Robert Downey Jr., the Oscar-winning actor known for his role in Ironman, takes the lead in singing a hit by The Police, potentially overshadowing Sting.

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Music enthusiasts still marvel at Robert Downey Jr.’s performance at Sting’s 60th birthday celebration. A typical reaction is, “Ironman can sing like that?!”

Downey Jr. remains modest about his acquaintance with Sting, as befits a celebrity of his stature. He recalls their first meeting when he was in his mid-twenties and intrigued by the notion of his own exceptional songwriting abilities. In a staircase after a Sting concert, he attempted to give Sting a demo cassette, catching him off guard.

Trudy Styler, Sting’s wife and a fan of “Less Than Zero,” recognized Robert Downey Jr. As she greeted the young actor, she remarked, “How kind of you to have come.” Until they informed Downey they had retrieved the tape and asked if he wanted it back 25 years later, Sting and Trudy didn’t mention it.

Downey deadpanned the idea that they could rewind the cassette and tape the case shut again if they listened to it. Fortunately, this did not hinder Downey’s appearance at Sting’s 2011 birthday fundraiser.

 

Robert Downey Jr. & Sting – Driven To Tears – Live @ The Beacon Theater

When Downey starts singing, one of the most distinctive rock voices, Nils Lofgren, a former member of the E-Street Band and a solo artist, comes to mind. People also compare him to Robert Palmer.

In the comments, Geena 99 exclaims, “Wow! That is absolutely mind-blowing!” Very talented! Who would have thought that Mr. Tony Stark could sing such challenging Sting tunes with such a voice! “I’ve listened to this song dozens of times; what can’t this man do?” 850thx says with equal enthusiasm. “Speechless!” is all Miles says. There was no clue.

In 2016, Howard Stern conducted a more in-depth interview with Downey than usual. “Driven to Tears” is a song by the Police from the 1980s album “Zenyatta Mondatta,” and he said that Sting had ruined it for him because he was so impressed by Downey’s vocals. Sting, whom Downey described as a “practically perfect” performer, mentored and tested him during rehearsals. Many readers of Music Man are aware that this was not Sting’s first collaboration with Downey. They saw it on Ally McBeal.

In the Ally McBeal episode “Cloudy Skies, Chance of Parade,” which aired on April 30, 2001, featured a fantastic duet. A cuckolded husband sues Sting, who happens to be in town during the episode. Larry Paul, portrayed by Downey, serves as Sting’s lawyer and goes to great lengths to make up for missing Ally’s birthday. Fortunately, Sting volunteers to perform with Larry to assist him after learning about Larry’s absence from his girlfriend’s birthday. Holy cow!

While Downey sings during the duet with Sting, that’s not his only singing involvement. He has appeared on various film soundtracks, including Chaplin (1992), Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005), and The Singing Detective (2003). “The Futurist” was Downey’s 2004 solo album, featuring eight original songs and receiving a 3.5/5 rating on Allmusic, with mixed reviews. However, Downey announced it as his last solo effort due to the time it took away from his family. One of Robert Downey Jr.’s most commercially successful recordings is a cover of Joni Mitchell’s “The River,” performed on an Ally McBeal Christmas episode in 2000, included on the album Ally McBeal: A Very Ally Christmas. If you haven’t listened to it yet, why not give it a try?

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