4) Sting: If You Love Somebody, Set Them Free

Sting Playing Bass

Favorite Line or Lyric:

You can’t control and independent heart, can’t tear the one you love apart.

I have not been able to get this song out of my head, since I left Denver back on July 31st. My wife, Beth, loves Sting, and I know we have personally contributed to his vast wealth, through her purchases of music and our concert attendance, including 2 stops during the Police Reunion tour!

The song is pretty straight forward. The message is not veiled. In fact, it is all revealed right there in the title. I usually prefer to have to work harder as a listener. Then again, I am a fan of “Rock and Roll all Night and Party Everyday.” So, clearly, I’m not that highbrow!

I suspect, this song, is stuck in my head, because I am currently, away from my family. I am seven days into a 30 day plus, motorcycle trip to Alaska. While going away for up to two weeks is common for me, this is only the second time I have been gone for more than a month. The first time, was back in 2013 when I rode across country from Tennessee to Oregon. This was, thanks to Beth, kicking me out the door to pursue a crazy dream of traversing America, off-road on the Trans-America trail, over a 2-month period.

Beth has been “setting me free,” and I her, for years! It is not always easy, but it makes our relationship even stronger. I am so grateful to her for allowing me to exercise this passion that I have for motorcycle travel. It allows me to be more present when I am home and hopefully will inspire our children towards off-the-beaten-path adventures as they grow up. For anyone who knows our family, I make up for my “selfish” adventures with family adventures as well. In fact, the first time I came to Alaska it was with all of them through the same Inner Channel that I am writing this from. Of course, that boat, had mouse ears, and now I am on the Kennicott ferry.

For my favorite lyric, I could have easily chose the chorus,

If you want to keep something precious
Your got to, lock it up and throw away the key
If you want to hold onto your possession, Don’t even think about me!

It definitely resonates with me. Not wanting to trap someone in a relationship. I have been on both sides of this equation over my many years on this 3rd rock from the sun. Thankfully, may wife and I have a great relationship where we can support each others individual interests and lives. Often they overlap, but when they do not, we can support each other to do our own thing.

The “independent heart” lyrics grabs me more. For me, that is where the poetry is in the song. Many of us want to see ourselves as evolved enough to believe we can love without requiring reciprocation. But, few can be that altruistic. It is in our nature to want to be loved back. It is a lot of work to love unconditionally. I suppose we learn this, to some extent when we become parents. But romantic love can be more difficult. Even when everything clicks, the line between love and possession can get blurred.

Couples often break up, not because the reigns are too loose, and they slip apart, but because they are too tight and break. Launching the couple in opposite directions. Parents can lose years of closeness when they cling too tightly. It is better to have an elasticity, that allows us and the ones we love to stretch in their own direction. and then gently return to each other when they are ready.

The songs overall message of letting go of possessions, emotional or physical, seems to hit me on these long rides. I still carry around way more than I wish I did, emotionally and physically. But, I try to remind myself that is is a journey, a work in progress, and I am out here to enjoy the ride!

Artist: Sting

Song: If You Love Somebody Set them Free

Genre: Rock/Pop

Music Stuff: Off of Sting’s first solo album, he ventured into, at the time, unexpected return to his Jazz routes. He maintained a portion of the reggae sound that had made THE POLICE a monolithic force in 80’s MTV era music. But, gone were the pseudo-punk and rock sounds that many had come accustomed to hearing.

Sting replaced Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers with a handful of respectable jazz musicians, including Brandford Marsalis. Brandford’s decision to join the band was seen, by many purists as a heresy. But years, later when he became Jay Lenno;s tonight show band leader, the Sting gig looked down right respectable!

My favorite album, from Sting, came next. Nothing Like the Sun. It includes, his cover of Jimmy Hendrix’s little wing. That recording is still one of my all time favorites from any artist. It is the song I will listen to when riding. But, when the music’s off and I am left with my thoughts, it is the bouncy “If You Love Somebody Set them Free” that always seems to get stuck in my head. Thanks Universe!!!

Release Year: June 1, 1985

Album(s): Dream of the Blue Turtles


Full Lyrics: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/sting/ifyoulovesomebodysetthemfree.html

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