Don’t Stand So Close to Me ’86
When The Police got back together in June 1986 to play a trio of shows for Amnesty International, all of us (yes, ALL of us) had a secret hope that the band was finally reuniting for good.
Then we heard rumors that they were heading back in the studio to record new songs.
And then… well, then drummer Stewart Copeland broke his collarbone when he fell off a horse.
The plan all along, it turned out, was to re-record old Police songs, giving them a new twist. The first one? “Don’t Stand So Close to Me”, the 1980 hit from Zenyatta Mondatta, about an inappropriate teacher-student relationship.
With Stewart’s broken neck, though, the drums would have to be programmed with a drum machine; Sting had one idea, Stewart had another, and all the old animosity came roaring back. The guys did manage to finish recording it, but there was no way they were going to hang out in the studio for another bunch of weeks arguing with each other.
So the reunion ended as quickly as it began, and only “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” and “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da” got their re-do versions.
“Don’t Stand So Close to Me ’86” did okay on the charts (though not nearly as stellar as the original), peaking at #46 on the Billboard chart in the waning months of 1986.
The Police never recorded any other new music (even to this day… but we’re still hopeful!), and even though the reunited (again) for a 2009 tour, “Don’t Stand So Close to Me ’86” serves as the final musical chapter in the history of one of the 80s’ best bands.
(Note: No, we don’t count the fact that “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da” finally saw the light of day on the DTS-CD release of the Every Breath You Take: The Classics. We’ll warrant that only 158 people in the world ever heard it.)
Turns out, we’re okay with “Don’t Stand So Close to Me ’86” being the last thing we ever heard from The Police. And we’ll actually go a step further and profess that the ’86 version is even better than the original. The slower tempo’s a little more appropriate (given the subject matter), and not for nothing, but Sting, Andy, and Stewart sounded pretty darn tight after three years off.
Man, who knows what could have been if they could only have gotten along.
We ♥ Don’t Stand So Close to Me ’86.