“De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da” is a song by The Police, released as a single on 20 November 1980. Released as the British 2nd single from the album Zenyatta Mondatta, the song was written by Sting as a comment on how people love simple-sounding songs. The song was re-recorded in 1986 as “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da ’86” but not released until 1995.
According to lead singer Sting, the song is about the attraction that people have to simple songs. Sting later criticized those who labelled the lyrics of the song as “baby talk,” claiming that the song was grossly misunderstood. He evaluated, “The lyrics are about banality, about the abuse of words,” saying that “the lyrics have an internal logic.”
I was trying to make an intellectual point about how the simple can be so powerful. Why are our favourite songs ‘Da Doo Ron Ron‘ and ‘Do Wah Diddy Diddy‘? In the song, I tried to address that issue. But everyone said, ‘This is bullshit, child’s play.’ No one listened to the lyrics. Listen to the lyrics. I’m going to remake it again and put more emphasis on what I was talking about.— Sting, Rolling Stone, 2/1988
The phrase “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da” supposedly was made up by Sting’s son. Sting said of this, “In fact, my son came up with it. I’ve never paid him – so that’s another possible lawsuit. He writes songs himself these days. He’s got a lot of self-confidence – I don’t know where from.”
“De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da” was released as the follow-up single to “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” in UK, and was released as the debut single from Zenyatta Mondatta in America. Upon its release, the single became a top 10 hit in the UK and the US (their 1st in said country), reaching #5 on the UK Singles Chart and #10 on the Billboard Hot 100. In addition to its English-language release, both a Spanish-language and Japanese-language version of the song were recorded and released in their respective markets in early 1981.
The cover was designed by Hipgnosis and uses the title of the song to juxtapose an image of the band with one of a woman’s hand reaching out to a telephone to call the police.
The song was prominently featured in the 1982 film The Last American Virgin and on its soundtrack. It also appeared in the pilot episode of the medical drama St. Elsewhere.
“I’ve danced in the Caribbean for weeks to that song,” remarked Joni Mitchell. “I’m an old rock and roll dancer, you know. The stops, the pauses, in that one are really fun. I appreciated the rhythmic hybrids, the gaps between the bass lines, the repetitive figures with space between them. James Taylor and I had dinner with Sting once at our mutual manager’s place. He was quite effusive about us being his heroes. So I always think of him as our son.”