Don't Stand So Close to Me (4:03)

Cover of The Very Best of Sting and The Police

From The Very Best of Sting and The Police and 63 other releases

“Don’t Stand So Close to Me” is a 1980 song and hit single by the British rock band The Police. It concerns a schoolgirl’s crush on her young teacher and the teacher’s nervousness about the situation. The Police won the 1982 “Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal” for this song. A re-recorded version of the song was released in 1986 as “Don’t Stand So Close to Me ‘86”.

The song deals with the mixed feelings of lust, fear and guilt that a school teacher has for a female student and vica verse, and inappropriateness leading to confrontation.

The music and lyrics of the song were written by the lead singer of The Police, Sting, who had previously worked as an English teacher. In a 2001 interview for the concert DVD …All This Time, Sting denied that the song is autobiographical.

The line “Just like the old man in that book by Nabokov” alludes to Vladimir Nabokov’s famous novel Lolita which covers somewhat similar issues.

Sting was asked to perform on Mark Knopfler’s “Money for Nothing” as he was in Montserrat at the time, and reused the melody from the chorus of “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” in the counterpoint lyric ‘I want my MTV’. It was only after this story was related to reporters during promotions for the Brothers in Arms album that lawyers for Sting became involved, and later copies of the album co-credit the song to Sting. The initial pressings list only Mark Knopfler.

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