The Dream of the Blue Turtles

The Dream of the Blue Turtles
Studio album by Sting
Released 1 June 1985
Recorded 1984 1985
Studio Blue Wave Studio, Saint Philip, Barbados and Le Studio, Morin-Heights, Quebec, Canada
Length 41:40
Label A&M
Producer Sting & 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
  6. "We Work the Black Seam"
    Released: 1986
Professional ratings
Review scores
Chicago Tribune[3]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music[4]
Rolling Stone[5]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[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

The album is named after a dream of Sting's.[9] Although the single "If You Love Somebody Set Them Free" reached number three in the US, it was a relative flop 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 number one 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 United States, the album reached number two 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); 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.

Track listing

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" (Prokofiev, Sting)3:57
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




Additional musicians



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


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[13] Platinum 100,000^
France (SNEP)[14] Platinum 551,100[15]
Germany (BVMI)[16] Platinum 500,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[17] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[18] 2× Platinum 600,000^
United States (RIAA)[19] 3× Platinum 3,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


Weekly charts

Chart (1985/86) Peak
Australian Kent Music Report[20] 1
Austrian Albums Chart[21] 13
Canadian Albums Chart[22] 4
Dutch Albums Chart[23] 1
French Albums Chart[24] 4
Italian Albums Chart[25] 1
Japanese Oricon LP Chart[26] 9
New Zealand Albums Chart[27] 4
Norwegian VG-lista Albums Chart[28] 4
Swedish Albums Chart[29] 5
Swiss Albums Chart[30] 6
UK Albums Chart[31] 3
U.S. Billboard 200[32] 2
West German Albums Chart[33] 4

Year-end charts

Chart (1985) Position
Australian Albums Chart[20] 18
Canadian Albums Chart [34] 12
French Albums Chart[35] 5
Italian Albums Chart[25] 2
Japanese Albums Chart[26] 71
Swiss Albums Chart[36] 27
UK Albums Chart[37] 37
U.S. Billboard 200[38] 50
Chart (1986) Position
Australian Albums Chart[20] 7
Canadian Albums Chart [39] 71
UK Albums Chart[37] 41
U.S. Billboard 200[40] 33

Decade-end charts

Chart (1980–89) Position
Australian Albums Chart[20] 32


  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 (2007). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-857-12595-8.
  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.
  6. Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. pp. 783–84. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  7. Christgau, Robert (25 June 1985). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
  8. 1 2 Sting in the UK Charts, 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.
  11. "GRAMMYs' Best Albums 1980–1989". Retrieved 2011-11-01.
  12. "Picking The Grammy Nominees Of 1986". Los Angeles Times. 1986-01-05. Retrieved 2011-11-01.
  13. "Canadian album certifications – Sting – The Dream of the Blue Turtles". Music Canada.
  14. "French album certifications – Sting – The Dream of the Blue Turtles" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique.
  15. "Les Albums Platine". (in French). SNEP. Retrieved 2011-08-31.
  16. "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Sting; 'The Dream of the Blue Turtles')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
  17. "Solo Exitos 1959-2002 Ano A Ano: Certificados 1979-1990". Solo Exitos 1959-2002 Ano A Ano.
  18. "British album certifications – Sting – The Dream of the Blue Turtles". British Phonographic Industry. Enter The Dream of the Blue Turtles in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  19. "American album certifications – Sting – The Dream of the Blue Turtles". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  20. 1 2 3 4 Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 19701992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  21. " Sting - The Dream of the Blue Turtles" (ASP). Hung Medien (in German). Retrieved 2011-10-21.
  22. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 2011-10-20
  23. " Sting - The Dream of the Blue Turtles" (ASP). Hung Medien. MegaCharts. Retrieved 2011-09-12.
  24. "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste" (in French). Retrieved 2011-09-12.
  25. 1 2 "Hit Parade Italia - Gli album più venduti del 1985" (in Italian). Retrieved 2011-10-12.
  26. 1 2 Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  27. " Sting - The Dream of the Blue Turtles" (ASP). Hung Medien. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
  28. " Sting - The Dream of the Blue Turtles" (ASP). Hung Medien. VG-lista. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
  29. " Sting - The Dream of the Blue Turtles" (ASP) (in Swedish). Retrieved 2011-10-21.
  30. "Sting - The Dream of the Blue Turtles -" (ASP). Hung Medien (in German). Swiss Music Charts. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
  31. "Chart Stats - Sting - The Dream of the Blue Turtles". UK Albums Chart. Archived from the original (PHP) on 2012-07-21. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
  32. "allmusic ((( The Dream of the Blue Turtles > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". Retrieved 2011-09-14.
  33. "Album Search: Sting" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 2011-09-12.
  34. "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1985". RPM. Retrieved 2011-10-03.
  35. "Les Albums (CD) de 1985 par InfoDisc" (PHP) (in French). Retrieved 2012-01-29.
  36. " - Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1988". Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-10-17.
  37. 1 2 "Complete UK Year-End Album Charts". Retrieved 2011-09-12.
  38. "Billboard.BIZ - Year-end Charts - Billboard 200 - 1985". Retrieved 2011-10-24.
  39. "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1986". RPM. Retrieved 2011-10-03.
  40. "Billboard.BIZ - Year-end Charts - Billboard 200 - 1986". Retrieved 2011-10-24.
Preceded by
Like a Virgin by Madonna
Dutch Mega Chart number-one album
21 September 1985
Succeeded by
Ik zal je nooit vergeten by Koos Alberts
Preceded by
For the Working Class Man
by Jimmy Barnes
Australian Kent Music Report number-one album
21 April - 11 May 1986
Succeeded by
1986 Way to Go by Various artists
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