|Single by The Police|
|from the album Outlandos d'Amour|
|Released||April 7, 1978|
|Format||Vinyl record (7")|
|Genre||Reggae rock, new wave|
|Producer||Stewart Copeland, Sting, Andy Summers|
|The Police singles chronology|
"Roxanne" is a hit song by the rock band The Police. Written by Sting, the song was released in 1978 as a single and on their album Outlandos d'Amour. It was written from the point of view of a man who falls in love with a prostitute. On re-release in 1979, the song peaked at number 12 on the UK Singles Chart.
Police lead singer Sting wrote the song, inspired by the prostitutes he saw near the band's seedy hotel while in Paris, France in October 1977 to perform at the Nashville Club. The title of the song comes from the name of the character in the play Cyrano de Bergerac, an old poster of which was hanging in the hotel foyer.
Sting had originally conceived the song as a bossa nova, although he credits Police drummer Stewart Copeland for suggesting its final rhythmic form as a tango. During recording, Sting accidentally sat down on a piano keyboard in the studio, resulting in the atonal piano chord and laughter preserved at the beginning of the track. The Police were initially diffident about the song, but Miles Copeland III was immediately enthusiastic after hearing it, becoming their manager and getting them their first record deal with A&M Records. The single did not chart, but when re-released in April 1979, it reached #12 in the UK Singles Chart. In the US, the single entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart in February 1979 and peaked at #32 in April. The song went on to become a staple of Sting's performances during his solo career, and was also performed when The Police reunited in 2003 for their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
There were three different music videos released for "Roxanne". The first shows the band performing the song on a stage on what is perhaps a sound check to a show. Many slow motion shots of the group live appear here as well. The second version was shot on a soundstage and shows the band performing before a red backdrop. The third version is identical to the second except the footage was transferred from videotape to film and has a grainy quality to it.
|Canadian RPM Top Singles||31|
|Irish Singles Chart||22|
|Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)||21|
|Netherlands (Mega Single Top 100)||19|
|New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)||8|
|UK (Official Charts Company)||12|
|US Billboard Hot 100||32|
|US Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks||28|
- Sting - bass, lead vocals, backing vocals
- Andy Summers - guitar, backing vocals
- Stewart Copeland - drums, backing vocals
7": A&M / AMS 7348 (UK)
- "Roxanne" - 3:00 (Sting)
- "Peanuts" (single edit) - 2:52 (Stewart Copeland, Sting)
In popular culture
- In the 1980s-1990s, this song was used as the intro to Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update" with Dennis Miller.
- In 2001, the song was one of the many remixed covers in the film Moulin Rouge!, named "El Tango de Roxanne", which was combined with the tango composition "Tanguera" by Mariano Mores.
- The Arctic Monkeys song "When the Sun Goes Down", refers to Roxanne in the lyrics: and he told Roxanne to put on her red light.
- In the US sitcom Community, the song plays as a running gag throughout the episode "Remedial Chaos Theory".
Other cover versions
- In 1997, Sting re-recorded the song with rapper Puff Daddy as "Roxanne '97 (Puff Daddy Remix)" for the compilation album The Very Best of Sting & The Police. Only the 1997 A&M and 1998 PolyGram releases have this song, as it is omitted in the 2002 Universal Music re-release.
- In 1997, Michael Franti & Spearhead covered the song in the film Good Burger during the introduction of a female character with the same name.
- In 1997, British reggae group Aswad covered the song on their album Big Up.
- In 1997, saxophonist Warren Hill covered the song on his album Shelter.
- In 1999, George Michael covered the song on his album Songs from the Last Century.
- In 2000 rapper Cam'ron sampled "Roxanne" for his single "What Means The World to You?".
- In 2003, Fall Out Boy covered the song in the deluxe version of Take This To Your Grave.
- In 2003, Sherbert covered the song with Matt Lightbourn on vocals, remixed by [Jimmy Gomez] and [Cricco Castelli]
- In 2004 Incubus performed a version of the song on the occasion of their semi-acoustic live set at KROQ with Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers as guests.
- In 2005, British group Flying Pickets delivered an a cappella version of the song on their album "Everyday".
- In 2008, Idina Menzel covered the song on her "I Stand" Summer Tour. She also performed the song on her 2010-2011 Symphony Tour as a mashup with Cole Porter's Love For Sale, which appears on her live album "Live: Barefoot at the Symphony."
- In 2009, the song was parodied by Flight of the Conchords in You Don't Have to be a Prostitute, in episode 2 of their second television series.
- In 2012, the song was covered by singer Juliet Simms for the reality television show, The Voice. Her cover reached #86 on the Billboard Hot 100.
- In 2012, Bruno Mars sampled the song on his song "Locked Out of Heaven".
- Version by Johanna (YouTube) — Maybe Icelandic girl singer Jóhanna Guðrún Jónsdóttir, a.k.a Yohanna
- "1979 Top 40 Official UK Singles Archive - 19th May 1979". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
- "Grammy Hall of Fame Award. Grammy.org. Retrieved 21 December 2012
- Sting (2003). Broken Music. Simon & Schuster.
- Hodgson, Peter (October 12, 2010). Oops! 10 Great Rock and Roll Bloopers, Lifestyle.
- "Roxanne in Canadian Top Singles Chart". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
- Dominic DURAND / InfoDisc. "Roxanne in French Chart". Retrieved 7 June 2013. NB : You have to use the index at the top of the page and search "The Police"
- "Roxanne in Irish Chart". IRMA. Retrieved 7 June 2013. Only one result when searching "Roxanne"
- "Nederlandse Top 40 – The Police search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
- "Dutchcharts.nl – The Police – Roxanne" (in Dutch). Mega Single Top 100.
- "Charts.org.nz – The Police – Roxanne". Top 40 Singles.
- "Outlandos d'Amour awards on Allmusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
- "Lescharts.com – The Police – Roxanne" (in French). Les classement single.
- "Never Can Say Goodbye:Tribute to Michael Jackson overview". Allmusic.com.