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Every Breath You Take
Song

Every Breath You Take

The Police
Album:
Synchronicity

Song Meaning of Every Breath You Take by The Police, and what it is about


For their biggest hit, The Police went back to basics, with a riff from guitarist Andy Summers recorded in one live take. Sting has stated that the lyrics are not tender but bitter.


"Every Breath You Take" was wrote and sang by Sting and recorded by the English rock band The Police fror their album Synchronicity in 1983


"Every Breath You Take" is the Police's and Sting's signature song, and in 2010 was estimated to generate between a quarter and a third of Sting's music publishing income.


In May 2019, it was recognised by BMI as being the most played song in radio history.

Sting wrote the song in 1982 in the aftermath of his separation from Frances Tomelty and the beginning of his relationship with Trudie Styler.


Their split was controversial. As The Independent reported in 2006, "The problem was, he was already married – to actress Frances Tomelty, who just happened to be Trudie's best friend. Sting and Frances lived next door to Trudie in Bayswater, West London, for several years before the two of them became lovers. The affair was widely condemned."


To escape the public eye, Sting retreated to the Caribbean. He started writing the song at Ian Fleming's writing desk on the Goldeneye estate in Jamaica.


The lyrics are the words of a possessive lover who is watching "every breath you take; every move you make". Sting recalled:


I woke up in the middle of the night with that line in my head, sat down at the piano and had written it in half an hour.


The tune itself is generic, an aggregate of hundreds of others, but the words are interesting. It sounds like a comforting love song. I didn't realise at the time how sinister it is. I think I was thinking of Big Brother, surveillance and control.”


Sting later said he was disconcerted by how many people think the song is more positive than it is.

He insists it is about the obsession with a lost lover, and the jealousy and surveillance that follow.

"One couple told me 'Oh we love that song; it was the main song played at our wedding!' I thought, 'Well, good luck.'"


When asked why he appears angry in the music video, Sting told BBC Radio 2, "I think the song is very, very sinister and ugly and people have actually misinterpreted it as being a gentle little love song, when it's quite the opposite. Hence so".


While recording, guitarist Andy Summers came up with a guitar part inspired by Béla Bartók, and played it straight through in one take. He was asked to put guitar onto a simple backing track of bass, drums, and a single vocal, with Sting offering no directive beyond "make it your own".

Summers said:


This was a difficult one to get, because Sting wrote a very good song, but there was no guitar on it. He had this Hammond organ thing that sounded like Billy Preston.


It certainly didn't sound like the Police, with that big, rolling synthesizer part. We spent about six weeks recording just the snare drums and the bass.


It was a simple, classic chord sequence, but we couldn't agree how to do it. I'd been making an album with Robert Fripp, and I was kind of experimenting with playing Bartok violin duets and had worked up a new riff. When Sting said 'go and make it your own', I went and stuck that lick on it, and immediately we knew we had something special.


The recording process was fraught with difficulties as personal tensions between the band members, particularly Sting and drummer Stewart Copeland.


The single was the biggest US and Canadian hit of 1983, topping the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart (the band's only No. 1 hit on that chart), and the Canadian RPM Chart. Their fifth UK No. 1, it topped the UK Singles Chart.


At the 26th Annual Grammy Awards, the song was nominated for three Grammy Awards, including Song of the Year, Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, and Record of the Year, winning in the first two categories. The also won an Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.


Lyrics of Every Breath You Take by The Police


Every breath you take

And every move you make

Every bond you break

Every step you take

I'll be watching you

Every single day

And every word you say

Every game you play

Every night you stay

I'll be watching you

 

Oh, can't you see you belong to me?

How my poor heart aches with every step you take

 

Every move you make

And every vow you break

Every smile you fake

Every claim you stake

I'll be watching you

 

Since you've gone, I've been lost without a trace

I dream at night, I can only see your face

I look around, but it's you I can't replace

I feel so cold, and I long for your embrace

I keep crying baby, baby, please

 

Mm, mm, mm, mm

Mm, mm, mm

 

Oh, can't you see you belong to me?

How my poor heart aches with every step you take

 

Every move you make

And every vow you break

Every smile you fake

Every claim you stake

I'll be watching you

Every move you make

Every step you take

I'll be watching you

 

I'll be watching you

 

(Every breath you take)

(Every move you make)

(Every bond you break)

(Every step you take)

I'll be watching you

 

(Every single day)

(Every word you say)

(Every game you play)

(Every night you stay)

I'll be watching you

 

(Every move you make)

(Every vow you break)

(Every smile you fake)

(Every claim you stake)

I'll be watching you

 

(Every single day)

(Every word you say)

(Every game you play)

(Every night you stay)

I'll be watching you

 

(Every breath you take)

(Every move you make)

(Every bond you break)

(Every step you take)

I'll be watching you

 

(Every single day)

(Every word you say)

(Every game you play)

(Every night you stay)

I'll be watching you

 

(Every move you make)

(Every vow you break)

(Every smile you fake)

(Every claim you stake)

I'll be watching you

 

(Every single day)

(Every word you say)

(Every game you play)

(Every night you stay)

I'll be watching you

Release Date

1983

Songwriter/s

Sting

Producer/s

The Police, Hugh Pudgham

Label/s

A&M

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