Wrapped Around Your Finger
Writer(s): Sting (see lyrics here)
Released: July 8, 1983
First Charted: July 9, 1983
Peak: 8 US, 11 CB, 4 RR, 13 AC, 9 AR, 2 CO, 7 UK, 10 CN, 36 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)
Sales (in millions): --
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 41.7 video, 21.27 streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
The Police exploded in 1983 when the song “Every Breath You Take” became a smash, spending eight weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100. The group’s fifth album, Synchronicity, racked up 17 weeks atop the album chart on its way to eight million in sales. “Every Breath You Take,” however, was only the beginning.
In the UK, the follow-up single, “Wrapped Around Your Finger,” gave the band their tenth top ten hit there. However, in the United States, the second single was the #3 hit “King of Pain,” followed by the top-20 hit “Synchroncity II.” “Wrapped Around Your Finger” was the fourth single in the U.S. On February 25, 1984, the song entered the top 10 on Billboard Hot 100, the third song from Synchronicity to do so.
Sting explained that “Wrapped Around Your Finger” was “a spiteful song about turning the tables on someone who had been in charge.” WK He said it is about “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.” WK The former is a 1947 Thomas Mann novel inspired by a classic German legend about a scholar who makes a deal with the Devil. SF The latter is a 1797 German poem by Goethe about an apprentice trying his hand at magic while the sorcerer is away. SF
The song also references Scylla and Charibdes of Greek mythology. Scylla was a nymph turned into a six-headed monster who destroyed any boats that passed by where she lived on the Straits of Messina. Charibdes was a monster who lived in a whirpool across from Scylla. The Odyssey tells the tale of Odysseus, one of the few who made it through without being killed. SF
All Music Guide’s Steve Huey called the song “a complex take on power dynamics in relationships…revolving around an older and/or more experienced woman selecting a naïve, easily dominated male partner…whom she can wrap around her finger. Things backfire when…he learns her tactics…and uses them against her.” AMG Huey also said, “the song was full of subtle reggae syncopations…and this rhythmic emphasis perked up what might have turned out a straight-ahead ballad.” AMG
First posted 7/27/2022.