"Every Breath You Take" is a song by The Police on the band's 1983 album Synchronicity, written by Sting. The single entered the charts at position 36 on 4 June 1983. The single was one of the biggest hits of 1983, topping the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for eight weeks and the UK Singles Chart for four weeks. It also topped the Billboard Top Tracks chart for nine weeks.
At the 26th Annual Grammy Awards the song was nominated for three Grammy Awards including Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Sting won Song of the Year while The Police won Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, meanwhile it did not win Record of the Year.
The song ranked No. 84 on the Rolling Stone list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time the highest position of any new wave rock song. It also ranked No. 25 on Billboard's Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs. The song is considered to be The Police's signature song, and in 2010 was estimated to generate between a quarter and a third of Sting's music publishing income.
In the USA, Every Breath You Take was the best-selling single of 1983 and fifth best-selling single of the decade.
- 2 Music video
- 3 Track listing
- 4 Personnel
- 5 Charts and sales
- 6 Legacy
- 7 Samples and cover versions
- 8 Appearance in other media
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
The lyrics are the words of a sinister, controlling character, who is watching "every breath you take; every move you make".
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 realize 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's 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 toldBBC 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."
According to the Back to Mono box-set book, "Every Breath You Take" is influenced by a Gene Pitney song titled "Every Breath I Take". The song's structure is a variation on the Classical rondo form with its AABACABA structure, a form rarely found in modern popular music.
The demo of the song was recorded in an eight track suite in North London's Utopia studios and featured Sting singing over a Hammond organ. While recording, Summers came up with a guitar part inspired by Béla Bartók that would later become a trademark lick, 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."
The recording process was fraught with difficulties as personal tensions between the band members, particularly Sting and Stewart Copeland, came to the fore. Producer Hugh Padgham claimed that by the time of the recording sessions, Sting and Copeland "hated each other", with verbal and physical fights in the studio common. The tensions almost led to the recording sessions being cancelled until a meeting involving the band and the group's manager, Miles Copeland (Stewart's brother), resulted in an agreement to continue. The drum track was largely created through separate overdubs of each percussive instrument, with the main backbeat created by simultaneously playing a snare and a gong drum. Keyboard parts were added from Roland guitar synthesisers, a Prophet-5 and an Oberheim synthesiser. The single-note piano in the middle eight was recommended by Padgham, inspired by similar work that he had done with the group XTC.
The song had a music video (directed by duo Godley & Creme) that was praised for its black-and-white cinematography. Both MTV (1999) and VH1 (2002) named it as one of the best music videos ever, placing it 16th and 33rd in their respective top 100 lists. Daniel Pearl won the first MTV cinematography award for his work on the video.
- A&M / AM 117
- "Every Breath You Take" – 4:13
- "Murder By Numbers" – 4:31
- A&M / AM 117
- "Every Breath You Take" – 4:13
- "Murder By Numbers" – 4:31
- "Man In A Suitcase" (live) – 2:18
- "Truth Hits Everybody '83" -3:34
- rare 2x7" single
- Sting – lead and backing vocals, bass guitar, keyboards
- Andy Summers – guitar, piano
- Stewart Copeland – drums
In 1999, "Every Breath You Take" was listed as one of the Top 100 Songs of the Century by BMI. In 2003, VH1 ranked the song the #2 greatest Break-up song of all time. And also as of 2003, Sting was still taking in an average of $2000 per day in royalties for the then 20-year-old song "Every Breath You Take."
In October 2007, Sting was awarded a Million-Air certificate for 9 million airplays of "Every Breath You Take" at the prestigious BMI Awards show in London, with only Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl" a close second at 8 million air plays.
Six months after the release of "Every Breath You Take", singer Ray Parker, Jr. released the single "I Still Can't Get Over Loving You", the lyrics of which bore a striking similarity to "Every Breath You Take", even including the lines "Every breath you take, I'll be watching you."
|1983||Mason Dixon||reached #69 on the Hot Country Songs charts|
|1984||"Weird Al" Yankovic||"Weird Al" Yankovic in 3-D||a polka interpretation in his medley "Polkas on 45"|
|1986||Gloria Gaynor||The Power of Gloria Gaynor|
|1986||The Shadows||Moonlight Shadows||instrumental|
|1994||Sergio Blass (ex-Menudo)||Sergio||remade as "Siempre te amaré"|
|1997||Puff Daddy||No Way Out||sampled the opening riff for his hit "I'll Be Missing You", a tribute to the late fellow rapper The Notorious B.I.G..|
|1999||Melanie Safka||Millenium Collection|
|1999||Millencolin||The Melancholy Collection|
|2000||Juliana Hatfield||Beautiful Creature|
|2001||Daniel Johnston||Rejected Unknown||an excerpt appears in the song "Davinare"|
|2002||Scala & Kolacny Brothers||On The Rocks (Belgian version)|
|2002||Philip Quast||Live at the Donmar||combined with the song "I'm on Fire"|
|2004||UB40||50 First Dates soundtrack|
|2005||Scala & Kolacny Brothers||On The Rocks (International version)|
|2005||Madonna||Confessions On A Dance Floor||sampled in the track Get Together|
|2007||Copeland||Dressed Up & In Line|
|2007||Andy Williams||I Don't Remember Ever Growing Up|
|2008||Tina Arena||Songs of Love & Loss 2|
|2009||Jessa Zaragoza||Sings the Great Musical Icons Volume I|
|2009||David May featuring Kelvin Scott||released under the title "I'll Be Watching You"|
|2012||Floortje Smit||Finalist "The Voice of Holland"|
|2012||Sunflower Dead||Self-titled Album||Metal version|
|2012||Thelma Aoyama feat. Brian McKnight||My Covers||original title: "Every Breath You Take" duet with Brian McKnight|
|2013||Paddy Kelly (ex-Kelly Family)||In Live. Solo & unplugged|
|2014||Naya Rivera & Lea Michele||Non-album single||The song was covered for Glee'sfifth season spring premiere episode, Frenemies by Naya Rivera and Lea Michele|
- In 1984, a version of the song was used for a sequence at the end of the first series of the satirical puppet show Spitting Image. The title was altered to "Every Bomb You Make", and alternate lyrics were written by Quentin Reynolds and James Glen. The video featured puppets of several world leaders projected over a setting sun. On the line "I'll be watching you", the puppet of Death appears. Sting himself performed the re-recording.