Police – Walking On The Moon

This 1979 song is off of their Reggatta de Blanc album.

The song peaked at #1 in the UK, #65 in Canada, #8 in New Zealand, but did not chart in the Billboard `100.

This was the second #1 UK hit for The Police. Their first album was released in 1978 but took a while to catch on. When it did, it was only a few months before this one was released. The lead single was Message in a Bottle, which gave them their first UK #1.

The song is set in space, but it’s an allegory for how Sting felt when he was on the road, confined to hotel rooms and stages as the world kept turning.

The song’s video was shot at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on October 23, 1979. Stewart Copeland took the opportunity to drum on a Saturn V rocket that served as backdrop. It was directed by Derek Burbidge, who did all of their early videos.

The Police’s drummer Stewart Copeland used a Roland RE-201 Space Echo unit on this track, which allowed him to create another track of delay that accentuates the moon theme.

Sting: “I came up with a melody that felt light and airy – in fact, lighter than air” “Nine years before, Neil Armstrong had walked on the moon and said the famous words that everyone misquotes. ‘Giant Steps’ is also one of my favorite John Coltrane tunes. Songs are built by whimsy, faulty memory, and free association.”

From Songfacts

Sting was visiting the German avant-garde composer Eberhard Schoener in early 1979. One night they went out on a schnapps drinking session. Sting returned to his Munich hotel room drunk, slumped on his bed when this song’s riff came into his head. He got up and starting walking around the room to try to clear his head muttering to himself, “Walking round the room, walking round the room.” The next morning he wrote down the riff and decided that “Walking round the room” was a stupid title so he changed it to an even more stupid one, which was “Walking On The Moon.” 

“Each repeat is not a repeat of the immediate note preceding it, it’s a repeat of the note before that, which gives it this interesting kind of wobbling rhythmic effect,” he explained in a Songfacts interview. “I was doing that on the drums, and Andy was doing that on the guitar, and we figured that out. Years later, everybody’s doing it – check in with U2 and part of their sound is that delay line effect.”

The Space Echo units were some of the goodies they bought at Manny’s Music in New York City when the money came in from their first hit, “Roxanne.”

 In America, it was a slower climb: “Message in a Bottle” stalled at #74 and “Walking On The Moon” failed to chart. Their third album, Zenyatta Mondatta, was their US breakthrough.

Acknowledging the reggae roots of this song, Sting performed it at the 2013 Grammy Awards in a tribute to Bob Marley that also included Bruno Mars, Rihanna, Damian Marley and Ziggy Marley.

The Ohio-based rock group Walk The Moon, best known for their 2014 hit “Shut Up And Dance,” took their name from this song.

Walking On The Moon

Giant steps are what you take
Walking on the moon
I hope my legs don’t break
Walking on the moon
We could walk forever
Walking on the moon
We could live together
Walking on, walking on the moon

Walking back from your house
Walking on the moon
Walking back from your house
Walking on the moon
Feet they hardly touch the ground
Walking on the moon
My feet don’t hardly make no sound
Walking on, walking on the moon

Some may say
I’m wishing my days away
No way
And if it’s the price I pay
Some say
Tomorrow’s another day
You stay
I may as well play

Giant steps are what you take
Walking on the moon
I hope my legs don’t break
Walking on the moon
We could walk forever
Walking on the moon
We could be together
Walking on, walking on the moon

Some may say
I’m wishing my days away
No way
And if it’s the price I pay
Some say
Tomorrow’s another day
You stay
I may as well play
Keep it up, keep it up

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

31 thoughts on “Police – Walking On The Moon”

    1. I liked the song but it’s been a while since I heard it.
      I liked the Police the best during this period…they were a lot of fun. They got kinda dour later on.

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  1. Fine song, kind of glad it’s not as overplayed as “Roxanne” let alone “Every Breath You Take.” Should be right there with “Rocketman”, “space Oddity”, “Major Tom Coming Home” and “Calling Occupants of Inter-planetary Craft” on any NASA playlist!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m glad you connected it… I could have picked Van’s Moondance album and it would have been complete! The peach works…because we said it works!
        Thanks for reading Lisa.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. That would have been really cool. What a thing to put on your resume. I know a rich guy that was in the running for buying the Florida Marlins…he came in second to Derek Jeter’s group…I would have moved there and worked in the IT department if he would have gotten it. I would have done it…those jobs don’t come every day.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Cool stuff Max. I been picking away at getting the Police stuff on vinyl. Have them all except for the debut. Bought them for pretty cheap used so thats cool. Sting was a funny bugger back then. That Ego of his had its own tour bus I’m sure.
    Having said that you cannot dispute Stingers talent.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love The Police – all periods, really, not just this, but this is a great song. They’re a band I got into late, which is a pity really as I’d have loved to have seen them live. I saw Andy Summers a few years ago when he played an open air festival to do with the Dalai Lama in Alexandra Park but never seen Police other than on screen.

    I can’t remember but have you read any of their autobiographies? I’ve read all three, of them all, Andy Summers’ is best. Sting is a great lyricist but not as great at writing factual (or fictional) prose, and Stuart Copeland’s book is a bit too off-the-wall for my taste.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No I haven’t read anything about them. They were a great band…full sound live for those three instruments.
      They seem to have more fun early on…Summers didn’t get the publicity the other two did.
      I do need to read something about them.

      Like

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