Every Breath You Take

Every Breath You Take

The Police

“Every Breath You Take” is, to this day, still perceived to be a love song. However, the lyrics are actually spoken from a character with sinister intent. During the time Sting wrote this song, he had just divorced his first wife, Frances Tomelty. While his intention may have been to write a sweet, emotional love song from the beginning, he was soon realizing that he was entering into a dark place that fought for control and surveillance. Being in the midst of the Cold War, at that time, did not help the situation.

Musically, the track features a minimal arrangement. Sting’s bass, Stewart Copeland’s drums, and Andy Summers‘ guitar round out the basic tracks with added synths, piano, and recording effects to boost the production. This was at a time where the band were having conflicts on a regular basis which almost caused producer Hugh Padgham to quit and the recording to cease.

Regardless of the turmoil during the recording, “Every Breath You Take” was a worldwide success. The music video, directed by Godley & Creme, even won the band the first Best Cinematography award at the 1983 MTV Video Music Awards. The song also stands as the signature song of The Police and has been played more than 9 million times on radio.

It was also:

  • The best-selling single of 1983, and the fifth best-selling single of the 1980’s in the United States
  • Winner of the 1984 Best Song of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals Grammy awards
  • #84 on the Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
  • It topped the Billboard Top 100 for 8 weeks and the UK singles chart for 4 weeks