“Every Breath You Take” is one of the most misunderstood songs of all time. Sting wrote the song while he had just divorced his first wife, Frances Tomelty. The split was controversial, as he had began a relationship with Tometly’s friend Trudie Styler who lived next door in West London at the time. In order to escape the backlash of the media, String headed to the Goldeneye estate in Oracabessa, Jamaica.
The lyrics tell the story of a possessive and obsessed lover, who is watching the person he loves every time they take a breath or move. In an interview in 1993, Sting said that he “didn’t realise at the time how sinister it is. I was thinking of Big Brother, surveillance and control.” Later, Sting also openly stated that he was concerned by how many people thought the song was a love song and extremely positive, leading to him insisting that was about a darker or scary side of love, consisting of jealousy and the concept of possession. He told BBC Radio 2: “One couple told me ‘Oh we love that song; it was the main song played at our wedding!’ I thought, ‘ Well, good luck.” The track has been played over 9 million times on the radio.
The music video was directed by duo Godley & Crème, and is shot in black and white. The band is singing the song, with Sting looking very angry throughout the video, and is shown in a darkened ballroom with a man washing the large window behind them. The music video won them the 1983 Best Cinematography award at the MTV Video Music Awards. The music video has almost 600 million views on YouTube.
Release Date: 20th May 1983
Producer/s: The Police, Hugh Padgham
Music Video Director: Godley & Creme
Chart Rankings, Certifications & Awards: It hit #1 in the US, UK, South Africa, Ireland and Canada, as well as reaching the Top 10 in Austria, Australia, Belgium, Finland, Italy, France, Finland, New Zealand, Norway, Spain and the Netherlands. It has Gold certification in the UK, US and Italy. It is also #84 on the Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”, and is also the winner of the Grammy Awards 1984 “Best Song of the Year” and “Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals”. It has also been listed as one of the “Top 100 Songs of the Century” by the BMI.