Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sting - Unoriginal Talentless Lyrics Thief (a.ka. Questions Google doesn't know the answer to)

Let's face it, there aren't many of these questions. But this is one.

Sting has a hit song, 'Englishman in New York'.

Wikipedia notes that the song was apparently written about Quentin Crisp. The song itself is okay, but it's the lyrics that are interesting. You can find a copy of them here.

So what's the problem?

The problem is that I'm quite certain that most of the lines (and in fact all the interesting lines) are taken from a poem of the same name, "An Englishman in New York". It's not credited anywhere, and I can't find it anywhere online. I can't even find any acknowledgement that it exists online. I don't remember who wrote it.

I remember seeing a poster of the original poem in the library in high school and thinking it was great. The poster was on a black background, and had a big green apple with a bite out of it behind the text, and a white silhouette of a man. I found the Sting song afterwards, recognised it as a blatant rip-off, and went searching for the original poem.

Except that now I can't find it. Most of the lyrics overlap, so the phrases tend to have a lot in common. The only phrase I know that's not directly in the song is
"If manners maketh man then I'm an alien, I'm a legal alien, an Englishman in New York".
Sting broke this up into two parts, thereby ruining the flow of the line. The best bit, and he couldn't get it right.

Seach ' "Englishman in New York" poem ' and you get the Sting stuff.

Search ' "Englishman in New York" poem -Sting ' and you get a bunch of stuff about Quentin Crisp instead. 

Search ' "Englishman in New York" poem -Sting -Crisp' and you get random peoples thoughts on stuff (lots of posts from people who like the idea of themselves being an Englishman in New York) with much higher pageranks than this poem, which apparently doesn't exist.

Search the precise phrase ' "If manners maketh man then I'm an alien" ' and you get nothing.

Search '"englishman in new york" sting lyrics rip-off stolen poem ' and you get stuff about lines he's ripped from William Blake, but nothing on this one.

So how do you know I'm not crazy, or making this up? How do you know the poster I remember wasn't just a transcription of the song?

I can offer only two bits of evidence. One, the aforementioned phrase that's not actually in the song, and I'm certain I didn't imagine - I would be very unusual to just put together two random lines in the song in my memory, given they're not even near each other in the song (and make much more sense together than apart).

Secondly, Sting himself offers a very sly allusion. The line in his song is:
"If manners maketh man as someone said"
He's acknowledging that at least part of this song isn't his own. Which isn't surprising. Do you think the guy who penned such inspiring lyrics as 'Every step you take, I'll be watching you'. 'Oh can't you see, you belong to me, how my poor heart aches, with every breath you take'? Puke. He wouldn't even know what a legal alien is if he hadn't ripped off the lyrics from someone else. He has to admit that 'maketh' isn't his own, because NOBODY would believe he came up with that.

Yes "someone said" it, you asshole! Someone you stole the lyrics from and who's now getting no credit!! Someone who doesn't exist even on the internet! How low do you have to get to not exist on the internet? I'm nobody, and I've got my own blog that's read by at least my Dad! This guy wrote an ass-kicking poem that got turned into a famous song, and he's a non-person, while that no-talent loser claims credit as a poetic genius.

You may have got away with this fraud so far Sting, but the internet never forgets.

I've never bothered editing Wikipedia yet, but if I find out what the original poem is, I'm going to make an account to call you a thief and a fraud.


  1. I know where it came from. I know where most his stuff comes from. I read.

    I maketh my point.

    1. Well, enlighten us all, Mr McCabe! Inquiring minds that are too lazy to read as widely as you want to know.

  2. Questions Google doesn't know the answer to)Your havin a laugh. Type in "manners maketh the man" and you will find your answer. Also remember "History ,will teach you nothing."

    Sting nicks his stuff by reading and 2 of his favourites are Shakespeare and The Bible. He also nicks music. Just listen to "Russians" and you know he not the classical composer on that track yet makes a wonderful song from it. There are dozens of examples in his work only you are too lazy to find them.

    An unoriginal talentless blogger is what you are who doesnt know his arse from his elbow.