The Empty Chair (song)

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"The Empty Chair"
Single by Sting
from the album Jim: The James Foley Story and 57th & 9th
ReleasedDecember 23, 2016
FormatDigital download
  • 3:12
  • The Rumor Mill
  • UMG

"The Empty Chair" is a song recorded by English singer-songwriter Sting. Co-written by Sting and American record producer J. Ralph, the song was released as the lead single from the soundtrack album of 2016 documentary film Jim: The James Foley Story.[1][2]

"The Empty Chair" was nominated for the 2017 Academy Award in the Best Original Song category.[3] Both Sting and J. Ralph have previously received nominations in the same category; Sting was nominated three times before while J. Ralph had two previous nominations.[4]

Sting recorded a separate version of the song with a guitar, instead of piano, for his studio album 57th & 9th.[5]


The song is written for the film Jim: The James Foley Story which tells the life story of American photojournalist James "Jim" Foley who was kidnapped in Syria and subsequently beheaded by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). Sting, who wrote the song with J. Ralph, discussed the inspiration behind "The Empty Chair" during an interview with Billboard:[2]

Live performances[edit]

Sting performed a solo acoustic guitar version of "The Empty Chair" during the 89th Academy Awards ceremony aired live on February 26, 2017.[4] Sting also sang the song in November 2016 at Bataclan, a theatre in Paris, in an exclusive concert to commemorate the 2015 terrorist attack.[5]


  1. ^ Grobar, Matt (November 24, 2016). "Sting And J. Ralph On The Life Of James Foley And The Meaning Of "The Empty Chair"". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Newman, Melinda (January 24, 2017). "Sting Hopes to 'Shine More Light' on 'Jim: The James Foley Story' Documentary With Oscar Nomination". Billboard. Retrieved June 2, 2017.
  3. ^ "Oscar Nominations 2017: See the Full List". Vanity Fair. January 24, 2017. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Watch Sting's Poignant 2017 Oscar Performance of 'The Empty Chair'". Rolling Stone. February 26, 2017. Retrieved June 2, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Keegan, Rebecca (February 17, 2017). "The Quiet Oscar Contender That's Taking On La La Land". Vanity Fair. Retrieved June 29, 2017.

External links[edit]