De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da

Album: Zenyatta Mondatta (1980)
Charted: 5 10
  • songfacts ®
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  • Lyrics
  • This song is about the way politicians, priests, entertainers, and others in power use words to manipulate people. Sting called it "an articulate song about being inarticulate."
  • Sting wrote this when he became interested in songs with nonsense lyrics, like "Do Wah Diddy Diddy," "Tutti Frutti," and "Da Doo Ron Ron." He wanted to find out why they work and write one of his own. He claimed it was his son who came up with the title.
  • Sting claims that people who dismiss this song have not bothered to listen to the lyrics. He said in a 1981 interview with the NME: "Certainly what we're producing is not elitist High Art: But; equally; I think entertainment's an art. I think my songs are fairly literate - they're not rubbish. 'De Do Do Do', for example, was grossly misunderstood: the lyrics are about banality, about the abuse of words. Almost everyone who reviewed it said, 'Oh, this is baby talk.' They were just listening to the chorus alone, obviously. But they're the same people who would probably never get through the first paragraph of Finnegan's Wake, because that's 'baby talk' too."
  • The Police remixed this in 1986 when they reunited to create new versions of their old songs. The sessions were a disaster, and the remix of this was never released. The only song they did rerelease was a new version of "Don't Stand So Close To Me." Sting wanted to remix this in 1986 to put more emphasis on the lyrics. He felt it was often misinterpreted.
  • This was used on the pilot of the TV medical drama St. Elsewhere, starring Ed Begley Jr. and Howie Mandel, in 1982. It was also featured in the 1980 coming-of-age comedy movie The Last American Virgin, starring Lawrence Monoson.
  • The music video, directed by Derek Burbidge, shows Sting and Andy Summers bundled up and playing on a snowy Canadian hillside while Stewart Copeland films them with a Super-8 camera. Copeland's camera really was rolling; the footage can be seen in his 2006 documentary Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out.
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Comments: 14

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 11th 1981, "De Do Do Do De Da Da Da" by the Police peaked at #10 (for 2 weeks) on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; it had entered the chart on October 19th, 1980 and spent 21 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #2 in Ireland, and across the Irish Sea in the trio's homeland it peaked at #5...
    The rest of the Top 10 that week had not changed at all; positions #1 through #9 was the same for two weeks in a row...
    #1. (Just Like) Starting Over by John Lennon
    #2. Love On The Rocks by Neil Diamond
    #3. Guilty by Barbra Streisand and Barry Gibb
    #4. The Tide Is High by Blondie
    #5. Hungry Heart by Bruce Springsteen
    #6. Every Very Woman In The World by Air Supply
    #7. Passion by Rod Stewart
    #8. Tell It Like It Is by Heart
    #9. Lady by Kenny Rogers.
  • Michael from Deridder, LaIf you look at Sting in the music video, at the end of the 2nd pre-verse line, he mouths to the cameraman (Stewart Copeland, who's actually the drummer), "Rapes you? What?"
  • Thegripester from Wellington, New ZealandI'm not saying Sting borrowed consciously from XTC, but compare this song to "Making Plans For Nigel." The guitar riff, backbeat ska pulse, and vocal melody are all spookily similar. "Nigel" is the older song, btw, by at least a year.
  • Drew from B\'ham, AlI know this may be lame & all, only cool before our time, but: This song apparently uses a *whole lot* of toilet paper, during each "De do do do...". I know, that's older than dirt. I couldn't help but throw that in. Most of my kidding aside, if you ask me how much I love this song, all I want to say to you is "De do do do, de da da da...". One more thing: Pentecostals probably say this a lot in their prayers.
  • Homzd from O-town, NvLike Johnny from LA when I first heard this song the only thing I actually heard was "de, do, do, do de, da, da, da" which I thought was quite ridiculous. However after I learned the lyrics of the song the meaning became very clear. In my opinion what the song relates to is the power of words and how we often view those who have a very extensive vocabulary being able use those words to their advantage, like "poets, priests & politicians." But along with that sometimes it is the simplest words which can be the most powerful. That having a large vocabulary means nothing if one doesn't know how to use it. My two cents anyway. ;-)
  • Musicmama from New York, NyTo be is to do Plato
    To do is to be Aristotle
    To do be do be do is Sinatra.

    All kidding aside: excellent song.
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, CaThis used to be my least favorite police song. Now... well let's just say it isn't.
  • Kevin from Quebec, Canadathe title sounds like something would say a baby that is just learning to talk de do do do de da da da say it like a baby and it makes sense
  • Adalia from Brisbane, Australia"When their eloquence escapes you; Their logic ties you up and rapes you" - Great lyrics and a great song.
    - Adalia, Australia QLD
  • Miles from Vancouver, CanadaOdd as it sounds, Sting recorded this song in Spanish AND Japanese! I have mp3 files of both versions (unfortunately, the Spanish version has a glitch). The Japanese one works better because it better matches the music, and Sting sounds very professional.
  • Rob from Santa Monica, CaMoreso than Roxanne, which had limited appeal due to its sparse production, this song introduced America to the Police. Summer's signature muted-plucked-echoed guitar sound is defined here.
  • Elliott from Douglassville, PaWhenever I think of this song I think of the old SCTV skit with Rick Moranis as a lounge singer, singing a slick, smarmy version of this song: "De doo dah doo doo, dat, dah, da da da da, that's all I gotta be sayin' ta you..." He also did a version of "Turning Japanese." Must be seen to be appreciated.
  • Jack from Raleigh, Ncit is a great answer in the game Scattegories.
    I was lucky enough to get D and the clue song title and everyone argued over it, but it is the highest point total you can get in the game!
  • Greg from Manchester, TnThe 1986 remix was released on the DTS CD version of "The Police: Every Breath You Take - The Classics"
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