Andy Summers says Sting and Stewart Copeland were ready to throw out ‘Every Breath You Take’.
The former Police guitarist has recalled his ex-bandmates butting heads over the now-legendary riff in the 1983 hit from their fifth and final album, ‘Synchronicity’, before the 79-year-old musician worked his magic on it.
Speaking to Guitarist magazine, Andy said when asked if he knew the rock classic was a hit just from the iconic guitar part: “Well I didn’t stand there and crow about it.
“It was more about keeping those other b******* happy.
“That song was going to be thrown out.
“Sting and Stewart could not agree on how the bass and drums were going to go.
“We were in the middle of ‘Synchronicity’ and Sting says, ‘Well go on then, go in there and make it your own.’
“And I did it in one take. They all stood up and clapped.”
‘Every Breath You Take’ was the biggest US and Canadian hit of 1983, topping the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for eight weeks.
It went on to win the Grammys for Song of the Year and Best Pop Performance at the 1984 ceremony.
Sting was also honoured with the 1983 Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.
Andy added: “And, of course, the f****** thing went right round the world, straight to number 1 in America.
“And the riff has become a kind of immortal guitar part that all guitar players have to learn.”
The rock legend also revealed the three of them were in separate rooms for most of the recording of their last record.
He said: ‘Synchronicity’ was just me, alone in the studio with all my kit.
“Sting in the control room playing the bass through the Neve desk.
“And Stewart up in the room above the studio because of the acoustics and the separation that Hugh Padgham [producer] wanted.
“We played most of those tracks with earphones.”
The band split in 1984, and the group’s former drummer, Stewart, 69, later admitted the “conflict” cost them their friendship, until they later realised that it was their differences over music that were causing their rift.
He said: “For Sting, music was a painkiller, an anaesthetic a way to escape from the evil, harsh, grim world, to a place of utter, unassailable, unblemished beauty.
“For me, it’s a celebration: let’s light up this room and let’s have fun.
“This can overlap – we made five albums as the Police.
“But the conflict grew and grew, out of that diversity of purpose.
“And now we understand that, and Sting and I get along famously … as long as we’re not playing music!”
Within a year of forming in 1977, the three members started squabbling over Sting’s control of the band.
In his 2006 tome, ‘One Train Later’, Andy recalled a fight during a recording session for their 1981 album, ‘Ghost in the Machine’.
The chart-topping band reunited for a worldwide tour in 2007, which ended in 2008.
Sting said in 2010 that he didn’t want to rejoin the group because he found the music they were making to be uninspiring.