This album went 8X Platinum in the U.S., and even unseated Michael Jackson’s Thriller at Billboard’s #1 spot for a spell. It featured the hits ‘Every Breath You Take,’ ‘Wrapped Around Your Finger’ and ‘King of Pain,’ all of which appear on the album’s stacked Side Two.
‘Murder by Numbers,’ the final track on The Police’s classic 1983 album Synchronicity, wasn’t originally intended for the album’s lineup. Indeed, it was left off of some LP releases of the album, though it appeared on cassette and CD.
The song started as the B-side of Synchronicity‘s most popular track, ‘Every Breath You Take.’
‘Murder by Numbers’ was co-written by guitarist Andy Summers, whose only other songwriting contribution on the album was ‘Mother,’ by far the record’s worst track. He did just fine here, though, coming up with a seductive jazz-pop arrangement.
This is an odd pick because it breaks the pattern I’ve set up through the other 19 songs. While The Police were very much an early-80’s band, Sting went on to have a celebrated solo career, making him one of the only artists on the list who had more success outside the 80’s than in them.
So an argument could be made that this isn’t really an ’80’s song’ so much as a Sting song (the same argument I’ve used in excluding artists such as Michael Jackson, R.E.M. and U2 from the lineup).