Walking on the Moon
|"Walking on the Moon"|
|Single by The Police|
|from the album Reggatta de Blanc|
|B-side||"Visions of the Night"|
|Format||Vinyl record (7")|
|Label||A&M - AMS 7494|
|Producer(s)||Nigel Gray, Stewart Copeland, Sting, Andy Summers|
|The Police singles chronology|
"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.
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
In his autobiography, Sting alludes that the song was partially inspired by an early girlfriend:
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
According to Sting, the song was originally recorded "as a rocker" in early versions, but it was reworked. The riff, which is played on the bass, was described as "weird" and "jazzy" by Sting. The chord "which hits after the bass notes" throughout the song, was invented by guitarist Andy Summers.
"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. 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." 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.
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.
- 7" A&M / AMS 7494 (UK)
- "Walking on the Moon" (Edit) - 3:59 (This edit has yet to appear on CD anywhere)
- "Visions of the Night" - 3:05
- 12" A&M / AMSP 7494 (UK)
- "Walking on the Moon" - 4:59
- "Visions of the Night" - 3:05
|Australian Kent Music Report||9|
|Canadian RPM Top Singles||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|
- The British soul/funk band Hot Chocolate recorded a version for their album Everyone's a Winner.
- American alt-rock band Incubus occasionally covered a small part during the bridge of their song Calgone in live performances from 1998-2000.
- Christian McBride recorded an instrumental version on his 2000 album Sci-Fi, featuring James Carter on bass clarinet.
- Musician Jimmy Nail (also from Sting's hometown of Newcastle upon Tyne) released a cover in 2001.
- Seattle-based digital hardcore band Rabbit Junk included a cover of the song on their 2004 self-titled debut.
- German techno group Scooter sampled The Police original in the song, "Privileged to Witness", from the 2005 album Who's Got the Last Laugh Now?
- ¡Policia! - A Tribute to the Police (2005) contains a cover by The Pale.
- Cas Haley, runner up for America's Got Talent, does a reggae cover of the song on his self-titled debut album, released February 14, 2008.
- Dutch rock band Intwine recorded two cover versions. The first one was released in 2009 on their studio album Kingdom of Contradiction, and also featured guest vocals by Sarah Bettens. The second version was captured on their 2010 EP The Original Acoustic Rumshop Sessions Vol I.
- American progressive rock/jam band Umphrey's McGee occasionally performs strongly reggae-influenced covers of this song during live sets.
- Canadian rock band Darkest of the Hillside Thickets recorded a cover version on Great Old Ones.
- Jam Band The String Cheese Incident recorded a live cover version for their album Trick or Treat
- Merrie Amsterburg recorded a cover version on her album Season of Rain
- William Shatner recorded a cover version with Toots Hibbert on Shatner's 2011 album Seeking Major Tom.
- Homer Simpson sang a version on The Simpsons Season 23 episode "The Falcon and the D'ohman", with his own lyrics about working on Springfield Nuclear Power Plant.
- The German Comedians Michael Mittermeier and Badesalz covered the song on Mittermeier's album Mittermeier & Friends
- French band Roseaux recorded a version of the song in 2012, featuring American soul singer Aloe Blacc on vocals.
- Fielder, Hugh; Sutcliffe, Phil (1981). The Police l'historia bandido. North Bellmore, N.Y: Proteus. ISBN 0-906071-77-1.
- "'Walking on the Moon' / 'Visions of the Night'". sting.com.
- Sting (2003). Broken music: a memoir. New York: Dial Press. ISBN 0-385-33678-0.
- The Police in the UK Charts, The Official Charts.
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
- "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
- ¡Policia! - A Tribute to the Police - Overview. Allmusic.com.
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