“Every Breath You Take” is a song by English rock band The Police from their 1983 album Synchronicity. Written by Sting, the single was the biggest US and UK hit of 1983, topping the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for eight weeks (the band’s only number-one hit on that chart), and the UK Singles Chart for four weeks. It also topped the Billboard Top Tracks chart for nine weeks.
At the 26th Annual Grammy Awards, the song was nominated for three Grammy Awards, including Song of the Year, Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, and Record of the Year, winning in the first two categories. For the song, Sting received the 1983 British Academy’s Ivor Novello award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.
The song is considered to be both The Police’s and Sting’s signature song, and in 2010 was estimated to generate between a quarter and a third of Sting’s music publishing income. In the 1983 Rolling Stone critics and readers poll, it was voted “Song of the Year”. In the US, it was the best-selling single of 1983 and fifth-best-selling single of the decade. Billboard ranked it as the number-one song for 1983.
The song ranked number 84 on the Rolling Stone list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and is included in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. It also ranked number 25 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 All-Time Top Songs. In 2015, the song was voted by the British public as the nation’s favorite 1980s number one in a poll for ITV.
“Every Breath You Take” quickly established itself as one of the most popular songs in The Police’s repertoire, closing the band’s performances before the encores in the Synchronicity Tour (1983–84) and later in The Police Reunion Tour (2007–08).
Sting performed the song at Live Aid at London’s Wembley Stadium in 1985, with Phil Collins providing additional vocals, to an estimated global audience of 1.9 billion people watching the live broadcast. Sting performed it again, 20 years later, at Live 8.
In 1999, “Every Breath You Take” was listed as one of the Top 100 Songs of the Century by BMI. In 2003, VH1 ranked the song the No. 2 greatest Break-up song of all time. And also as of 2003, Sting was still taking in an average of $2000 per day in royalties for the then 20-year-old song.
The Police performed the song at their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003 with Gwen Stefani, Steven Tyler and John Mayer on backing vocals.
In 2007 Andy Summers called his photography book I’ll Be Watching You: Inside The Police 1980–1983 after the lyrics of the song.
In October 2007, Sting was awarded a Million-Air certificate for 9 million airplays of “Every Breath You Take” at the BMI Awards show in London, with only Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” a close second at 8 million air plays.
In October 2017 the song was featured at the end of Season 2 of the Netflix thriller Stranger Things during the Snowball dance and also appears on the Sony Music soundtrack that features songs that were used in both season 1 and 2.
The song was used in the movie Cat’s Eye (1985).
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