The Police – Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic at No. 1 in the UK

The Police: Hulton Archive/GettyImages

On the 14th of November, 1981. The Police had their fourth UK No. 1 single with “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic“, a No. 3 hit in the US.

“This was first recorded as a demo, with the piano figure, in a studio in Montreal. I had written the song long before the Police were successful, but it seemed a bit soft for the band at first. But the demo was really great. It sounded like a No 1 song to me. I took it to the band, who were reticent, still thinking it was soft. I was saying, “But listen, it’s a hit.” We tried to do it from scratch as the Police, but it didn’t have the same energy as the demo. After a degree of hair-pulling and torturing on my part, I got the band to play over the top of my demo.“

- Sting, The Independent, September 1993.

“I remember saying, ‘Okay put up Sting’s original demo and I’ll show you how crummy it is.’ So Sting stood over me and waved me through all the changes. I did just one take, and that became the record. Then Andy did the same thing on the guitar. We just faced the music, bit the bullet, and used Sting’s arrangements and demo. ”

- Stewart Copeland, Revolver, 2000.

In the chorus, Sting, not knowing any other word which would rhyme with “magic,” used the word “tragic.” Copeland said of this moment, “I remember Sting for years trying to think of a rhyme for ‘magic’, as in ‘Every Little Things She Does Is Magic.’ I think the only word he could come up with, apart from ‘tragic’, was ‘pelagic’, which means ‘ocean going’. There I was in my leather pants and punk hairdo, pondering the distinction between ocean-going and river-going fish.” This moment was, in his estimation, implied by scholars to be fairly comical.

“Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” was released as the second single from Ghost in the Machine in UK and Ireland, while in most other parts of the world it was the debut single from the album. The song also hit No. 1 in Canada, Ireland and the Netherlands, No. 2 in Australia, and No. 5 in Norway. It reached No. 3 in America.

Sting – bass guitar, lead and backing vocals

Stewart Copeland – drums

Andy Summers – guitars

Jean Alain Roussel – pianos, synthesizers, arrangement

The Police were an English rock band formed in London in 1977. The band became globally popular in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Emerging in the British new wave scene, they played a style of rock influenced by punk, reggae, and jazz.

Their 1978 debut album, Outlandos d’Amour, reached No. 6 on the UK Albums Chart on the strength of the singles “Roxanne” and “Can’t Stand Losing You”. Their second album, Reggatta de Blanc (1979), became the first of four No. 1 studio albums in the UK and Australia; its first two singles, “Message in a Bottle” and “Walking on the Moon”, became their first UK number ones. Their next two albums, Zenyatta Mondatta (1980) and Ghost in the Machine (1981), led to further critical and commercial success with two songs, “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” and “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic”, becoming UK number-one singles and Top 5 hits in other countries.

Synchronicity (1983), was No. 1 in the UK, Canada, Australia, Italy and the US, selling over 8 million copies in the US. Its lead single, “Every Breath You Take”, became their fifth UK number one, and only US number one. During this time, the band were considered one of the leaders of the Second British Invasion of the US.  The Police disbanded in 1986, but reunited in early 2007 for a one-off world tour that ended in August 2008.

The Police have sold over 75 million records and won a number of music awards, including six Grammy Awards, two Brit Awards – winning Best British Group once, and an MTV Video Music Award. In 2003, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Four of their five studio albums appeared on Rolling Stone’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”. The band were included among both Rolling Stone’s and VH1’s lists of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”.


Outlandos d’Amour (1978)

Reggatta de Blanc (1979)

Zenyatta Mondatta (1980)

Ghost in the Machine (1981)

Synchronicity (1983)

Stewart Copeland – drums, percussion, backing and lead vocals, keyboards, guitars (1977–86, 2003, 2007–08)

Sting – lead and backing vocals, bass guitar, double bass, keyboards, saxophone, harmonica (1977–86, 2003, 2007–08)

Andy Summers – guitars, backing and lead vocals, keyboards (1977–86, 2003, 2007–08)

Henry Padovani – guitar (1977; 2007 reunion tour finale, Paris with Sting, Summers, and Copeland)