Roxanne (3:12)

Cover of The Very Best Of Sting And The Police

From The Very Best Of Sting And The Police and 122 other releases

Roxanne is a hit song by the rock band The Police, first released in 1978 as a single and on their album Outlandos d’Amour. It was written about a prostitute in southern France.

Police lead singer Sting wrote the song, inspired by the prostitutes he saw near the band’s seedy hotel while in Paris, France in October 1977 to perform at the Nashville Club. The title of the song comes from the name of the character in the play Cyrano de Bergerac, an old poster of which was hanging in the hotel foyer.

Sting had originally conceived the song as a bossa nova, although he credits Police drummer Stewart Copeland for suggesting its final rhythmic form as a tango. During recording, Sting accidentally sat down on a piano keyboard in the studio, resulting in the atonal piano chord and laughter preserved at the beginning of the track. The Police were initially diffident about the song, but Miles Copeland III was immediately enthusiastic after hearing it, becoming their manager and getting them their first record deal with A&M Records. The single did not chart at first, but it was re-released in April 1979 and reached #12 in the UK and #32 in the U.S., and went on to become one of the classic Police songs as well as a staple of Sting’s performances during his solo career. Roxanne has appeared on every single one of The Police’s Greatest hits albums.

Rolling Stone ranked it #388 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

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