RELEASE DATE: 01 April 1988
RELEASE COUNTRY: UNITED KINGDOM
Sumner's Tales: Sting talks...
"In the current climate it's becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish 'Democratic Freedom Fighters' from drug dealing apolitical gangsters from Peace Corp workers from Marxist revolutionaries. Ben Linder, an American engineer, was killed in 1987 by the 'Contras' as a result of this confusion."
'Nothing Like The Sun' A&M Press Release, 10/87
"I never tire of singing my songs. I really don't. I love performing. I'm still performing songs I wrote 15 years ago, and I don't really think about it. I think every time you perform a song you have to breathe new life into it, and sometimes the meaning evolves. The meaning of a song like 'Fragile' changes yearly. When I sing it now I think of Bosnia and Yugoslavia."
The Miami Herald, 2/94
"I never tackled an issue, social, political or otherwise, unless there was a metaphor in which to dress it up. I was never into writing propaganda or polemic - 'Fragile' is about the rain, 'They Dance Alone' is about people dancing on their own. Okay, it does have a subtext but you don't have to know it. Now, I am of the opinion that when you write about romantic love it is an analogue for the human condition anyway. It's about connecting human beings, it's about optimism for the future, it's a stake in the future."
The Muse, 09/99
Dominic Miller on being relegated to playing bass on 'Fragile'...
"We joke about it, because Sting is quite proud of the fact that he played guitar on the recording of 'Fragile'. I remember when I first met him and I saw the video. I said to him, 'I thought someone else played that and you where just miming.' I said to him that I thought that it was pretty uncool of him to mime someone else. I said, 'Who actually played it' And he said, 'That was me! THAT WAS FUCKING ME!!' I meet a lot of fans who think that I played it. I tell Sting that I say I did. It really pisses him off! I didn't even know Sting back then. So, his comeback is not letting me play it live. It's been like that for years now and I'm delegated to bass. He says I'm delegated to bass, but then I say, 'Delegated means it's not so difficult.' I say, 'Anyone can play bass.'"
Virtual Guitar Magazine, 10/99
On tour, during the Gulf War...
"What is interesting is that, even though I'm just singing my songs and they have nothing to do with the war, there are interpretations of songs that can change in a certain context. I sing a song like 'Fragile', which has nothing whatever to do with this war, and there's a line that goes, 'Nothing comes from violence, nothing ever could.' In New York and L.A., the reaction has been very positive. People applaud that line. Once we crossed the Mason-Dixon line, played Atlanta, people didn't applaud - it just goes over their heads."
Now Magazine, 3/91
"I was reading about a young American in the Peace Corps in Nicaragua who was shot by the Contras. I felt very sad. This guy had gone to Nicaragua to try to help, and ended up being mistaken, deliberately or otherwise, for a Marxist guerrilla. I think there was a lot of that kind of mistake being made. This idea of fragility was a very important one for me. It's very easy to kill people. It's almost a casual thing. The song's taken on many meanings since then, though. People think its an ecological song, because of my other interests. I suppose they think of the fragile eco-system and think, Sting must be singing about that. But I suppose it's the mark of a good song that it can have many different shades of meaning, so I'm not arguing. I've never written a tree-hugging song in all my years of tree-hugging."
Independent On Sunday, 11/94
"A lot of people think 'Fragile' is some kind of ecological hymn, sort of 'fragile Earth', but it's not. The song was written about a man called Ben Linder who was an American Peace Corps worker in Nicaragua, who was shot by the contras. I thought there was a wonderful irony about this young idealistic American was shot by a US funded bunch of basic gangsters. And I basically wrote about that irony and that sadness."
'All This Time' CDRom, '95
'Fragile' is on 1987's 'Nothing Like The Sun' album and was released as single in April 1988 although, somewhat amazingly, it failed to reach the top 50. Despite this, the song has been an ever present in Sting's set since 1987. Re-recorded in 2001 and released as single from the 'All This Time' album, the song was at the forefront of many people's memories in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks when it seemed to receive constant airplay. A variety of live versions of the track have been released as bonus tracks over the years or on promotional CD's. The 7" single was available with a free poster and was backed by the Portugeuse version of the track 'Fragil', whereas both the 12" and CD single versions of the release featured the Spanish version of the track 'Fragilidad' and the Spanish version of the Jimi Hendrix song 'Little Wing' entitled 'Mariposa Libre'.