Listen to the recording of the tune by clicking the attached mp3 file.

RaR40 – Don’t Stand So Close to Me


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Don’t Stand So Close to Me by The Police

Stewart Copeland and Sting (born Gordon Sumner) formed the Police in 1977. Copeland, the American son of a CIA agent, had moved to England to join the progressive rock group Curved Air, but instead, he fell in with Sumner, a schoolteacher and ditch digger who played in jazz-rock bands in his spare time. They recruited a guitarist and began playing in London without much success. At that time most groups in England played either punk or progressive rock; the Police were often hired to play clubs because they looked like a punk band, but they were scorned when club owners and audiences heard their pop-based punk/jazz/reggae fusion. When they couldn’t land a record deal Copeland and his brother founded IRS Records and released a single by the Police; it performed well enough to get the band signed to the powerful A&M label in 1978. Guitarist Henri Padovani soon decided he was not interested in a pop music career and was replaced by Andy Summers, a classically trained veteran of the British blues revival who had played with the Animals and Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band.

A&M released the single “Roxanne” in spring 1978, but the record didn’t sell well. The Police decided to tour the United States that summer, despite not having a hit record; they rented a van and equipment and set out to find an audience. The band’s relentless touring put their next single, and a re-released version of “Roxanne,” on the pop charts.

The album Regatta de Blanc (1979) established the group as stars in England and Europe, but the band did not have a large following in the United States until Zenyatta Mondatta was released in 1980. The single “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” reached number one in the United Kingdom and the top ten in the States, aided by the popularity of another track from Zenyatta Mondatta, “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da.” Before the year ended the Police released another album, Ghost in the Machine, which quickly rose to the top of the charts.

By 1983 the Police were one of the biggest bands in the world. The album Synchronicity entered the charts at number one and yielded four top ten hits; “Every Breath You Take” remains one of best selling singles of all time. The band took some time off following their extensive 1983 world tour; the members drifted apart and took on new projects, and finally announced their dissolution in 1985, after Sting released a successful solo album.

Because Sting once taught music and English, many listeners have assumed that “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” is quasi-autobiographical. However, the lyrics “just like the/old man in/ that book by Nabokov” indicate that the song’s true origin is the novel Lolita, about an older man who falls in love with a thirteen-year-old girl.


A great chorus.
Amazing virtuosity of all members in the group – true to define the term “supergroup”.
Great singing by Sting’s tenor voice.
Complex drumming patterns, meters, and rhythms.
A minimalistic approach to guitar playing and use of synthesizers.
What would you call this music? Punk? New Wave? Reggae?
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Listen to the recording of the tune by clicking the attached mp3 file.


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