leejohnson's current selection is:
by The Police
by The Police
Very catchy tune, I thought when I first heard this. For some reason it always reminds me of walking along the coast road between Brighton and Worthing in 1979 with my first wife, our four-year-old daughter holding onto the pushchair containing my less-than-two-year-old baby son. I have no idea why though. I had always thought 'The Police' had started out inauspiciously in my music memory, but perhaps "Roxanne" was subconsciously more memorable than I thought.
This song is about a man who falls in love with a prostitute and gets all "Pretty Woman" on her, telling her she deserves better and should find a more decent profession. Sting got the idea after walking through the red-light district of Paris when the band was in town to play a club called The Nashville, where he saw prostitutes for the first time. He imagined what it would be like to fall in love with one of them, figuring some of them must have boyfriends.
This was the first major-label release by 'The Police', who were struggling at the time. A year earlier, they had released the single "Fall Out" on an independent label owned by Stewart Copeland's brother (and the band's manager), Miles. It was a flop, and the group felt a lot of pressure to produce something that would keep them off the dole (assistance).
When they convened at Surrey Sound Studios outside London in January 1978, it was with a new guitarist, Andy Summers, as original member Henry Padovani had quit the band. They recorded "Roxanne" with producer Nigel Gray, who owned the studio. Sting liked the song but didn't think it would be a hit, as it was far more brooding than their other material. Miles Copeland thought differently - he was far more impressed with "Roxanne" than with anything else they recorded at those sessions, and insisted it be the single. Miles got a distribution deal for the song with 'A&M Records', getting no advance, only royalties from sales.
The song was released in the UK on April 7th 1978, but didn't garner much attention. It was also largely ignored in the US when it was released there on February 24th 1979, but 'The Police' soldiered on with a tour of America anyway. When a disc jockey in Austin stared playing the song, it got a great response and other radio stations added it to their playlists. The song became a minor hit, peaking at No. 32 on April 28th. It also got some attention in the UK around this time, peaking at No. 12 on May 19th 1979, over a year after it was first released.
Certainly a slow-burner, as you can see by the chart info above. Unlike my first marriage, which was a fast-burner - it started in 1974 and was burnt out by 1980!
1978 - A&M Records - United Kingdom - Charted in 1979 - From the album "Outlandos d'Amour".
Posted: 20th August 2019