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
Released1 June 1985
StudioBlue Wave Studio, Saint Philip, Barbados and Le Studio, Morin-Heights, Quebec, Canada
ProducerSting and 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
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[2]
Chicago Tribune2.5/4 stars[3]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music3/5 stars[4]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[5]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3.5/5 stars[6]
The Village VoiceC+[7]

The Dream of the Blue Turtles is the first solo album by English musician Sting, released in the United States on 1 June 1985. The album reached number three on the UK Albums Chart.[8] It reached number two on the Billboard 200.

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

Background and release[edit]

The album is named after a dream of Sting's.[9]

Although the single "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free" reached No. 3 in the US, it only reached 26 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 UK the album was kept off No. 1 in the week of its release by Marillion's Misplaced Childhood and Born in the U.S.A. by Bruce Springsteen occupying the top two places. However, in the US, the album reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200.

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


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.[10] "Consider Me Gone" references the first quatrain of Shakespeare's Sonnet 35.


Grammy Awards

Year Nominee/work Award Result
1986 The Dream of the Blue Turtles Album of the Year[11] Nominated
Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male[12] Nominated

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Sting, except where noted.

Side one
1."If You Love Somebody Set Them Free" 4:14
2."Love Is the Seventh Wave" 3:30
3."Russians"Sergei Prokofiev, Sting3:57
4."Children's Crusade" 5:00
5."Shadows in the Rain" 4:56
Side two
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[8] - B-side of "The Ballad of Mack the Knife"


  • Sting – lead vocals, guitar, synthesizer, double bass on "Moon over Bourbon Street", additional backing vocals
  • Omar Hakim – drums
  • Darryl Jones – bass guitar
  • Kenny Kirkland – keyboards
  • Danny Quatrochi – Synclavier, additional backing vocals
  • Branford Marsalis – soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, percussion
  • Robert Ashworth – additional guitar
  • Eddy Grant – congas (7)
  • Frank Opolko – trombone (2)
  • Dolette McDonald – backing vocals
  • Janice Pendarvis – backing vocals
  • Pete Smith – backing vocals
  • Elliot Jones – backing vocals
  • Jane Alexander – backing vocals
  • Vic Garbarini – backing vocals
  • The Nannies Chorus – backing vocals
  • Rosemary Purt – backing vocals
  • Stephanie Crewdson – backing vocals
  • Joe Sumner – backing vocals
  • Kate Sumner – backing vocals
  • Michael Sumner – backing vocals


  • Pete Smith – engineer, producer
  • Sting – producer
  • Jim Scott – engineer
  • Bob Ludwig – mastering at Masterdisk (New York, NY).
  • Max Vadukul – photography
  • Danny Quatrochi – photography
  • Michael Ross – art direction and design
  • Richard Frankel – art direction and design



Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[34] Platinum 100,000^
France (SNEP)[35] Platinum 551,100[36]
Germany (BVMI)[37] Platinum 500,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[38] Platinum 15,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[39] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[40] 2× Platinum 600,000^
United States (RIAA)[41] 3× Platinum 3,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ Pareles, John (17 June 1997). "The Dream of the Blue Turtles". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
  2. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "The Dream of the Blue Turtles – Sting". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  3. ^ Kot, Greg (7 March 1993). "Feeling A Sting". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  4. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  5. ^ Pareles, Jon (18 July 1985). "The Dream Of The Blue Turtles". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 7 November 2007. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
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  8. ^ a b Sting in the UK Charts Archived 15 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine., The Official Charts.
  9. ^ "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.
  10. ^ "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.
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