Stewart Copeland Feels Andy Summers Deserves Royalties For 'Every Breath You Take'

December 4, 2019
The Police perform during 2008 reunion tour

Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images


Over 35 years after "Every Breath You Take" took the charts by storm, Police drummer Stewart Copeland thinks guitarist Andy Summers deserves a bit more credit for the song's success. Copeland was publicizing the new Police box set Every Move You Make: The Studio Recordings, and chatted with Classic Pop magazine about the band's biggest hit, which topped the charts for a whopping eight weeks and snagged the band the 1984 Grammy for Record Of The Year.

Copeland explained, "The demo was obviously a hit, but it was nothing like the current version, as Sting was singing the chords over a Hammond organ. Andy went, 'Guys, hello? We're a guitar band?'  Andy is truly clever with harmony and worked out the song's arpeggiated guitar figure. One of our favorite in-band riffs is that, when Puff Daddy sampled 'Every Breath You Take' on 'I'll Be Missing You,' he sampled Andy's guitar figure, not the melody or the lyrics. Me and Andy go, ' Go on Sting, pay Andy his royalties,' and Sting will say, 'Okay Andy, here you are. . . ' Not reaching anywhere near his wallet."

Copeland admitted he hasn't listened to a Police album in full "since July 1983, or when ever it was that we'd finished mixing Synchronicity. . . We made great records, despite the fact it wasn't very comfortable to make them. It's only now that we understand what our conflict was about and acknowledge that everyone's point of view was valid. And we had a very strong work ethic. Nobody ever shirked, nobody ever stayed home."

He went on to say that the Police was a true team: "All three of us were always leaning forward -- and that's the personality in each of us that led to the conflict: one person was anointed the god of all music, while the other two were still pushy sons of bitches. Among all that tension, there was always a positive attempt to make it work."

Every Move You Make: The Studio Recordings collects all five of the Police's legendary albums along with a 12-track, sixth disc entitled Flexible Strategies featuring exclusive bonus material of non-album recordings and B-sides. Copeland said, "I really like our B-sides. . .  I wish Sting had sung some of Andy's songs. I thought a lot of them were pretty catchy. . . .It astonished me that my favorite Police song is in the B-sides column. . . There are other songs on Synchronicity I would have swapped for 'Murder By Numbers.' I really like our B-sides."


The tracklisting for Every Move You Make: The Studio Recordings is:

Outlandos d'Amour (1978): "Next To You," "So Lonely," "Roxanne," "Hole in My Life," "Peanuts," "Can't Stand Losing You Truth Hits Everybody," Born In The '50s," Be My Girl - Sally," and "Masoko Tanga."

Reggatta de Blanc (1979): "Message In A Bottle," "Reggatta de Blanc," "It's Alright For You," "Bring On The Night," "Deathwish," "Walking On The Moon," "On Any Other Day," "The Bed's Too Big Without You," "Contact," "Does Everyone Stare," and "No Time This Time."

Zenyatta Mondatta (1980): "Don't Stand So Close To Me," "Driven To Tears," "When The World Is Running Down, You Make The Best Of What's Still Around," "Canary In A Coalmine," "Voices Inside My Head," "Bombs Away," "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da," "Behind My Camel," "Man In A Suitcase," "Shadows In The Rain," and "The Other Way Of Stopping."

Ghost In The Machine (1981): "Spirits In The Material World," "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic," "Invisible Sun," "Hungry For You (J'aurais Toujours Faim De Toi)," "Demolition Man," "Too Much Information," "Rehumanize Yourself," "One World (Not Three)," and "Omegaman."    

Synchronicity (1983): "Synchronicity I," "Walking In Your Footsteps," "O My God," "Mother," "Miss Gradenko," "Synchronicity II," "Every Breath You Take," "King Of Pain," "Wrapped Around Your Finger," and "Tea In The Sahara."

Flexible Strategies (2018): "Dead End Job" - 1978; "Landlord" - 1979; "Visions Of The Night" - 1979; "Friends" - 1980; "A Sermon" - 1980; "Shambelle" - 1981; "Flexible Strategies" - 1981; "Low Life" - 1981; "Murder By Numbers" - 1983; "Truth Hits Everybody (Remix)" - 1983; "Someone To Talk To" - 1983; and "Once Upon A Daydream" - 1983.


The Police split up in 1984, and between then and the 2007/2008 reunion tour they only played together five times in 23 years; three dates on Amnesty International's Conspiracy Of Hope tour in 1986; at Sting's wedding to Trudie Styler in 1992; and at the group's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003.

The Police's 2007-2008 reunion tour spanned 158 shows, played to 921,000 paying customers, and earned the band a $297 million gross.

In 2008, they released a two-CD, two DVD collection chronicling the reunion tour called The Police: Certifiable. The show was shot and recorded during the band's stop in Buenos Aries.

Stewart Copeland's son, filmmaker Jordan Copeland, directed the tour documentary called Better Than Therapy, which is included as one of the bonus features on the DVD.