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Andy Summers says he thought Every Breath You Take sounded “corny”: “It was a million miles from The Police”

“‘We’re better than this’. This is what I thought,” says the guitarist.

Andy Summers performing

Image: Kevin Mazur / Getty Images

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Andy Summers has opened up about his initial reaction to one of The Police’s greatest songs of all time, Every Breath You Take.

Recalling his career with the iconic rock band in a recent chat with Rick Beato, Summers says that despite the song’s immense popularity, he actually wasn’t a fan of Every Breath You Take when he first heard it.

In fact, the guitarist admits that he found the song “corny” at first, describing the track’s creation process as “another difficult moment”.

“Because we had the song and Sting had got this guy that we didn’t get on with—this French synthesizer player—and it was like big rolling synthesizer chords,” Summers explains. “It didn’t sound—it was a million miles from the Police. And that was it, that was what we’ve got to hang on to.”

“I didn’t like it. I always thought ‘this is a corny pop song. I don’t really wanna play this. This is beneath us. We’re better than this’. This is what I thought. I was more into [American jazz musician] Thelonious Monk.”

“It went on for weeks. This argument between Sting and [drummer] Stewart [Copeland] about where the kick drums should go blah blah blah… until we had some sort of semblance of something.”

The band eventually got the guide vocals down, after which Summers received the directive from Sting to “go on, go in there, make [the song] your own”.

“So it’s a pretty simple chord sequence,” he adds. “There’s nothing to it. It’s really simple and straight right, so I went in and said ‘okay, one take.’”

“I just play the whole song like that. They all stood up and applauded in the recording room then the manager turned and went ‘What’s that? That’s going straight to number one.’”

He adds the members were going to “abandon” the song—“we weren’t even going to keep it on the album,” says the rocker, “But once I played that guitar line, that was it. It went straight to number one… and stayed there for eight weeks.”

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