Picks and Pans Review: Looks Back

updated 01/26/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/26/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

Sting

After all this time, Sting, 52, is still going strong with a new CD, Sacred Love, and a tour that kicks off Jan. 23 in Miami. We asked the former chief of The Police to turn the clock back on a few of his old hits.

"ROXANNE" "Roxanne" kind of stuck out like a sore thumb on the radio at the time. Nothing else sounded like it, which pleased me immensely because that was [The Police's] first hit.

"DON'T STAND SO CLOSE TO ME" It's not an autobiographical song by any means. I was a schoolteacher, but I wasn't attracted to any of my students nor were they to me, thank goodness.

"EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE" It was written in Jamaica at a difficult time in my life. I think everything was kind of falling apart. It's a song that has a powerful resonance now because it's ambivalent. It's a romantic, seductive song, but it's also quite threatening, quite dark.

"IF YOU LOVE SOMEBODY SET THEM FREE" It's something I believe. That was really the song that set me free from The Police as a solo artist. I have great affection for that because it wasn't logical that I should leave this very successful band.

"ENGLISHMAN IN NEW YORK" This city has been very kind to me. I've been coming here since the late '70s and I have a home here now. I feel part of this community. I walk everywhere.

"KING OF PAIN" I'm not the King of Pain anymore. I was, though. I was a pain. I was difficult to live with, obsessed, obsessive, driven, ambitious, cruel. You name it, I was the king of it.

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