Meaning of “Englishman in New York” by Sting

Englishman in New York is a song performed by English singer and songwriter Sting. The self explanatory lyrics of the song talk about the life of an Englishman who has moved from his native England to live in New York, the United States. The “Englishman” in the song is the famous English gay icon, writer and actor Quentin Crisp, who was the inspiration of the song.  In 1986, Crisp relocated from London, England to Manhattan, New York, and Sting wrote the song shortly after Crisp’s relocation.

In Sting’s 2007 book titled Lyrics, the singer said he felt so homesick the first time he moved to live in New York that he was forced to move from one English pub to the other just so he could meet with other Englishmen and enjoy the feeling of being home.

Our favorite lyrics from “Englishman in New York”

Sting is noted for being one of the finest lyricists of his generation. And in this song, he exhibits his lyrical prowess with several very profound lyrics. Going through the lyrics of the song, we picked the following lines as our favorites:

 

 Englishman in New York lyrics.

Facts about “Englishman in New York”

  • Englishman in New York was written by Sting.
  • Sting spent a number of days with English gay icon and writer Quentin Crisp in New York before penning the song.
  • The song’s production was handled by Sting and Neil Dorfsman.
  • Three world renowned musicians played on the track – Manu Katché on drums, Branford Marsalis on soprano saxophone and Mino Cinelu on percussion.
  • The song was released as the third single from Sting’s second studio solo album titled …Nothing Like the Sun.
  • Despite only peaking at the 84th and the 51st positions on the US Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart respectively, the song remains one of Sting’s most successful and most recognized songs.
  • The video of Englishman in New York, which was shot completely in black-and-white, featured the “Englishman” himself Quentin Crisp.
  • In 1990, Dutch DJ Ben Liebrand released a remix of the song, which ended up being more commercially successful in the UK charts than Sting’s original version.
  • Since the song came out in 1987, it has been covered several times by a several artists, including the English-born reggae singer Shinehead, who changed the song’s title to Jamaican in New York. In 1993, Shinehead’s cover reached number 30 in the UK Singles Chart.

 

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