Sting’s moon walk was more of a stroll around the room

  • by: Patrick Kidd
  • From: The Times
  • August 29, 2013

Sting in New York in 2008. Source: AP

THE video was filmed at Kennedy Space Centre and featured the band’s drummer hitting the Saturn V rocket, but Sting has revealed that Walking on the Moon, a No 1 hit for the Police in 1979, has nothing to do with lunar landings.

In fact, the song was originally called Walking Round the Room and was supposed to be a metaphor for being in love, but Sting changed it to a more profound title.

Walking on the Moon was written walking round a Munich hotel room as Walking Round the Room,” Sting reveals in a new book called Isle of Noises: Conversations with Great British Songwriters. “I woke and had that bass riff in my head and started walking round the room. ‘Walking on the Moon’ seemed a useful metaphor for being in love, that feeling of lightness, of being able to walk on air. It’s an old idea.”

A similar story lies behind one of Paul McCartney’s most memorable songs for the Beatles. He dreamed of the melody to Yesterday, but initially wrote it with the lyrics “Scrambled eggs / Oh my baby, how I love your legs”.

Sting, 61, also reveals in the book that he had not realised Every Breath You Take, the fifth and final No 1 the Police had in Britain, was so dark until he had completed the lyrics.

“My intention might have been to write a romantic song, seductive, enveloping and warm,” he says. “Then I saw another side of my personality was involved too, about control and jealousy, and that’s its power. It was written at a difficult time.”

Sting, who was ninth among musicians on The Sunday Times Rich List with an estimated fortune of £180 million ($313.5m), admits he is known for rhymes that are “a bit dodgy”. He says: “It’s called feminine rhyme and it’s used for humorous purposes. I’m often lambasted for rhyming ‘shake and cough’ with ‘Nabokov’ (inDon’t Stand So Close to Me), which amuses me. I know ‘I see you’ve sent my letters back / And my LP records, and they’re all scratched’ doesn’t rhyme. It’s meant to be funny. It’s from a moment in my life. I’ve only been jilted once, but boy did it hurt.”

He adds: “Songwriters are conduits to songs from the ether. We don’t really write songs. They pre-exist. We find them like archeologists. Even though I’ve put the work in, they seem like they’re already there.”

Sting, who left the Police in 1983, writes at home in a garden shed. “I’ll set out for two hours, go for a perambulation then come back and write something down then go off again. Have a bite to eat. When I’m being creative I need a place to call home, otherwise you just spiral off.”

The Times