Ten weeks. That’s all it took for The Police to progress from their first UK No.1 single to their second. “Message In A Bottle” had achieved the feat at the end of September 1979 and held on to the prize for fully three weeks. Then on December 8, that year, “Walking On The Moon” soared like a space rocket from its No.6 entry the week before to repeat the achievement.
After an uncertain start, Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland were getting to be UK chart regulars by now, and the new single unseated Dr. Hook’s MOR-pop hit “When You’re In Love With A Beautiful Woman” to claim the top spot. The other hot singles in the UK Top 20 that week included the Gibson Brothers’ club crossover “Que Sera Mi Vida” and the song widely credited with being the first mainstream rap hit, the Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight.”
The bestsellers also included the first major chart appearance by Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart in their days with the Tourists, on their cover of Dusty Springfield’s “I Only Want To Be With You”; and a rare singles chart appearance by Pink Floyd with “Another Brick In The Wall,” which would make The Police’s reign a short one by replacing it at the top seven days later.
Walking around the room
Both of the Sting compositions that hit the UK summit came from their hugely popular second album Reggatta de Blanc. The frontman had come up with the idea behind the new hit when visiting German avant-garde composer Eberhard Schoener. The story goes that one morning, after a measure or two too many of schnapps, he started humming a melody that had landed in his head and singing “I hope my legs don’t break, walking round the room.”
The Police went on to film the video for “Walking On The Moon,” as it became, at Cape Canaveral in Houston, where Copeland drummed on the fuselage of a rocket.
Buy or stream “Walking On The Moon” on the Reggatta de Blanc album.