Meaning of the song Every Breath You Take – The Police

Every Breath You Take has become the most famous song of the British rock band The Police. Listeners considered it a tender composition about love, and for three decades, happy newlyweds have been dancing to it at numerous weddings.

Only now, Sting, writing music and words, was overwhelmed with not at all touching feelings and put into the text of the song a meaning that by no means corresponded to such a joyful event.

History and meaning of the song Every Breath You Take – The Police

Sting remembers well how he worked on the composition:

I woke up in the middle of the night with this line running through my head. I sat down at the piano and in half an hour composed a song. The melody itself is generalized – a collection of hundreds of others, but the words are interesting. It sounds like a comforting love song. I didn’t realize then how sinister she was. I think I was thinking about Big Brother, surveillance and control. It was the Reagan era, the Star Wars years.

The Independent, 1993

He composed Every Breath You Take during his separation from Frances Tomelty, his first wife. Subsequently, he denied any connection between the lyrics of the song and his personal life, but admitted that music helped him overcome such a difficult period.

Most listeners are still convinced that Every Breath You Take is a cute love song, which Sting never ceases to amaze with:

It seems to me that this is an evil song, even an ominous one. It’s about jealousy, surveillance and ownership… I think the double entendre plays a big role in the song, however you interpret it, because the lyrics are so sadistic. On the surface, it’s a nice, long song with classic parallel minor chords, but behind it all lies an obnoxious character that talks about spying on every step. I love this ambiguity.

New Musical Express, 1983

In an interview with BBC Radio 2, he spoke about Every Breath You Take in a similar vein:

I think this song is very, very sinister and terrible. Oddly enough, people misunderstood it as a tender love song, although it is just the opposite.

Recording and release of the single

The Police recorded Every Breath You Take at London’s Utopia Studios, where they were working on the Synchronicity album. By that time, the relationship between the musicians was extremely tense, which complicated the creative process. Several times they were going to give up on everything and refuse a new record, but nevertheless they completed it.

The song was released as the first single from the album Synchronicity and climbed to the top of many charts, including the Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart. In 1984, she received two Grammy Awards.

Every Breath You Take is included in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Every Breath You Take – The Police

The music video was directed by the directorial duo Godley & Creme.

Interesting Facts

  • Perhaps Sting wrote Every Breath You Take under the influence of Gene Pitney’s Every Breath I Take.
  • Several lines from Every Breath You Take were parodied by Sting in the song Love Is the Seventh Wave.

Every Breath You Take

Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
I’ll be watching you

Every single day
Every word you say
Every game you play
Every night you stay
I’ll be watching you

O can’t you see
You belong to me
How my poor heart aches
With every step you take

Every move you make
Every vow you break
Every smile you fake
Every claim you stake
I’ll be watching you

Since you’ve gone I’ve been lost without a trace
I dream at night I can only see your face
I look around but it’s you I can’t replace
I feel so cold and I long for your embrace
I keep on crying baby, baby please

O can’t you see
You belong to me
How my poor heart aches
With every step you take

Every move you make
Every vow you break
Every smile you fake
Every claim you stake
I’ll be watching you

Every move you make
Every step you take
I’ll be watching you x9

Every Breath You Take Lyrics Sting, Police

Behind every breath you take
Behind your every move
Behind every promise you don’t keep
Behind every step you take
I will follow

Every day
Behind your every word
Behind your every novel
Behind your every night
I will follow

Oh don’t you understand
that you belong to me
How my heart aches
For every step you take

Behind your every move
Behind every vow you break
Behind every one of your fake smiles
Behind your every claim
I will follow

Since you left I’ve been hopelessly lost
At night I only dream of your face
I’m looking everywhere but I can’t find a replacement for you
I’m so cold and I want to be in your arms
I keep crying and crying, baby, baby please

Oh don’t you understand
that you belong to me
How my heart aches
For every step you take

Behind your every move
Behind every vow you break
Behind every one of your fake smiles
Behind your every claim
I will follow

Behind your every move
Behind every step you take
I will follow

Song quote

A couple of weeks ago I was watching on TV Andy Gibb and some girl singing it very tenderly and generally misunderstood it. I still have words in my ears that aren’t about love at all. I didn’t peed myself laughing.

Sting, New Musical Express, 1983

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