"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 for most Police songs), dates back to a demo recorded in 1977. 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 and hit number three on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart that same year.
Although recorded in 1981, Sting wrote the song as early as 1976. An early (1977) 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.
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. 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." Copeland, however, said that Roussel "wasn't pushy ... He was just like us actually."
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. 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."
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."
"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.
The song has received a highly positive retrospective review from Allmusic journalist Chris True, who praised the lyrics and described the song as "pop brilliance".
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." Sting – bass guitar, lead and backing vocals
Andy Summers – guitars
Stewart Copeland – drums
Jean Roussel – piano, synthesizer
- "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" – 3:58
- "Flexible Strategies" – 3:44
The Shadows covered the song on their 1990 album Reflection.
The Celtic/Folk duo Jay and Abby Michaels – The Harper and The Minstrel performed the song as an acoustic ballad on their 2008 album For A Moment.
The American rock band Ra covered the song on their 2005 album Duality.
Shawn Colvin recorded the song (with a pronoun change) on her 1994 Grammy-nominated album Cover Girl.
John Mayer included the first few lines of the song while playing his hit "Your Body Is a Wonderland" on the live compilation Live in the X Lounge IV.
American soul pianist John Legend borrowed the instrumentation from the verses on his collaboration, "Around My Way" with Brooklyn MC Talib Kweli.
Harlem rapper Jim Jones sampled the instrumentation to make his own version of "Around My Way" with Max B.
John Barrowman covered the song on his album, Another Side, in 2007.
The Nylons covered the song on their a cappella album, Play On, released in 2002.
Julie Collings released the song on her Don't EP in 2007, and her version was featured on Coverville episode 325.
Filipino acoustic band MYMP covered the song in 2003, retitled "Every Little Thing He Does Is Magic", on their album Soulful Acoustic.
Mashup artist Girl Talk used a sample from this song in his 2008 CD Feed the Animals.
Mitchel Musso covered the song for Disney's Wizards of Waverly Place soundtrack.
The song appears on ¡Policia! - A Tribute to the Police, released by The Militia Group in 2005. It was performed by Anadivine.
Jazz fusion guitarist Lee Ritenour covered the song from the 2005 album "Rit's House."
A version, called Magic, by the Black Eyed Peas was done for Legally Blonde and can be found on the movie's soundtrack.
Chaka Demus covered the song on the Police Tribute 1997 album Reggatta Mondatta: Reggae Tribute to the Police.
Ja Rule, sampled the song on his 2009 album The Mirror, on the song "Free", with help from Ashely Joi.
Gloria Estefan & Joe Jonas teamed up for a salsa-version of the song performed in the music talent show, The Next: Fame Is at Your Doorstep.
Dream pop music group Memoryhouse performed a version of the song in March 2012 for The A.V. Club's A.V. Undercover series.
Sleeping at Last covered the song for the television series Grey's Anatomy in 2014; this cover was again featured on Supergirl (TV series) (Season 2 Episode 13 "Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzptlk").
Petula Clark covered the song as "Every Little Thing You Do Is Magic" on her album An Hour in Concert in 1983.
- "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" – 4:05
- "Shambelle" – 5:10