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The Dream of the Blue Turtles

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The Dream of the Blue Turtles
Studio album by
Released17 June 1985[1]
RecordedNovember 1984 – March 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: May 1985[4]
  2. "Love Is the Seventh Wave"
    Released: August 1985 (UK)[5]
  3. "Fortress Around Your Heart"
    Released: August 1985 (US)[6]
  4. "Russians"
    Released: November 1985[7]
  5. "Moon Over Bourbon Street"
    Released: February 1986[8]
  6. "We Work the Black Seam"
    Released: June 1986
Professional ratings
Review scores
Chicago Tribune[10]
Los Angeles Times[11]
Orlando Sentinel[12]
Record Mirror4/5[13]
Rolling Stone[14]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[15]
The Sacramento Bee[16]
Smash Hits6/10[17]
The Village VoiceC+[18]

The Dream of the Blue Turtles is the debut solo album by English musician Sting, released in June 1985. The album reached number three on the UK Albums Chart[19] and number two on the US Billboard 200.

Five singles were released from the album: "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free", "Fortress Around Your Heart", "Russians", "Moon Over Bourbon Street", and "Love Is the Seventh Wave". The album earned Grammy nominations for Album of the Year, Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and Best Engineered Recording; the instrumental title track was nominated for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance.

Background and release


The album is named after a dream that Sting had.[20] He initially worked on tracks for his debut solo album with producers Torch Song: William Orbit, Laurie Mayer and Grant Gilbert.[21] These sessions were more synth-driven and 'electrofunk' in nature than what eventually was recorded and released; Sting eventually decided against this direction, and instead decided to pursue more jazz-oriented music. The initial 1984 Torch Song sessions remain unreleased.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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. In the US, the album reached No. 2 on the Billboard 200.[citation needed]

The film Bring On the Night documents some of the recording work that produced this album, as well as the subsequent tour.[citation needed]



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);[22] a new, re-recorded version of the Police song "Shadows in the Rain" (featuring the original uptempo arrangement); "We Work the Black Seam" (about the UK miners' strike of 1984–85, and musically based on "Savage Beast", a song dating back to Sting's days in Last Exit); and "Moon Over Bourbon Street", a song inspired by Anne Rice's novel Interview with the Vampire and on which he plays double bass.[23] "Consider Me Gone" references the first quatrain of Shakespeare's Sonnet 35.



Grammy Awards

Year Nominee / work Award Result
Grammy Award nominations for The Dream of the Blue Turtles
1986 The Dream of the Blue Turtles Album of the Year[24] Nominated
Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male[25] Nominated

Track listing


All tracks are written by Sting, except where noted

Side one
1."If You Love Somebody Set Them Free" 4:16
2."Love Is the Seventh Wave" 3:32
3."Russians"Sting / Sergei Prokofiev3:58
4."Children's Crusade" 5:02
5."Shadows in the Rain" 4:50
Side two
6."We Work the Black Seam"5:42
7."Consider Me Gone"4:20
8."The Dream of the Blue Turtles"1:18
9."Moon Over Bourbon Street"4:00
10."Fortress Around Your Heart"4:40


  • "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free" (1985) No. 3 US Hot 100, No. 26 UK Singles Chart[26][19]
  • "Russians" (1985) No. 16 US Hot 100, No. 12 UK Singles Chart[26][19]
  • "Fortress Around Your Heart" (1985) No. 8 US Hot 100, No. 49 UK Singles Chart[26][19]
  • "Love Is the Seventh Wave" (1985) No. 17 US Hot 100, No. 41 UK Singles Chart[26][19]
  • "Moon Over Bourbon Street" (1986) No. 44 UK Singles Chart[19] – with a B-side of "The Ballad of Mack the Knife"



Additional personnel

  • Danny Quatrochi – Synclavier, backing vocals
  • Robert Ashworth – guitars
  • Eddy Grant – congas (7)
  • Frank Opolko – trombone (2)
  • Pete Smith – backing vocals
  • Elliot Jones – backing vocals
  • Jane Alexander – backing vocals
  • Vic Garbarini – backing vocals
  • Pamela Quinlan – 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 – producer, engineer
  • Sting – producer
  • Jim Scott – engineer
  • Bob Ludwig – mastering at Masterdisk (New York, NY).
  • Max Vadukul – photography
  • Danny Quatrochi – photography
  • Michael Ross – art direction, design
  • Richard Frankel – art direction, design



Certifications and sales

Certifications and sales for The Dream of the Blue Turtles
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia 200,000[47]
Canada (Music Canada)[48] Platinum 100,000^
France (SNEP)[49] Platinum 300,000*
Germany (BVMI)[50] Platinum 500,000^
Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)[51] Gold 10,000*
Italy (FIMI)[49] Platinum 500,000[49]
New Zealand (RMNZ)[52] Platinum 15,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[53] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[54] 2× Platinum 600,000^
United States (RIAA)[55] 3× Platinum 3,000,000^
Yugoslavia 50,000[56]

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


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