Set includes 15 bonus tracks
A&M/UMe celebrates the 30th anniversary of Sting’s fourth solo album, Ten Summoner’s Tales, with a digital-only Expanded Edition, available now. Originally released on March 1, 1993, the album title is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek mashup of the artist’s given surname, Sumner, and a character in Geoffrey Chaucer’s 15th century literary classic The Canterbury Tales, the summoner.
The 27-track Expanded Edition features the original 12-song Ten Summoner’s Tales album plus 15 bonus tracks consisting of B-sides, remixes, alternate versions, and live performances. Eleven of these 15 bonus tracks were previously unavailable for digital download or streaming. Mixed by four-time Grammy Award winning Robert “Hitmixer” Orton, the album is also available in Dolby Atmos.
Pivoting from the deeply personal sense of loss that permeated Sting’s platinum solo album The Soul Cages, Ten Summoner’s Tales changed course to offer an uplifting and emotional treatise on testing the boundaries of love and making critical choices, both virtuous and suspect. The infectious lead single, the ballad “If I Ever Lose My Faith In You,” became an immediate chart hit and cleverly walked the lyrical tightrope between recounting specific subjects the vocalist had stopped believing in and then countering them with a more encouraging optimistic worldview about whatever the future may hold. Meanwhile, the country-tinged “Love Is Stronger Than Justice (The Munificent Seven)” could serve as the long-lost theme to an obscure Spaghetti Western that pays equal homage to the singular visions of noted directors Akira Kurosawa and John Sturges. The truly melancholic “Fields Of Gold” remains an ethereal ballad for the ages, featuring haunting Northumbrian small pipes played by Kathryn Tickell and a tasteful harmonica solo by Brendan Power. The deceptively jaunty “Saint Augustine In Hell” boasts a bait-and-switch narrative break courtesy of David Foxxe, while the acoustic-oriented “Shape Of My Heart” beats strong and true with the mystical, logic-seeking ruminations of the inquisitive card player at the center of its storyline.
Produced by Sting and Hugh Padgham, Ten Summoner’s Tales was recorded at Lake House in Wiltshire, England, an Elizabethan country house that added to the recording’s overall atmosphere. It is also the second time the artist’s longtime stage and studio collaborator, the acclaimed guitarist Dominic Miller, appeared on one of Sting’s albums. Other notable topline creative contributors to the album include returning keyboardist David Sancious, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, and pedal-steel guitarist Paul Franklin. For his part, Sting played bass, double bass, harmonica, and saxophone on Ten Summoner’s Tales, creating the arrangements and singing all of the album’s lead vocals.
Ten Summoner’s Tales has been certified 3x Platinum by the RIAA, topped the album charts in Australia, and peaked at No. 21 on the US Billboard 200. The album’s aforementioned lead single, “If I Ever Lose My Faith In You,” had a clear chart impact upon its release, ultimately reaching No. 17 on the US Hot 100 and hitting No. 1 in Canada. It also garnered a trio of Grammy nominations in 1994, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year, and earned Sting a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male. The album’s next single, “Fields Of Gold,” climbed to No. 2 on Adult Contemporary, No. 23 on the Hot 100, No. 24 on Mainstream Rock, and No. 24 on Mainstream Top 40. It was also bestowed with a BMI Pop Song Award in 1994. The album’s other four singles were “Seven Days,” “Shape Of My Heart,” “Love Is Stronger Than Justice (The Munificent Seven),” and “Nothing ’Bout Me.”
In the US, Ten Summoner’s Tales garnered six Grammy nominations in 1994, including Album of the Year. Ten Summoner’s Tales won three Grammys: one for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical; one for Best Music Video, Long Form; and one for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male (for “If I Ever Lose My Faith In You”). In the UK, the project was nominated for three BPI Brit Awards, including Best British Album and Best British Video. Sting won the Brit Award for Best British Male Artist as a performer. Ten Summoner’s Tales was also nominated for the Mercury Music Prize in 1993.
1. Prologue (If I Ever Lose My Faith In You)
2. Love Is Stronger Than Justice (The Munificent Seven)
3. Fields Of Gold
4. Heavy Cloud No Rain
5. She’s Too Good For Me
6. Seven Days
7. Saint Augustine In Hell
8. It’s Probably Me
9. Everybody Laughed But You
10. Shape Of My Heart
11. Something The Boy Said
12. Epilogue (Nothing ’Bout Me)
13. We Work The Black Seam / 1993 Version [Bonus Track]
14. January Stars [Bonus Track]
15. If I Ever Lose My Faith In You / Miracle Of Science Mix [Bonus Track]
16. If I Ever Lose My Faith In You / Hoax Mix [Bonus Track]
17. It’s Probably Me (Feat. Eric Clapton) / Alternate Version [Bonus Track]
18. Nothing ’Bout Me / Remix [Bonus Track]
19. Nothing ’Bout Me / Remix With Horn Intro [Bonus Track]
20. Love Is Stronger Than Justice (The Munificent Seven) / Edit [Bonus Track]
21. Seven Days / Radio Edit [Bonus Track]
22. Nothing ’Bout Me / Edit With Fade [Bonus Track]
23. Shape Of My Heart / Live At Villa Manin, Codroipo, Italy, 1993 [Bonus Track]
24. Love Is Stronger Than Justice (The Munificent Seven) / Live At Villa Manin, Codroipo, Italy, 1993 [Bonus Track]
25. It’s Probably Me / Live At Villa Manin, Codroipo, Italy, 1993 [Bonus Track]
26. Purple Haze / Live At The Hague, Netherlands, 1991 [Bonus Track]
27. Ain’t No Sunshine / Live At Buddle Arts Center, Newcastle, England, 1991 [Bonus Track]