Walking on the Moon

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"Walking on the Moon"
Walkingonthemoon.jpg
Single by The Police
from the album Reggatta de Blanc
B-side"Visions of the Night"
Released4 November 1979
Format7-inch single
Recorded1979
Genre
Length5:02
LabelA&M
Songwriter(s)Sting
Producer(s)
The Police singles chronology
"Message in a Bottle"
(1979)
"Walking on the Moon"
(1979)
"Bring on the Night"
(1979)
Audio sample
Alternative cover
French 7-inch single cover
French 7-inch single cover

"Walking on the Moon" is a song by English rock band The Police, released as the second single from their second studio album, Reggatta de Blanc (1979). The song was written by the band's lead vocalist and bassist Sting when he was drunk. It went on to become the band's second number one hit in the UK.

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] Guitarist Andy Summers came up with the chord "which hits after the bass notes" throughout the song.[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 one in Ireland and number nine in Australia but the single didn't chart in the United States. 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.

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]

Composition[edit]

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

Track listing[edit]

7" A&M / AMS 7494 (UK)
  1. "Walking on the Moon" (Edit) – 3:59 (This edit has never been officially released on CD.)
  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

Personnel[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

The song is mentioned in the episode of Only Fools and Horses called The Long Legs of the Law. Rodney is dating a policewoman by the name of Sandra, whom he invites to the Trotters' flat. Granddad informs Sandra that Rodney has a Police Record, to which Del Boy states the name of the song by The Police.

The song is also mentioned in Series 2, Episode 4 of Phoenix Nights. The Phoenix Club holds a Quiz Night, and the regulars are asked to give the title of the song that is currently being played by the host. He plays Take My Breath Away by Berlin. However, when Max and Paddy try to attempt answering the quiz from outside, Max considers the answer to be Walking on the Moon.

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 Archived 26 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine., 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.

External links[edit]