12. 
  25. ^ a b Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9. 
  26. ^ " Sting - The Dream of the Blue Turtles" (ASP). Hung Medien. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 2011-10-21. 
  27. ^ " Sting - The Dream of the Blue Turtles" (ASP). Hung Medien. VG-lista. Retrieved 2011-10-21. 
  28. ^ " Sting - The Dream of the Blue Turtles" (ASP) (in Swedish). Retrieved 2011-10-21. 
  29. ^ "Sting - The Dream of the Blue Turtles -" (ASP). Hung Medien (in German). Swiss Music Charts. Retrieved 2011-10-21. 
  30. ^ "Chart Stats - Sting - The Dream of the Blue Turtles". UK Albums Chart. Archived from the original (PHP) on 2012-07-21. Retrieved 2011-10-21. 
  31. ^ "allmusic ((( The Dream of the Blue Turtles > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". Retrieved 2011-09-14. 
  32. ^ "Album Search: Sting" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 2011-09-12. 
  33. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1985". RPM. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  34. ^ "Les Albums (CD) de 1985 par InfoDisc" (PHP) (in French). Retrieved 2012-01-29. 
  35. ^ " - Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1988". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  36. ^ a b "Complete UK Year-End Album Charts". Retrieved 2011-09-12. 
  37. ^ "Billboard.BIZ - Year-end Charts - Billboard 200 - 1985". Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  38. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1986". RPM. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  39. ^ "Billboard.BIZ - Year-end Charts - Billboard 200 - 1986". Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
Preceded by
Like a Virgin by Madonna
Dutch Mega Chart number-one album
21 September 1985
Succeeded by
Ik zal je nooit vergeten by Koos Alberts
Preceded by
For the Working Class Man
by Jimmy Barnes
Australian Kent Music Report number-one album
21 April - 11 May 1986
Succeeded by
1986 Way to Go by Various artists