Demolition Man

Album: Ghost in the Machine (1981)

Songfacts®:

  • Sting wrote this when he was visiting actor Peter O'Toole at his house in Ireland (at the time, O'Toole was dating Sting's soon-to-be girlfriend and future wife, Trudie Styler). He gave it to Grace Jones, who recorded it in 1981, and The Police recorded their version the next year when the band agreed they could do it better than Jones.
  • This was the first song recorded for the album, which The Police worked on in the Caribbean island of Montserrat. The session went well because the song was easy to play and the band was familiar with Jones' version.
  • This is one of the few Police songs that Sting occasionally played at his solo shows. It was in the set list for his first solo tour in 1985.
  • A live version recorded by Sting in Paris on his first solo tour appears on Sting's 1986 album Bring On The Night.
  • Sting re-recorded this for 1993 movie Demolition Man, starring Sylvester Stallone and Wesley Snipes. He laid down the basic tracks, and let the movie producers remix it with a techno beat for the film.
  • The album title comes from an Arthur Koestler book about the conflicting nature of man. The album cover is three symbols representing the band. Stewart Copeland is on the left, Sting is in the middle, and Andy Summers is on the right. "We were the ghosts in the machine," Sting explained in Lyrics By Sting, "and while some of the songs are a plea for sanity, others are an expression of that malevolent darkness that haunts us all."
  • Sting sings, "I'm a three-line whip, I'm the sort of thing they ban." He explained the origin of the lyric in Lyrics By Sting: "A 'three-line whip' is a parliamentary expression indicating matters of utmost seriousness. When I wrote this song, I quite fancied myself as a national emergency. I, too, at times have occasionally indulged in violent fantasies for unspecified slights to my ego, my masculine pride, my patriotism."
  • The Police made a rudimentary performance video for this song that was directed by Derek Burbidge. On their next album, Synchronicity, they upped their game with four very well-crafted videos, including the celebrated clip for "Every Breath You Take."

Comments: 4

  • Joel from Toronto, OnGood song however whomever transcribed the lyrics and posted them made a small mistake. Sting doesn't sing all of the lyrics in the order that they were posted. This is seems to be a trend with some singers. The lyrics are posted in a specific order but often than not the singer does not follow the order. I would rank this one right up there with "It's Probabaly Me" from the Leathal
    Weapon Three OST.
  • Franki from Mars, IdOne of the greatest things about "The Police" is that the band enjoys to play music. You can hear that in "Demolition Man".
  • Reno from Copenhagen, DenmarkEven though Sting chose to record it as well, Grace's version remains the best-known edition of the song. Largely due to the groundbreaking video from her "One Man Show", which included the clone army.
  • Steve from St. Louis, MoManfred Mann covered this in 1983.
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