Is Sting feeling the “Barbenheimer” effect?

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Sting is not on the Barbie soundtrack, but he did — albeit inadvertently — inspire Christopher Nolan to make the movie Oppenheimer. Now, he’s reaping the benefits of “Barbenheimer” mania.

As previously reported, Nolan has said in several press interviews that he first became interested in J. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb and the subject of Oppenheimer, while growing up in the ’80s. Amid mounting fears of a nuclear war, Nolan said, he heard Sting’s 1986 hit “Russians,” which contains the lyric, “How can I save my little boy/ from Oppenheimer’s deadly toy?”

Now Billboard reports that streams of “Russians,” which appears on Sting’s debut solo album, The Dream of the Blue Turtles, are trending up. For the week ending July 27, the song posted a 48% gain, according to Luminate, the company that tracks streaming and sales numbers for Billboard.

This is the second time in recent years that “Russians” seems to reflect the zeitgeist. In March 2022, Sting released a new charity version of the song in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Proceeds go to HelpUkraine.center, a volunteer storage center set up by Ukrainian business owners to receive humanitarian and medical aid from all over the world.

“I’ve only rarely sung this song in the many years since it was written, because I never thought it would be relevant again,” Sting said in a statement at the time. “But, in the light of one man’s bloody and woefully misguided decision to invade a peaceful, unthreatening neighbor, the song is, once again, a plea for our common humanity.”

In the song’s chorus, Sting sings, “What might save us me and you/ is if the Russians love their children too.”

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