Sting and Robert Downey, Jr. Perform a Police Song
We know this thanks to a clip from the former Police frontman’s 60th birthday party, which also served as an all-star gala paying tribute to the 25th anniversary of his solo recording career. As Rolling Stone reports, the lineup included Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder — and Downey, who strolled onstage to join the birthday boy for a performance of the 1980 Police song ‘Driven to Tears.’
Although the performance was taped in 2011, this clip is just making the rounds now, and it’s still every bit as entertaining — not to mention surprising, at least for people who have somehow missed Downey’s periodic musical forays. His first single, an electronic-driven cover of Charlie Chaplin’s ‘Smile,’ came out following his starring role in the 1992 ‘Chaplin’ biopic; several years later, his role on the Fox series ‘Ally McBeal’ led to appearances on the show’s soundtrack albums.
Downey released his first full-length album, ‘The Futurist,’ in 2004, teaming with the Sony Classical imprint to record an ambitious, jazz-tinged assortment of originals and covers (including a version of Yes‘ ‘Your Move’) that included contributions from such talented musicians as Mark Hudson, bassist Charlie Haden and drummers Gregg Bissonette and Vinnie Colaiuta. “It’s certainly not a simpleton deal, you know what I’m saying?” Downey told the Guardian at the time. “There’s no stopping the human spirit once you decide to dispel a belief you have about your own inabilities.”
While ‘The Futurist’ failed to set the charts on fire, peaking at No. 121 on Billboard’s album chart, it wasn’t for lack of talent on Downey’s part. Check him out in the above clip and see for yourself.