Seven Fun Facts You Might Not Have Known About The Police's "Roxanne"

The Police Roxanne single
Photo Credit
(A&M)

Originally released in the UK on April 7, 1978, "Roxanne" is arguably the Police's signature song. Digging into the rich history of the song has unearthed these seven fun facts that you may or may not have already known. It's OK if you don't--nobody's keeping score.

1. The piano and Sting's laughter during the intro of "Roxanne" was a happy accident
Sting was in the studio ready to record a vocal track when he leaned back to sit on a piano, thinking the lid was closed. It wasn't, and the microphone picked up the sound of the instrument and Sting's laughing reaction. The group thought it sounded good, so they left it in.

2. The song was never a big chart hit in America
Released in the States late February 1979, "Roxanne" would be a bust until a radio DJ in Austin started playing it. The reaction was strong enough for other stations to follow suit and start giving the tune some airplay. "Roxanne" would make an impressive peak of #32 on the Hot 100 for the week of April 28, 1979. The #1 song in America that week: Blondie's "Heart of Glass."

3. "Roxanne" was never banned by the BBC
The Police long insisted that the racy song about falling in love with a prostitute was banned for for its controversial subject matter. No true, admitted drummer Stewart Copeland to Songfacts: "Well, it was banned by the BBC... Not. In fact, they declined to put it on the playlist, but as far as we were concerned, BANNED! 'Banned by the BBC, you see! That's how revolutionary we are!' Are you asking if my morals were insulted by this? C'mon, I was a leather-clad wannabe rock star! So, no, I did not experience any moral quandary over this despicable glorification of sleaze and perfidy!"

4. "Roxanne" got a big pop culture boost from Eddie Murphy in 48 Hours
In one of the most famous character introductions in cinema history, Eddie Murphy's Reggie Hammond would first appear in the blockbuster movie singing the Police song.

5. A reunited Police opened the 49th Grammy Awards with "Roxanne" in 2007
The Police launched a massive reunion tour in 2007, kicked off with a show opening performance at the Grammys that year.

6. "Roxanne" was inspired by actual French prostitutes
The Police were performing in Paris when a stroll through the red light district would find Sting face to face to prostitutes for the first time in his life. The moment left an impression, as he pondered the mentality of someone who'd fall in love with one of the ladies of the night. The rest is history.

7. "Roxanne" has two music videos, and one is (almost) scrubbed from the internet
The official music video for "Roxanne" can be seen above. There was another clip shot for the song, featuring the band goofing around on a sound stage in front of a red backdrop. While it's difficult to track down, it can still be seen here.

 

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