Music lovers are still in awe of Robert Downey Jr.’s performance at Sting’s 60th birthday party. “Ironman can sing – like that?!” is a typical reaction. Downey Jr. is modest about his acquaintance with Sting, as is fitting for a celebrity of his ilk. He recounts their initial encounter as occurring when Downey was in his mid-twenties and captivated by the idea that he has exceptional songwriting abilities. In the staircase after a Sting concert, he tried to palm a demo cassette onto Sting. It caught Sting off guard.

As a fan of Less Than Zero, Sting’s wife Trudy Styler was able to spot Robert Downey Jr. As she greeted the young actor, she remarked, “How kind of you to have come.” Until they informed Downey they had recovered the tape and asked if he wanted it back, 25 years later, Sting and Trudy didn’t bring it up. Downey deadpanned the idea that they could rewind the cassette and tape the case shut again if they listened to it. Thankfully, this was not an obstacle to Sting’s 2011 birthday fundraiser, where Downey was featured.

One of the most distinctive rock voices, Nils Lofgren, a former member of the E-Street Band and a solo artist, comes to mind whenever Downey begins singing. People also bring up Robert Palmer. In the comments, Geena 99 says, “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. D “Speechless!” is all Miles says. There was no clue.

In 2016, Howard Stern interviewed Downey in a more in-depth manner than usual. Driven to Tears is a song by the Police from 1980’s Zenyatta Mondatta, and he said that Sting had destroyed it for him because he was so taken aback by Downey’s vocals. Nothing would sway Downey. Sting, who 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. You saw it on Ally McBeal.

Cloudy Skies, Chance of Parade, an episode of the comedy Ally McBeal that debuted on April 30, 2001, included that fantastic duet. A cuckolded husband sues Sting, who happens to be in town during the episode. Larry Paul, played by Downey, is Sting’s lawyer, and he has to go to extraordinary lengths to make up for missing Ally’s birthday. Thankfully, Sting volunteers to perform with Larry in order to help him out after learning that Larry will be absent from his girlfriend’s birthday. Holy cow!

Although Downey does sing during the duet with Sting, that is not her only singing involvement. Among his many film soundtrack appearances are those of Chaplin (1992), Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005), and The Singing Detective (2003). The Futurist was Robert Downey Jr.’s 2004 solo effort. The album, which featured eight original songs and received a 3.5/5 rating on Allmusic, was met with mixed reviews. However, Downey announced that it was his last solo effort due to the time it took away from his family. One song that Robert Downey Jr. sang on an Ally McBeal Christmas episode is the most commercially successful recording of his career. Included on the 2000 album Ally McBeal: A Very Ally Christmas was this cover of “The River” by Joni Mitchell. Everyone who reads Music Man is probably listening. Why not try it out?

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