Sting played with several groups before forming The Police with drummer Stewart Copeland and guitarist Henri Padovani in 1977. Padovani was later replaced by guitarist Andy Summers. The new trio released the single 'Roxanne' in the spring of 1978, which went nowhere at first. Later that year, Sting, Copeland, and Summers traveled around the United States in a van playing small clubs, such as CBGB's, a punk rock haven in New York City. Interest in their first album Outlandos d'Amour (1978) began to grow and it eventually made on to first the British and then the American charts. A re-released 'Roxanne' as well as 'So Lonely' and 'Can't Stand Losing You' became popular singles. Sting wrote most of the songs on the album, as he would for most of the group's recordings. Also during this time, he made his first film appearance in musical drama Quadrophenia (1978).
While often identified as part of the punk and new wave musical scenes, The Police had a sound that was hard to pin down, filled with many influences from jazz to progressive rock. With its unique sound, the group continued to attract new fans with its second album Reggatta de Blanc (1979).
Their next album helped cement The Police's position as a leading rock act. Zenyatta Mondatta (1980) featured such hits as "Don't Stand So Close to Me" and "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da." The group toured extensively around this time, but still managed to release another album the following year. "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" from Ghost in the Machine (1981) reached the top of the charts.
Sting began a career as a solo artist, scoring a hit album with his first post-Police effort, The Dream of the Blue Turtles, released in 1985. On the recording, he worked with several jazz musicians, including Bradford Marsalis. Sting went on to release a string of successful solo albums, including Nothing Like the Sun (1987), The Soul Cages (1991), Ten Summoner's Tales (1993) and Mercury Falling (1996). During this period, Sting wrote and recorded a diverse range of music, from haunting ballads to intriguing instrumental pieces to upbeat popular songs. He found chart success with such singles as "Englishman in New York," "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You" and "Fields of Gold."
Along with his musical exploration and experimentation, Sting found time for acting. He appeared in several films, including the science fiction drama Dune (1984) and the popular British crime film Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels (1998). He worked on soundtracks for such films as The Mighty (1998), The Thomas Crown Affair (1999) and The Emperor's New Groove (2000).
In 1999, Sting released his most popular solo album to date, Brand New Day. The optimistic title track strung a cord with listeners around the world and won Sting a Grammy Award for best male pop vocal performance in 2000. Later albums include All This Time (2001), Sacred Love (2003) and Songs from the Labyrinth (2006), which is a recording of English music from the 1600s.
In 2007, Sting surprised and delighted fans of The Police when the group performed together on the Grammy Awards television broadcast. The band also announced it would tour for the first time in over two decades.