Sting pays tribute to Great North Road's role in rock history
Sting has paid tribute to a motorway for carrying some of Britain's greatest rockers on their journey to stardom, as he picked up an award.
The Newcastle-born singer said the Great North Road, now known as the A1, provided passage for numerous artists and bands from the North East to London in search of their lucky break.
Such is his reverence for the highway he has penned a song, Heading South On The Great North Road, dedicated to all musicians, successful or otherwise, who travelled down it.
Speaking as he collected the BMI Icon award on Monday, the former teacher described how he took a "leap of faith" and headed down the motorway before joining The Police.
"I couldn't make it in Newcastle," Sting said.
"I had to leave home and make that journey 300 miles south to right here in London, with little more than an old guitar, a bag of dreams and a notebook full of songs.
"Well I shared that leap of faith, that leap in the dark, that same journey, with many others from my part of the world - some of us were successful.
"Eric Burdon and The Animals, Brian Johnson of AC/DC, Mark Knopfler from Dire Straits, Trevor Horn who's here tonight, Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music, Lindisfarne and my dear friend Jimmy Nail.
"While there were many of us who didn't have the same good fortune, all of us had the same fortune but we all had to travel south down the same road."
The track features on Sting's 12th solo album, 57th And 9th, due out on November 11.
Also honoured at the star-studded ceremony at the Dorchester Hotel was Ed Sheeran, whose hit Thinking Out Loud was named song of the year.