Open main menu

Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic

"Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" is a song by British rock group The Police from their fourth album, Ghost in the Machine. The song, notable for featuring a pianist (uncommon in Police songs), dates back to a demo recorded in the house of Mike Howlett in the fall of 1976. It was also a hit single that reached the top of the charts in the United Kingdom (topping its predecessor, "Invisible Sun") in November 1981[1] and hit No. 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart that same year.[2]

"Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic"
Single by The Police
from the album Ghost in the Machine
  • "Flexible Strategies" (UK)
  • "Shambelle" (US)
Released2 November 1981
FormatVinyl record (7")
RecordedLe Studio, Morin Heights, Quebec, Canada & AIR Studios, Montserrat, 1981
LabelA&MAMS 8174
The Police singles chronology
"Invisible Sun"
"Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic"
"Spirits in the Material World"
Audio sample
Alternative cover
US 7-inch cover
US 7-inch cover


Although the song was recorded in 1981, Sting wrote it as early as 1976.[3] An early (1976) demo of the song can be heard on the Strontium 90 album Strontium 90: Police Academy. A good ear will detect that the vocals are set back from the music on this track. This was either due to the mastering feel, or the overdub from the demo.

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[4]

The piano part was added by session keyboardist Jean Roussel, whom Sting invited to play on the track against the wishes of his bandmates Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland.[5] Summers did not approve of Roussel's inclusion in the track, claiming that he was "incredibly pushy" and that "there wasn't room for him. He must have played 12 piano parts on that song alone."[6] Copeland, however, said that Roussel "wasn't pushy ... He was just like us actually."[6]

Feeling that the arrangement of the track was not enough like The Police style, Summers (who recalled, "as the guitar player I was saying, 'What the fuck is this? This is not the Police sound'") and Copeland attempted to change the track.[6] However, as Copeland remembers:

"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. Damn."[6]

— 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."[6]

Release and receptionEdit

"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 outperformed its predecessor in Britain, where it topped the charts. 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, making it and "King of Pain" the band's second-best-performing single there, after its No. 1 hit "Every Breath You Take".

The lyrics of the second verse, "Do I have to tell the story / Of a thousand rainy days since we first met? / It's a big enough umbrella / But it's always me that ends up getting wet," were reprised by Sting at the end of the song "O My God" issued on the band's next album. These lyrics were repeated once more in "Seven Days" on Sting's solo album Ten Summoner's Tales. He later re-recorded the song in an orchestral version for his album Symphonicities.

The song received a positive retrospective review from Allmusic journalist Chris True, who praised the lyrics and described the song as "pop brilliance".[7]

The song's B-side, "Flexible Strategies," was reportedly an improvised jam that was created in response to the record company's demand for a B-side. Stewart Copeland claims, "Word came down from the marketing machine 'Create a b-side – today! We walked over to the gear, strapped on, and played for ten minutes. A disgrace."[4][8]


Track listingEdit

7": A&M / AMS 8174 (UK)Edit

  1. "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" – 3:58
  2. "Flexible Strategies" – 3:44

7": A&M / AMS 9170 (NL)Edit

  1. "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" – 4:05
  2. "Shambelle" – 5:10

Chart performanceEdit

Cover versionsEdit

  • Petula Clark covered the song as "Every Little Thing You Do Is Magic" on her album An Hour in Concert in 1983.
  • The Shadows covered the song on their 1990 album Reflection.
  • Shawn Colvin recorded the song (with a pronoun change) on her 1994 Grammy-nominated album Cover Girl.
  • Chaka Demus covered the song on the Police Tribute 1997 album Reggatta Mondatta: Reggae Tribute to the Police.
  • Jazz fusion guitarist Lee Ritenour covered the song from the 2005 album Rit's House.[23][24]
  • Ra (American band) covered the song on their 2005 album Duality (Ra album).
  • Dream pop music group Memoryhouse performed a version of the song in March 2012 for The A.V. Club's A.V. Undercover series.[25]
  • Jacob Collier covered the song in his 2018 album Djesse (Vol. 1).[26]
  • On the April 8, 2019, episode of reality television singing competition show The Voice, Team (John) Legend members Jacob Maxwell and Talon Cardon performed an arrangement of the song in a Battle round. Coaches Adam Levine, Kelly Clarkson, and Blake Shelton all preferred Maxwell's vocal performance to Cardon's. Legend agreed, naming Maxwell the winner of the Battle and advancing him to the live Cross-Battles, while Cardon was eliminated from the competition when Levine, Clarkson, and Shelton all opted not to steal him and add him to one of their teams.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b UK Singles Charts for the week of November 14, 1981, The Official Charts.
  2. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 497.
  3. ^ Lyrics by Sting, The Dial Press, 2007, page 56.
  4. ^ a b "'Every Little Thing She Does' / 'Flexible Strategies'".
  5. ^ Summers, Andy (2007). One Train Later, 1st Edition (St. Martin's Griffin), page 294.
  6. ^ a b c d e Garbarini, Vic (Spring 2000). "I think if we came back...", Revolver.
  7. ^ Chris True. "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic – The Police | Listen, Appearances, Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 March 2014.
  8. ^ The Police Message in a Box booklet Page 58.
  9. ^ a b Steffen Hung. "Forum - Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts - 1980s (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 2016-10-17.
  10. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  11. ^ " – The Police – Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  12. ^ a b c Chart history, Retrieved 7 October 2011.
  13. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin – levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava.
  14. ^ Dutch Charts Annual Reviews - Single 1981
  15. ^ "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  16. ^ Billboard Mainstream Rock, December 19, 1981
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 January 2015. Retrieved 2015-02-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  19. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1981" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Hung Medien. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  20. ^ "Chart File Top 100" (PDF). Record Mirror. London: Spotlight Publications. 26 December 1981. p. 27. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2016-07-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  22. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1982/Top 100 Songs of 1982". Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  23. ^ "Rit's House overview".
  24. ^ "Lee Ritenour Rit's House". Retrieved 29 March 2014.
  25. ^ "Memoryhouse covers The Police". Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  26. ^ Webb, Dan (1 December 2018). "Review: Jacob Collier - Djesse Vol. 1". Sungenre. Retrieved 7 December 2018.

External linksEdit