The Police – Wrapped Around Your Finger


[Verse 1]
You consider me the young apprentice
Caught between the Scylla and Charibdis
Hypnotized by you if I should linger
Staring at the ring around your finger

I have only come here seeking knowledge
Things they would not teach me of in college
I can see the destiny you sold
Turn into a shining band of gold

I’ll be wrapped around your finger
I’ll be wrapped around your finger

[Verse 2]
Mephistopheles is not your name
But I know what you’re up to just the same
I will listen hard to your tuition
And you will see it come to its fruition

I’ll be wrapped around your finger
I’ll be wrapped around your finger

[Verse 3]
Devil and the deep blue sea behind me
Vanish in the air you’ll never find me
I will turn your flesh to alabaster
When you find your servant is your master

And you’ll be wrapped around my finger

Wrapped Around Your Finger” is the second UK single (and fourth US single) from the Police‘s 1983 album Synchronicity. Written by Sting, it was released worldwide by A&M Records and featured the non-album track “Someone to Talk To” as a B-side in the UK, while a live version of “Tea in the Sahara” was the US B-side.

File:Wrapped Around Your Finger UK.jpg


Like other tracks on Synchronicity, such as “Every Breath You Take” and “King of Pain,” “Wrapped Around Your Finger” was a personal song for Sting. He said in an interview, “‘Every Breath You Take,’ ‘Wrapped Around Your Finger’ were all about my life.”[2]

Sting described “Wrapped Around Your Finger” as “a spiteful song about turning the tables on someone who had been in charge.”[2] Like other Police songs from this period, it features mythological and literary references, including the Scylla and Charybdis monsters of Greek mythology, and the German legend of Faust. It has a relatively slow, almost foreboding feel in the beginning verses, modulating to evoke a lighter, triumphant feel during the chorus.

This song is vaguely alchemical and probably about a friend of mine, a professional psychic and my tutor in tarot, with bits of Doctor Faustus and ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ thrown into the pot for good measure.

— Sting, Lyrics By Sting[3]

“Wrapped Around Your Finger” was released as the follow-up to the worldwide hit “Every Breath You Take.” In Britain, it reached number 7 on the UK Singles Chart in August 1983,[4] and in the US, it was instead released as the fourth single from Synchronicity (after “Every Breath You Take,” “King of Pain,” and “Synchronicity II“). The single reached No. 8 on the Billboard chart in March 1984.

The British picture sleeve for “Wrapped Around Your Finger” was released in three colour variations: blue, red, and yellow.[2] The single was also released on a picture disc, each featuring the face of Sting, Andy Summers, or Stewart Copeland.[2] Out of the twelve thousand copies released, however, ten thousand had Sting’s face on it, while Summers and Copeland appeared on one thousand each (making the latter two variations somewhat rare.)[2]

The B-side of the song in Britain, “Someone to Talk To,” was written by guitarist Andy Summers. Sting refused to provide vocals, leaving Summers to sing. Summers expressed disappointment at this, saying, “Maybe I had just split up from my wife. It was a nice thing I had on the guitar and I was disappointed that Sting wouldn’t sing it. That would have given it more of an official stamp.”[2] Drummer Stewart Copeland said of this conflict, “Andy did his best on vocals but I too was disappointed that Sting didn’t sing it. He was very touchy about lyrics.”[2] The American B-side, “Tea in the Sahara” (live), comes from the Synchronicity Tour.

Music video

The music video, directed by Godley & Creme (who directed the videos for “Every Breath You Take” and “Synchronicity II”), furthers the ethereal feeling the song gives off, by having footage of the band performing in a candle-lit, gloomy room, interspersed with scenes of Sting running among tall candlesticks arranged in a sort of maze. Andy Summers is shown playing an acoustic guitar, an instrument not used in any of the Police’s recordings.

The music on the recording of the video was played fast and the “singing” was mimed fast. When the music was slowed down to normal speed, the members of the band appear to be moving in slow motion. Drummer Stewart Copeland claimed that he used a similar method for a solo video (performing under the alias of “Klark Kent”), only he “had the music run slowly, so that [he] mimed in slow motion, and then when they synched it up to the music, [he] had this herky-jerky, kinda ‘fast-mo’ movement, that was still in time with the music, only it was sort of jerky and strange body movements.”[3]

Sting praised the video, saying:

It’s incredibly atmospheric, and I think the set design is brilliant – there’s nothing but all those candles, yet it conjures up so many different feelings and possibilities about the song. When Kevin (Godley) and Lol (Creme) came to me with the idea, I got very excited because I realised that they really understood the imagistic approach I wanted. The whole concept is fairly esoteric – it’s really a “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” type of idea. The song is cunningly being shot at high speed in order to achieve a special effect when it’s eventually played back at normal speed. At least, that’s the theory…

— Sting, Playgirl, 10/1983[2]

Andy Summers, however, was critical of Sting’s overacting in the video.

I never much liked the idea for “Wrapped Around Your Finger.” No, I was kind of pissed off about that one. I’ve never been much of a fan of that song, actually. Sting got to shoot his part last in that video and made a meal of knocking all the candles out. Fuck him.

— Andy Summers, I Want My MTV[5][3]

In a promotional video tied in with the release of The Muppets Take Manhattan, “I’m Gonna Always Love You” from the movie featured lead vocals by Miss Piggy and had her imitating parts of the “candle labyrinth” prominently showcased in the Police video. Incidentally, the song later gave rise to the creation of Muppet Babies.


In a positive retrospective review of the song, AllMusic journalist Steve Huey described “Wrapped Around Your Finger” as “a complex take on power dynamics in relationships.” He suggested that “the complexity of its jumpy rhythms mirrors that of its emotional psychology.”[6]

AllMusic colleague Stephen Thomas Erlewine described the song as “a devilishly infectious new wave single.”[7]


Track listing

7-inch single: A&M UK (AM 127)

  1. “Wrapped Around Your Finger” – 5:07
  2. “Someone to Talk To” – 3:08
  • also released on picture disc (AMP127). One per member.

7-inch single: A&M US (AM-2614)

  1. “Wrapped Around Your Finger” – 5:07
  2. “Tea in the Sahara (live)” – 5:03

12-inch single: A&M UK (AMX 127)

  1. “Wrapped Around Your Finger” – 5:07
  2. “Someone to Talk To” – 3:08
  3. “Message in a Bottle” (live) – 4:52
  4. “I Burn for You” – 4:50

12-inch single: A&M US promo (SP17264)

  1. “Wrapped Around Your Finger” – 5:07
  2. “Wrapped Around Your Finger” (live) – 5:21
  3. “Murder by Numbers” – 4:37
  4. “Someone to Talk To” – 3:08


Chart (1983–84) Peak
Australian Singles Chart 26
Canadian Singles Chart 10
Dutch Top 40 17
French Singles Chart 6
German Singles Chart 32
Irish Singles Chart 1
Italian Singles Chart 25
NZ Singles Chart 22
Spanish Singles Chart 2
UK Singles Chart 7
US Billboard Hot 100 8
US Billboard Adult Contemporary[8] 13




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