Sting worked up a new demo of this song in early 1981 with the French Canadian keyboard player Jean Roussel, which they recorded at Roussel's studio near Montreal. When The Police's record company heard it, they pegged it as a hit and had the band record it, even flying in Roussel to play on it. But getting the magic
that was on the demo proved difficult, and for days they struggled with it. Finally, drummer Stewart Copeland had Sting put the demo on and count him through the changes as he played to it. Sting conducted him through it, and they finally got the drum take. The rest of it Sting, Summers and Roussel were able to complete. According to Copeland, he was seething with anger when he did his take, which gave him the energy he needed to make it work.
"We tried it fast, we tried it slow, we tried it reggae, we tried it punk, we tried it as a bossa nova," Copeland said in a Songfacts interview
. "We tried every which way, but nothing. To the extent that we did it different from the demo was the extent to which it didn't sound like a hit anymore. So, eventually, in a morning grump, I show up at the studios and I say, 'Guys, I tell you what, just play me your f--king demo, lead me through the changes and see if that works.' So, they put up the demo and Sting is standing over me pointing out where the verse, the chorus and all the different pieces are. I kind of knew that by now anyway because of all the different versions we had done, and then I just cranked out one take of OK, play the f--king demo and I'll play along and see if that works
, and it kinda did."