Every Breath You Take was written by Police. This arrangement is by Bob Hooper.
The lyrics are the words of a character of dubious nature, who is watching “every breath you take; every move you make”. I woke up in the middle of the night with that line in my head, sat down at the piano and had written it in half an hour. The tune itself is generic, an aggregate of hundreds of others, but the words are interesting. It sounds like a comforting love song. I didn’t realize at the time how sinister it is. I think I was thinking of Big Brother, surveillance and control.
Sting later said he was disconcerted by how many people think the song is more positive than it is. He insists it’s about the obsession with a lost lover, the jealousy and surveillance that follows. “One couple told me ‘Oh we love that song; it was the main song played at our wedding!’ I thought, ‘Well, good luck.” When asked why he appears angry in the music video Sting told BBC Radio 2, “I think the song is very, very sinister and ugly and people have actually misinterpreted it as being a gentle, little love song.”
According to the Back to Mono box-set book, “Every Breath You Take” is influenced by a Gene Pitney song titled “Every Breath I Take”. The song’s structure is a variation on the Classical rondo form with its AABACABA structure, a form rarely found in modern popular music.
The demo of the song was recorded in an eight track suite in North London’s Utopia studios and featured Sting singing over a Hammond organ. While recording, Summers came up with a guitar part inspired by Béla Bartók that would later become a trademark lick, and played it straight through in one take. He was asked to put guitar onto a simple backing track of bass, drums, and a single vocal, with Sting offering no directive beyond “make it your own”.
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