Released in 1978 from their album “Outlandos d’Amour”, “Roxanne” is a standout track from famous British rock band “The Police”. Written by the leader singer and bassist Sting (real name Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner), “Roxanne” is about a man who falls in love with a prostitute, trying to convince her to stop her profession: “you don’t have to sell your body to the night”.
Sting was inspired by prostitutes he saw near the hotel in Paris that the band were staying in in October 1977, and the name came from a character in play “Cyrano de Bergerac” that the band saw hanging in their Paris hotel foyer.
Sting originally branded the track as a “bossa nova”, which is a form of Brazilian music. Sting does credit drummer Stewart Copeland for the suggesting that the final rhythm sound more tango in form. The sudden piano noise and laugh right before the first verse is actually a result of Sting accidentally sitting down on a piano keyboard in the recording studio.
The music video for the track is the band performing the song in Atlanta, Georgia. Uploaded by the “ThePoliceVEVO” YouTube channel in August 2010, which now has over 65 million views.
Release Date: 7th April 1978
Producer/s: The Police
Chart Rankings, Awards & Certifications: In 2008, the track was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, is #388 in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s “500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll” ranked by Rolling Stone, and in 2000 VH1 ranked the track at #85 on its list of “100 Greatest Rock Songs” and #90 on their “100 Greatest Songs of the Past 25 Years”, which was release in 2003. The song performed extremely well in the charts upon its release and after – but not just in the US and UK (where it made it to #32 on the Billboard Hot 100 and#12 in the UK Singles), but also in countries such as Australia, the Netherlands and New Zealand.