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The Police - Roxanne



Roxanne is about a man who falls in love with a prostitute and gets all Pretty Woman on her, telling her she deserves better and should find a more decent profession. Sting got the idea after walking through the red-light district of Paris when the band was in town to play a club called The Nashville, where he saw prostitutes for the first time. He imagined what it would be like to fall in love with one of them, figuring some of them must have boyfriends.

This was the first major-label release by The Police, who were struggling at the time. A year earlier, they released the single "Fall Out" on an independent label owned by Stewart Copeland's brother (and the band's manager), Miles. It was a flop, and the group felt a lot of pressure to produce something that would keep them off the dole. When they convened at Surrey Sound Studios outside of London in January 1978, it was with a new guitarist, Andy Summers, as original member Henry Padovani quit the band. They recorded "Roxanne" with producer Nigel Gray, who owned the studio. Sting liked the song but didn't think it would be a hit, as it was far more brooding than their other material. Miles Copeland thought differently - he was far more impressed with "Roxanne" than with anything else they recorded at those sessions, and insisted it be the single. Miles got a distribution deal for the song with A&M Records, getting no advance, only royalties from sales. The song was released in the UK on April 7, 1978, but didn't garner much attention. It was also largely ignored in the US when it was released there on February 24, 1979, but The Police soldiered on with a tour of America anyway. When a disc jockey in Austin stared playing the song, it got a great response and other radio stations added it to their playlists. The song became a minor hit, peaking at #32 on April 28. It also got some attention in the UK around this time, peaking at #12 on May 19, 1979, over a year after it was first released.


Lyrics


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)

Rox—


I loved you since I knew you

I wouldn't talk down to you

I have to tell you just how I feel

I won't share you with another boy


I know my mind is made up

So put away your make-up

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 (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 (put on the red light)

Roxanne (put on the red light)

Roxanne (you don't have to put on the red light)

Roxanne (put on the red light)

Roxanne (you don't have to put on the red light)

Roxanne (put on the red light)

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