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We were in Paris with an early version of the Police, staying in a cheap motel in a really sort of seedy part of town,” Sting explained. “I’d never been exposed to that, and I was fascinated by it. I couldn’t afford one, so I conjured one up in my room as ‘Roxanne.’ Thinking, well, what would it be like to be married to one of these girls? Or be the boyfriend?”

“Roxanne” failed to chart during its initial release, but it did achieve limited success on a handful of radio stations — and left Sting with a pivotal memory that could never be eclipsed by all the Grammys and platinum records that came after: hearing his song on the radio for the very first time.

“I was painting my kitchen,” he recalled of the moment when it happened. “I had a basement flat in London, and my little son was on the floor. I was up some ladders painting some white emulsion on the ceiling with the radio on when that song came on.”

Read More: Sting Relives Hearing ‘Roxanne’ on the Radio for the First Time: ‘That Was the Most Exciting Moment’ |