Singles (The Police)

THE POLICE: Walking On The Moon, 12''


Album Details:

TYPE: Singles (The Police)
LABEL: A&M
RELEASE DATE: 01 December 1979
RELEASE COUNTRY: UNITED KINGDOM
Track List
  1. Walking On The Moon Lyrics
  2. Visions Of The Night Lyrics

Soundbites

"I was lying in bed in Munich, after we'd done a TV show, and this little jazzy bass line came to me. So I got up and I started walking round the room making the tune and lyrics up. The original title was "Walking Round the Room". I often start from joke lyrics... actually; sometimes the joke lyric becomes the song. Andy came up with that chord - the one which hits after the bass notes. The Police did a lot of things our own way. We decided to go to America with no record deal over there. We were signed to A&M in Britain, but A&M America said, "Please don't come; we have no intention of releasing your record, it'll just be embarrassing." Instead they wanted us to wait, have a hit; get a support band slot on a Foreigner tour. But we went over on Freddie Laker, played in every toilet on the east coast, stayed in hideous hotels with the three of us in one bed. I came back from the first tour with in my pocket, which I promptly handed to my wife for the housekeeping."
The Independent, 9/93

"If you've got the right riff, the song can just write itself. That's what happened with 'Walking on the Moon'. I wish I could find another one of those every day: a simple, easy, three-note or four-note riff. The whole song is based around its cadence, and I'm very proud of that."
Revolver, 3/00

"I suppose we have to get more and more subtle in the way we treat the subject. I am obsessed by it. I don't suppose I'll ever lose that. I just think we'll get better at disguising it. That's one objective I have as a songwriter, is to kind of vanish behind the handiwork so that the song exists on it's own; forget who wrote it. I think 'Walking On The Moon' is a good metaphor. Nobody thinks it's good because nobody really thinks about it... to them it's just another set of lyrics... but it's a really good metaphor for feeling good. And I'm not sure what the song's about."
New Musical Express, 4/80

"I was drunk in a hotel room in Munich, slumped on the bed with the whirling pit when this riff came into my head. I got up and started walking round the room, singing 'Walking round the room, ya, ya, walking round the room'. That was all. In the cool light of morning I remembered what had happened and I wrote the riff down. But 'Walking Round the Room' was a stupid title so I thought of something even more stupid which was 'Walking On the Moon'."
'L'Historia Bandido', '81

"Very sparse. As a three piece what was intelligent about us was, instead of trying to pretend we were a bigger band, we used that limitation to our advantage: less is more. There were some big black holes in 'Walking On The Moon' and you get those on the radio and people are immediately sucked in. Same with Roxanne. That guitar chord Andy came up with for 'Walking On The Moon' was just mind-blowing. And that weird jazzy bassline."
Q, 11/93

"'Walking On The Moon' took us a lot of work. It started out as a rocker but we finally changed it right around."
Stewart Copeland: /L'Historia Bandidio', 1981

About 'Visions Of The Night'...
"This was the first song I wrote after going to London. It was hard to be serious about the whole thing. I was bemused, much to Stewart's disgust."
'Message In A Box' Liner Notes, '93

About 'Visions Of The Night'...
"It was one of the first things Sting played me and I thought, 'Christ, this is a number 1!' Which it wasn't of course. But I was taken with the spark of it."
Andy Summers: 'Message In A Box' Liner Notes, '93

About 'Visions Of The Night'...
"The title was too cerebral for our early audiences, so Sting would introduce it as 'Three O'Clock Shit'."
Stewart Copeland: 'Message In A Box' Liner Notes, '93

Backgrounder

A classic Police tune, 'Walking on The Moon' was the follow up single to 'Message In A Bottle' and like it's successor topped the UK chart. The track also appears on the 'Reggatta de Blanc' album, and was accompanied by a very memorable video of the band at Cape Canaveral. Somewhat surprisingly, the song is not a regular in Sting's solo set list. A live solo version recorded in Holland in 1991 can be found on the 'Shape Of My Heart' single. 'Visions of The Night' is one of the earliest Police songs, although it was not released until late 1979 when it appeared on the B-side of the 'Walking On The Moon' single. A very early live version of the track can be heard on Strontium 90's 'Police Academy' album.
Review from Smash Hits

"Well, what would you do if you had to follow up one of the greatest singles of the Seventies? You'd play it fairly safe and the boys have done with this pleasant, almost casual reggae affair. It's a bit of a one paced proposition but I like it, even though I would have preferred to see 'The Bed's Too Big' get a shot. B side is a previously unissued rather raw rocker called 'Visions Of The Night'."
Review from New Musical Express

"Message to you, in a bottleneck: love letters, straight for our chart. Made for one another. A while since I've been persuaded by pop music, but this one is straight to my heart; there's no doubt any longer. Now that The Police have won the necessary space - not to mention hearts - and their eyes are open, there's no sleeping, no sweet nothings. I sense it the other night - on the thinktank pub jukebox - with 'Message In A Bottle': it's no ordinary affair between those three and popular music's form. Just between you and me, I hope that someone gets the ... Drift around normative lines and tunes: Signifier Over Signified!

So dignified; what a leisurely affair! 'Walking On The Moon' is an undeniable serenade, hinged around popularity or sexuality or some post-euphoric sleight of hand-in-hand. 'Walking On The Moon' isn't soft soil, understated though it is. It's risky dubble seduction: edible reggae and hungry pop interest.

Guitar and bass and drums meet in all the wrong places, at all the nicest times, so discreetly. There's no point as such to the song - where it could all suddenly focus safely, assured of a meaning - so you're left exhausted but... not over the moon but... kept hanging on. All of which is the right pop patch for a single which sounds like something Tim Buckley would have headed for, via recent dub twists: a little more bittersweet than most. Sting's vocal recalls Buckley as lazy, speedy starsailor; less of a voice than a metaphor. What for? 'Walking back from your house, walking on the moon...' I've though this recently, but it's nice to have accompaniment. Bought it yet? I'm grinning and fading away..."