The Police Song Sting Literally Tried to Bury in the Garden
Guitarist Andy Summers wrote the instrumental "Behind My Camel" for the Police's 1980 album Zenyatta Mondatta. It ended up winning a Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance in 1982, but one band member wasn't a fan of the song.
In fact, singer and bassist Sting wanted nothing to do with the track. He even went as far as to bury the original tape in an effort to stop work on the song.
“I was always much more interested in weirder stuff,” Summers recently told Classic Rock.
“And the commercial hit songs always seemed to come out of Sting anyway. But we didn’t have enough songs to fill the album, and I had this 'Behind My Camel' thing. I said: ‘How about doing this then?’ And Sting said: ‘I’m not playing on that!’ I actually believe he did bury the tape in the garden. Stewart [Copeland, the Police’s drummer] was actually up for working on it, so I just played the bass.”
Listen to the Police's 'Behind My Camel'
After spending several months on the road, the Police were expected to head back into the studio to begin recording a new record in mid 1980.
"The entire industry was waiting for an album," Sting recalled in the liner notes to a Zenyatta Mondatta reissue. "While I was writing it, I was getting messages from the record company saying retailers were waiting for it. I had this impression of thousands of people, cogs in a great system, waiting for this album and I was sitting there struggling. And I got caught up in it, frankly."
As it turned out, Zenyatta Mondatta was a phenomenal success across the board, becoming the Police's first Top 5 album in the U.S., yielding a pair of Top 10 hits in the process: "Don't Stand So Close to Me" and "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da."
Not that it changed the frontman's mind about it. "Zenyatta was our most flawed record," Sting noted. "Surprisingly, that was also the one that made us big."
"I loved the irony," said Summers. "I'm sure there was some smug self-satisfaction: 'See? I fucking told you!'"