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  • Lyrics
  • Written by Sting
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780307421999
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Lyrics

Written by StingAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Sting

eBook

List Price: $13.99

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On Sale: July 16, 2009
Pages: | ISBN: 978-0-307-42199-9
Published by : The Dial Press Random House Group
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

From the first Police album, Outlandos D'Amour, through Sacred Love, here are the collected lyrics written by Sting, along with his commentary.


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt

Publishing my lyrics separately from their musical accompaniment is something that I've studiously avoided until now. The two, lyrics and music, have always been mutually dependent, in much the same way as a mannequin and a set of clothes are dependent on each other; separate them, and what remains is a naked dummy and a pile of cloth. Nevertheless, the exercise has been an interesting one, seeing, perhaps for the first time, how successfully the lyrics survive on their own and inviting the question as to whether song lyrics are in fact poetry or something else entirely. And while I've never seriously described myself as a poet, the book in your hands, devoid as it is of any musical notation, looks suspiciously like a book of poems.

So it seems I am entering, with some trepidation, the unadorned realm of the poet. I have set out my compositions in the sequence they were written and provided a little background when I thought it might be illuminating. My wares have neither been sorted nor dressed in clothes that do not belong to them; indeed, they have been shorn of the very garments that gave them their shape in the first place. No doubt some of them will perish in the cold cruelty of this new environment, and yet others may prove more resilient and become perhaps more beautiful in their naked state. I can't predict the outcome, but I have taken this risk knowingly and, while no one in their right mind should ever attempt to set "The Waste Land" to music, in the hopeful words of T. S. Eliot, “These fragments I have shored against my ruins.”

—Sting


OUTLANDOS D'AMOUR (1978)

Next to You

So Lonely

Roxanne

Hole in My Life

Peanuts

Can't Stand Losing You

Truth Hits Everybody

Born in the '50s

*

Visions of the Night

Our first album as the Police was recorded piecemeal in a rundown studio above a dairy in Leatherhead. We had been together as a band for roughly a year by then. Some of the songs had been written for my previous band, Last Exit, and adapted for the new one. Others had been composed while touring, and some were created during rehearsals or while recording.

We weren't signed to a record company yet, and none of us had any money, so we used some secondhand tapes that we found in our manager's garage and recorded very late at night, for an even cheaper studio rate: moonlighting only after another band had left.

We'd work until the coffee ran out and we were bleary-eyed and delirious with exhaustion and the absurdity of our arguments.

I'd drive back to London in my battered old Citroën in a kind of euphoria, with these tunes thundering in my head, yelling improvised lyrics at the top of my voice to the empty road and the stars twinkling sceptically above the rooftops.

I'd get back to my flat in Bayswater just as the sun was coming up through the trees in Hyde Park, thinking that these were some of the best days and weeks of my life. I'd try to scribble down whatever I'd been declaiming in the car and then go to sleep for the rest of the morning.

The afternoon would be spent trying to make sense of these fragments and working on them until early evening so that I would have something presentable that night.

I was happy because I'd dreamed about this, this making of an album, for as long as I'd owned a guitar, strummed my first chord, and rhymed my first couplet. It was almost too much to absorb.

There's no grand concept at work in this album, just a loose collection of dreams, fragments and fantasies, low doggerel and high dudgeon, sense and nonsense, anger and romance, all welded together by the bluff and bluster of a new band.

We were insane in our optimism, and we were never happier.


Next to You

I can't stand it for another day
When you live so many miles away
Nothing here is gonna make me stay
You took me over, let me find a way

I sold my house
I sold my motor, too
All I want is to be next to you
I'd rob a bank
Maybe steal a plane
You took me over
Think I'm goin' insane

What can I do
All I want is to be next to you
What can I do
All I want is to be next to you

I've had a thousand girls or maybe more
But I've never felt like this before
But I just don't know what's come over me
You took me over, take a look at me

What can I do
All I want is to be next to you
What can I do
All I want is to be next to you

All I want is to be next to you
All I want is to be next to you
All I want is to be next to you

So many times I used to give a sign
Got this feeling, gonna lose my mind
When all it is is just a love affair
You took me over, baby, take me there
What can I do
All I want is to be next to you
What can I do
All I want is to be next to you
What can I do
All I want is to be next to you
What can I do
All I want is to be next to you

All I want is to be next to you . . .

*****

I wrote these lyrics while I was in Last Exit and then grafted them shamelessly onto the chords from Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry." This kind of musical juxtaposition—the lilting rhythm of the verses separated by monolithic slabs of straight rock and roll—pleased the hell out of me. That we could achieve it effortlessly just added to the irony of a song about misery being sung so joyously.

It was something of a coup when someone pointed out to BBC television that, because of my poor diction, I seemed to be singing the name of a popular TV presenter, Sue Lawley, and not "So lonely." It was played on national television as an homage to Sue, but we didn't complain. Blessings are often unexpected.


So Lonely

Well, someone told me yesterday
That when you throw your love away
You act as if you don't care
You look as if you're going somewhere

But I just can't convince myself
I couldn't live with no one else
And I can only play that part
And sit and nurse my broken heart

So lonely
So lonely
So lonely
So lonely

So lonely
So lonely
So lonely
So lonely . . .

Now no one's knocked upon my door
For a thousand years or more
All made up and nowhere to go
Welcome to this one-man show

Just take a seat they're always free
No surprise no mystery
In this theatre that I call my soul
I always play the starring role

So lonely
So lonely
So lonely
So lonely

So lonely
So lonely
So lonely
So lonely . . .

A friend of mine bought a sheet of lyrics for "Roxanne" that had turned up in a collection of memorabilia, and he asked me to verify if it was genuine.

"Well, that's my handwriting," I said, "and those are my doodles": three clocks–one at five to four, another at ten past six, and one sidelong that looks to be showing eight o'clock–a sundial, an hourglass, five sets of five-bar gates that prisoners use to mark the passing of the days, some kind of whirlwind vortex spinning in the top right-hand corner, and a spear or an arrowhead. I imagine I was drawing these as I was listening back to various takes of the vocals, but I don't know what they mean.

I wrote "Roxanne" in Paris in 1977. The band was staying in a seedy hotel near the Gare Saint-Lazare. I had a set of descending chords starting in G minor and a melancholy frame of mind. Inspired by the romance and sadness of Edmond Rostand's great play Cyrano de Bergerac and the prostitutes on the street below my window, "Roxanne" came to life.

I've sung this song on most of the nights of my life since then, and it's my job to sing it with the same freshness and enthusiasm as if I'd written it that afternoon and not thirty years previously. I always manage to find something new in it and I'm still grateful.


Roxanne

Roxanne
You don't have to put on the red light
Those days are over
You don't have to sell your body to the night

Roxanne
You don't have to wear that dress tonight
Walk the streets for money
You don't care if it's wrong or if it's right

Roxanne
You don't have to put on the red light
Roxanne
You don't have to put on the red light

Roxanne (Put on the red light)
Roxanne (Put on the red light)
Roxanne (Put on the red light)
Roxanne (Put on the red light)
Roxanne (Put on the red light)
Roxanne

I loved you since I knew you
I wouldn't talk down to you
I have you to tell just how I feel
I won't share you with another boy

I know my mind is made up
So put away your makeup
Told you once I won't tell you again
It's a bad way

Roxanne
You don't have to put on the red light
Roxanne
You don't have to put on the red light

Roxanne (Put on the red light)
Roxanne (Put on the red light)
Roxanne (Put on the red light)

*****
Copyright © 2007 by Steerpike (Overseas) Limited. ((etc))


From the Hardcover edition.

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