The Police – Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
It's a big enough umbrella
But it's always me that ends up getting wet
Every little thing she does is magic
Everything she do just turns me on
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In the first days of November 1981 the first single came out from the new album by an English band that had started in the punk scene, and then moved decisively towards pop, a territory that they absolutely dominated in the first years of the most beautiful decade ever. At the pace of an album per year, The Police had really taken over the world of pop, starting in 1978. The first three albums had strange titles, without particular significance, but which absolutely sounded good, like Outlandos d’Amour (debut album which contained for example Roxanne and So Lonely), Reggatta de Blanc (Message in a Bottle, Walking on the Moon), Zenyatta Mondatta (Don’t Stand So Close to Me, De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da). The fourth album had been released a month earlier, in October, and had an English title for the first time, Ghost in the machine. Sting was an avid reader of a writer and philosopher, Arthur Koestler, who had indeed written a book called The Ghost in the Machine (with the article). This same author would also have inspired the title of the next album, Synchronicity.
The cover of Ghost in the Machine entered directly into the iconography of the 80s, with the red LEDs that apparently form three ideograms, but they are the three stylized portraits of the Police (Sting in the middle with the upwards hair and Copeland on the right with bangs).
After the experience of Zenyatta Mondatta, an album recorded in just four weeks, in a great hurry, due to pressure from the record company, the Police changed producer, and went to record this new album in a remote place: a studio on the island of Montserrat, English territory in the Lesser Antilles, in short, the Caribbean. One of the reasons they chose it was that it was several hours by plane from the offices of the nearest record company. In reality they also chose it because they were lovers of Caribbean music and life, of course.
The songs on the album were completed throughout 1981, but the lead single, Every Little Thing She Does is Magic (only in the UK it was preceded by Invisible Sun), had a somewhat longer history. Sting had already written the song when he moved from Newcastle to London between 1975 and 1976. In fact, when he was attending auditions in the capital to try to join a band or form his own, this was the song he used to introduce himself. And he generally got big doors shut in his face, with critical comments about the possibility of succeeding with this song.
And even when Sting met Andy Summers and American drummer Stewart Copeland, the first track he tried to get them to form a band was exactly this one. However, the song did not see the light commercially until the end of 1981. Incidentally, the Police had recorded a demo of the song that the producer really liked. When they recorded it for the album, however, they could no longer find the same alchemy, the same magic. A different song always came out, and Copeland had to go with Sting to analyze every single drum beat to try to reproduce the same atmosphere as the demo.
The text talks about the protagonist’s love anxiety, when he fails to impress a woman who does not return his feelings. We are on the verge of stalking, as he decides to call her a thousand times a day. In the song we can also see some verses (it’s a big enough umbrella, but it’s always me that ends up getting wet) that Sting will resume years later in other songs during his solo career, in a kind of self-quotation.
The video alternates scenes from the recording studio with scenes shot outdoors with local crowd singing and dancing. The recording studio scenes went down in history as the Police played with a mixing desk that was among the most advanced in the world and probably cost hundreds of thousands of pounds. It was so big that police could literally climb on it!
Both the Ghost in the Machine album and the song Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic quickly made it to the top of the English charts, and very close to the top of the American charts, where they were stopped by the success of Olivia Newton-John (also an English lady!) with Physical. The period of greatest success began for the Police, who within two years would then create their fifth and unfortunately last album, which would take them triumphantly around the world.
The Police on Wikipedia