Walking on the Moon

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This article is about the 1979 song performed by The Police. For the 2009 song performed by The-Dream, see Walkin' on the Moon.
"Walking on the Moon"
Single by The Police
from the album Reggatta de Blanc
B-side "Visions of the Night"
Released November 1979
Format Vinyl record (7")
Recorded 1979
Genre
Length 5:02
Label A&M - AMS 7494
Writer(s) Sting
Producer(s) Nigel Gray, Stewart Copeland, Sting, Andy Summers
Certification Gold (BPI)
The Police singles chronology
"Message in a Bottle"
(1979)
"Walking on the Moon"
(1979)
"Bring on the Night"
(1979)
Alternative covers
French 7-inch single cover
Audio sample
file info · help

"Walking on the Moon" is a 1979 song by The Police, from their second album, Reggatta de Blanc. Released as a single in 1979, the song was written by Sting when he was drunk. It has since become a number one UK hit for the band, and it has appeared on numerous compilation albums.

The song has also been covered by numerous musicians, including Christian McBride, Intwine, and William Shatner.

Background[edit]

Sting said that he wrote the song when he was drunk one night after a concert in Munich. That following morning, he remembered the song and wrote it down.[1][2]

I was drunk in a hotel room in Munich, slumped on the bed with the whirling pit when this riff came into my head. I got up and started walking round the room, singing 'Walking round the room, ya, ya, walking round the room'. That was all. In the cool light of morning I remembered what had happened and I wrote the riff down. But 'Walking Round the Room' was a stupid title so I thought of something even more stupid which was 'Walking On the Moon'.

—Sting, L'Historia Bandido, 1981[2]

In his autobiography, Sting alludes that the song was partially inspired by an early girlfriend:[3]

Deborah Anderson was my first real girlfriend...walking back from Deborah's house in those early days would eventually become a song, for being in love is to be relieved of gravity.

—Sting, 2003[2]

According to Sting, the song was originally recorded "as a rocker" in early versions, but it was reworked.[2] The riff, which is played on the bass, was described as "weird" and "jazzy" by Sting.[2] The chord "which hits after the bass notes" throughout the song, was invented by guitarist Andy Summers.[2]

"Walking on the Moon" was released as the follow-up single to the British number one single, "Message in a Bottle," in late 1979. The song was The Police's second number-one hit single in the United Kingdom.[4] It also reached number nine in Australia but the single didn't chart in the United States.

The B-side to the song, "Visions of the Night," was written by Sting. Sting said of the song, "This was the first song I wrote after going to London. It was hard to be serious about the whole thing. I was bemused, much to Stewart [Copeland]'s disgust."[2] According to Copeland, the song was "too cerebral for [the band's] early audiences," so Sting would call it 'Three O'Clock Shit', the title of a rejected Police song that appears as 'Three O'Clock Shot' on Strontium 90: Police Academy.[2]

A music video for the song was shot at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on 23 October 1979. It features the band members miming to the track amidst spacecraft displays, interspersed with NASA footage. Both Sting and Andy Summers strum guitars (not bass) in the video, and Stewart Copeland strikes his drumsticks on a Saturn V moon rocket.

Composition[edit]

"Walking on the Moon" has a "sparse" arrangement, centred around a four note bass riff.[2] Sting performs lead vocals on the song. It is one of The Police's more reggae-influenced songs.

Personnel[edit]

Track listing[edit]

7" A&M / AMS 7494 (UK)
  1. "Walking on the Moon" (Edit) - 3:59 (This edit has yet to appear on CD anywhere)
  2. "Visions of the Night" - 3:05
12" A&M / AMSP 7494 (UK)
  1. "Walking on the Moon" - 4:59
  2. "Visions of the Night" - 3:05

Charts[edit]

Chart (1979–80) Peak
position
Australian Kent Music Report[5] 9
Canadian RPM Top Singles[6] 65
Dutch Singles Chart 8
French Singles Chart 9
Irish Singles Chart 1
Italian Singles Chart 2
New Zealand Singles Chart 12
Spanish Singles Chart 20
UK Singles Chart 1

Cover versions[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fielder, Hugh; Sutcliffe, Phil (1981). The Police l'historia bandido. North Bellmore, N.Y: Proteus. ISBN 0-906071-77-1. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "'Walking on the Moon' / 'Visions of the Night'". sting.com. 
  3. ^ Sting (2003). Broken music: a memoir. New York: Dial Press. ISBN 0-385-33678-0. 
  4. ^ The Police in the UK Charts, The Official Charts.
  5. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  6. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 12 February 2014. 
  7. ^ ¡Policia! - A Tribute to the Police - Overview. Allmusic.com.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"When You're in Love with a Beautiful Woman" by Dr Hook
UK Singles Chart number-one single
December 8, 1979
Succeeded by
"Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)" by Pink Floyd