Sting

Biggest hit Don’t Stand So Close To Me (Police) September 1980 – No 1; ten weeks in chart.

Biggest Album Regatta De Blanc, October 1979 – No 1; 74 weeks in chart

I’m famous for couplets that are a bit dodgy. It’s called feminine rhyme and it’s used for humorous purposes. I’m often lambasted for rhyming ‘shake and cough’ with ‘Nabokov’ (The Police’s Don’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.

Walking On The Moon was written walking round a Munich hotel room, as ‘walking round the room’. I woke and had that bass riff in my head (hums bass line) 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.

I wrote the refrain ‘Every breath you take’, then worked back. Then once I’d written and performed it, I realised it was quite dark. My intention might have been to write a romantic song, seductive, enveloping and warm. 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.

I think songwriters are conduits to songs from the ether. There’s a danger of grandiosity, but we don’t really write songs. They pre-exist. We find them like archaeologists. Even though I’ve put the work in, they seem like they’re already there.

I rarely see my own records. I don’t think I own them. I’m not  into memorabilia. I don’t collect things. Music is very much now. I listened to them too many  times when I was mixing and making them; I don’t really want to listen again. I’m always surprised when I hear them by accident in a shop or a bar.

I don’t structure my life to coincide with inspiration. You can create chaos and mayhem and heartbreak as a way of stimulating creative juices. I don’t want to do that. I want to live a calm, quiet, balanced life. I’m not inviting mayhem, but mayhem comes anyway. It would be very cynical to go through a crisis and think, ‘Mmm, this is good; 9/11, whoopee!’ When you look back, you may think, ‘What is my reaction to that? How can I express that? How can I have a useful viewpoint that other people would find interesting?’

Sting_Locarno 2_ _The Police _Lawrence Impey

The Police by Lawernce Impey

I don’t write when I’m touring. I like one place I can sit and orbit. I go home and I have a little 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.

I was very influenced as a child by church music. I used to sing Gregorian chants and plainsong as an altar boy. A lot of my melodies might reflect that love and my early exposure to that stark, melodic narrative. Message In A Bottle reflects that, too.

When I moved to London in 1975, I was struggling to make a living. I auditioned at the Zanzibar in Covent Garden. I sang Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic and the guy said: ‘We need commercial hit songs. We don’t need this kind of stuff.’

I’m fortunate the instrument I have, my voice, has a wide range, wider than most people’s. I’m not saying that with hubris. Having that landscape to work in, my melodies can soar or swoop. Singing high helps to carry you across the noise of drums or PA. Most rock singing is pretty high. Brian Johnson of AC/DC has a high voice to get across that level of noise.

Sting II

‘I think songwriters are conduits to songs from the ether. There’s a danger of grandiosity, but we don’t really write songs. They pre-exist.’

Sting I

I understand you wrote “Walking on the Moon” in a Munich hotel with the original words “walking in the room”.

I did! I do remember waking up in Munich, it’s amazing you know that, and I had that bass riff in my head and I started walking round the room. You can’t have “walking round the room”! Walking on the moon” seemed a useful metaphor for being in love, that feeling of lightness, of just being able to walk on air. It’s an old idea. So from that refrain I just worked backwards, so 1969: “Giant steps are what you take”, one giant step for mankind … It’s not meant to be serious.

 

By | 2013-12-10T17:06:52+00:00 December 10th, 2013|Songwriters|0 Comments

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