Weird piano chord on Police’s Roxanne

Weird Piano Chord on Police’s Roxanne: An Accidental Musical Anomaly

The Police’s iconic song “Roxanne” is known for its catchy melody, energetic vocals, and memorable lyrics. However, one particular element that stands out is the peculiar piano chord and laughter heard at the beginning of the song. This unexpected musical occurrence has intrigued fans and sparked curiosity about its origin and purpose. In this article, we delve into the story behind the weird piano chord on Police’s “Roxanne” and shed light on its accidental creation.

The Unintentional Creation

Contrary to popular belief, the weird piano chord and laughter in “Roxanne” were not intentionally incorporated into the song. They emerged as a result of an accident that took place during the recording process. According to various sources, including an interview with Sting published in Revolver Magazine in 2000, the incident unfolded as follows.

Sting, the lead vocalist of The Police, found himself sitting near an upright piano in the studio while preparing to sing the first line of the song. Unbeknownst to him, the piano lid was open, and as he sat down, he accidentally played a dissonant and atonal piano chord with his posterior. This unexpected sound, combined with the subsequent laughter, caught the attention of the band members and sound engineers present during the recording session.

The Band’s Decision

Despite the unintentional nature of the piano chord, The Police found the incident amusing and opted to keep it in the final recording of “Roxanne.” The band members recognized the chord’s unique quality and its ability to create an intriguing contrast with the chords being played by other instruments. This decision added an unexpected and distinctive element to the song, contributing to its lasting impact and popularity.

Sting’s Accidental Chord

Sting’s accidental piano chord created what can be described as an atonal cluster—a collection of dissonant notes that deviate from the traditional harmonies used in the song. The clash between the accidental chord and the surrounding chords adds an unconventional and captivating element to the song’s introductory section.

In his interview with Revolver Magazine, Sting candidly shared his recollection of the incident and revealed that he mistakenly believed the piano lid was closed before sitting down. This misunderstanding led to the creation of the unexpected chord that has become an integral part of “Roxanne.”

A Playful Remark from Andy Summers

Guitarist Andy Summers, known for his wit and humor, jokingly commented on Sting’s accidental piano chord. He humorously remarked that “real musicians” could discern that Sting played more from his left buttock than his right. This lighthearted remark adds a touch of playfulness to the story behind the weird piano chord in “Roxanne.”

Conclusion

The weird piano chord and laughter at the beginning of The Police’s “Roxanne” were not intentional musical choices but rather the result of an accident during recording. Sting’s accidental encounter with the open piano lid created a dissonant and atonal chord that the band found amusing and decided to preserve in the final version of the song. This unexpected musical anomaly has become an iconic element of “Roxanne,” contributing to its timeless appeal and intriguing the ears of listeners for decades.

Sources:

  1. Wikipedia: Roxanne (The Police song)
  2. Music Fans Stack Exchange: Weird piano chord on Police’s Roxanne
  3. KEF USA: Did You Hear That? The Police – Roxanne

FAQs

How did the weird piano chord in “Roxanne” come about?

The weird piano chord in “Roxanne” was the result of an accident during the recording process. Sting, the lead vocalist of The Police, sat down on an upright piano keyboard without realizing that the piano lid was open, unintentionally producing the dissonant chord.

Why did The Police decide to keep the weird piano chord in the song?

The Police found the accidental piano chord amusing and decided to keep it in the final recording of “Roxanne.” They recognized its unique sound and how it contrasted with the surrounding chords, adding an unexpected and distinctive element to the song.

Was the weird piano chord intentional or a mistake?



The weird piano chord in “Roxanne” was not intentional. It was a product of Sting’s accidental encounter with the open piano lid while preparing to sing the first line of the song. The resulting chord was unexpected but intriguing to the band members and sound engineers present during the recording session.

How did Sting describe the accidental piano chord in “Roxanne”?

In a 2000 interview with Revolver Magazine, Sting described the accidental piano chord as an “atonal sort of cluster” that created a contrast against the chords being played by other instruments. He mentioned that he thought the piano lid was closed before sitting down, leading to the creation of the unexpected chord.

What role does the weird piano chord play in the song?

The weird piano chord at the beginning of “Roxanne” serves as an attention-grabbing introduction to the song. Its dissonant and unexpected nature adds a unique flavor to the track, setting it apart from traditional chord progressions and contributing to the song’s lasting impact.

Did the band members find the weird piano chord funny?

Yes, the band members of The Police found the accidental piano chord in “Roxanne” amusing. They appreciated the unexpected and unconventional quality of the chord, which led them to keep it in the final recording of the song.

How did guitarist Andy Summers humorously comment on Sting’s accidental chord?



Guitarist Andy Summers jokingly remarked that “real musicians” could discern that Sting played more from his left buttock than his right. This playful comment added a touch of humor to the story behind the creation of the weird piano chord in “Roxanne.”

Has the weird piano chord in “Roxanne” become iconic in the song’s history?

Yes, the weird piano chord in “Roxanne” has become an iconic element in the song’s history. It has intrigued listeners and contributed to the song’s memorable and recognizable character, solidifying its place as one of The Police’s most well-known tracks.