The Police: “Roxanne”

ALBUM: Outlandos d’Amour

YEAR: 1978


Peaked at number-32 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1978, but launched the group’s career in America and became a classic.

Sting originally wrote “Roxanne” as a Brazilian bossa nova on acoustic guitar. Guitarist Andy Summers explains what happened next. “We worked on it in rehearsal and Stewart turned the beat around and he started to play it like a reggae thing and I played the four on the bar and it started to come to life. And it became one of three or four songs that we had. And then when we made the first album, we recorded it and [their manager] Miles Copeland was coming to hear what we were up to and we were loath to play him this song because we were, ‘Oh God, he’s gonna hate this,’ because it wasn’t the fast, violent punk song we were supposed to be doing at the time to be politically correct. Much to his credit, we played this and he immediately picked it out. He said, ‘That is a great song, that’s the one.’”

The Police signed its first recording deal with A&M Records 39 years ago today (March 22nd, 1978).


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