Thursday, December 10, 2015

"Every Breath You Take" by The Police

#1 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Grammy Alert!
Rated 10 Alert!
Song#:  1486
Date:  06/04/1983
Debut:  36
Peak:  1 (8 weeks)
Weeks:  22
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  This trio had their biggest hit to-date when "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" hit #3 in 1981. It helped to make their album Ghost in the Machine their best showing as well (#2, multi-platinum). After a brief respite, the band got back together to record what would end up being their final LP, Synchronicity. By this point they were already worldwide stars, but the new album would take them to a whole new level of stardom. It all began with this biting first single that debuted within the Top 40. With the help of a heavily rotated MTV video, the song skyrocketed to #1 (#1 Rock, #5 AC) and stayed there for a solid eight weeks. It would become the #1 chart single of the year and the best-selling single of the year. The album was hugely successful peaking at #1 for seventeen weeks. It would receive a Grammy nod for Album of the Year, but it happened to be the same year as Michael Jackson's Thriller sweep. This song would be nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year with Sting taking home the trophy for Song of the Year. The band would also walk away with one more trophy for Best Pop Vocal Group.

ReduxReview:  I think what made this such a hit was its cross-genre/cross-generation appeal and the fact that it was a simple song. It has an easy chord structure under a great melody that most anyone can sing and remember. It is near perfect pop. The odd thing is how misinterpreted the lyrics are. The tune is about an obsessed stalker, yet many folks hear it as a love song. It has even been played at weddings. If I was getting married and my partner suggested this for a wedding song, I'd probably run away. I was already diggin' The Police at the time, but this song and album made me a big fan (along with millions of others...).


Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Around this time the band was not getting along and tensions were high. Each member ended up recording their part in separate rooms. Sting and Stewart Copeland were really at odds and their arguments became more intense and started coming to blows. At one point during the recording of this song, the band almost pulled the plug on the whole thing. But their manager (who happened to be Copeland's brother Miles) intervened and the band agreed to move ahead.  2) In 1997, Puff Daddy recorded his tribute song to The Notorious B.I.G. "I'll Be Missing You," which samples this song. It was a case of do now, ask forgiveness later as Puff Daddy released the song without getting permission from Sting to use the sample. Luckily, it worked out fine and Sting got a writing credit. The song would top the chart for 11 weeks. Combine those weeks with the 8 from the song's original release, and at 19 weeks the composition could be considered the longest running #1 in chart history, based on multiple recordings. (By contrast, the single that has spent the most weeks at #1 was the Boyz II Men/Mariah Carey duet "One Sweet Day," which spent 16 weeks at #1 beginning in 1995.)


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