Song of the day 9/8

Posted: September 8, 2011 in J.C. Personal

Today’s song was recorded in 1980 and won the Grammy for best rock performance by a duo or group in 1982. “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” was penned by Gordon Sumner, an English musician, activist, actor and bass player for the band The Police, better known as Sting.

Released in September 1980 in the UK and in January of 1981 in the U.S., “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” is a song about a female student that develops inappropriate feelings for her young teacher. This is a great story song. The Police lead us through the events as they unfold for both the student and the teacher “Loose talk in the classroom, to hurt they try and try. Strong words in the staffroom, the accusations fly”

The song hit number 1 in the UK and stalled at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. Appearing on the album Zenyattà Mondatta, “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” was the biggest selling single in 1980. The “B” side of the single is a song called “Friends” written by Andy Summers and inspired by Robert Heinlein’s science-fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land. The reason I find this so interesting is that in “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” Sting references “that book by Nabokov”. He is, of course, speaking about Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita, a novel that deals with similar issues. The Police are somewhat well read, to be sure.

While Sting did teach English, he stated that this song is in no way autobiographical.

After a hiatus, The Police reformed in 1986 to record a new version of the song as part of a plan to release a new album. Unfortunately, Stuart Copeland had broken his collarbone and was unable to play drums on the track. Sting and Copeland had a disagreement about either the drum machine or the program used to record the drums for the track. Due, in part, to this disagreement and flaring tempers, the reunion was short lived and “Don’t Stand So Close to Me ‘86” was the only thing released from the sessions, appearing on the 1986 release Every Breath You Take: The Singles.

The song was covered by the cast of Glee in 2009. I am unfamiliar with the show, so the only thing I can say is that the cover reached number 64 in the U.S.

This song joins an illustrious list of songs about underage girls including the following: Seventeen by Winger, Christine Sixteen by Kiss, You’ve Never Been This Far Before by Conway Twitty, Jailbait by Motorhead and Tonight I’m Gonna Rock you Tonight by Spinal Tap.

Today’s song left me feeling a bit dirty, so I’m gonna go shower. The only thing I ask while I’m in there is “Please don’t stand so close to me”

See ya on the “B” side.


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