The song was performed regularly on the early Police tours, and Sting later included it during his 'Broken Music' tour in 2005–2006. It was the song performed for the second encore during The Police's 2007 Reunion tour. In the Paris show (on September 29), former band member Henry Padovani joined the band on stage to play this song. "Next to You" is the last song The Police played live together.
When Sting originally presented the song to his bandmates, they felt it was not aggressive nor political enough for the early punk sensibility of The Police. Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland suggested replacement lyrics, but Sting vetoed them and kept his original love song. The song also includes a slide guitar solo by Summers, which Copeland had dismissed as "old wave."
Additionally, the song appears in the music video gameRock Band as a playable track. For gameplay reasons, the song was also edited to have a proper ending, rather than just fading out as the song does on Outlandos d'Amour.
The song was also covered by Anthrax, and appears on their "Taking the Music Back" single. The Foo Fighters have also performed the song on their tours.
Donots covered the song on their 2006 compilation CD "The Story So Far."
Down By Law covered the song on their 1993 "DC Guns" 7" EP.
Australian band Bodyjar covered the song on their 1996 album, "Rimshot".
Serbian punk rock band Džukele (lit. Stray Dogs) have covered the song on their 1996 debut CD/MC "Gledajući u Mrak" (lit. Staring into Darkness). However, they discarded the original lyrics and replaced them with completely unrelated Serbian ones, renaming the song to "Opasan Grad" (lit. Dangerous Town) in process.