Music Throwback: If You Love Somebody…

If You Love Somebody, Set Him or Her Free is TERRIBLE scansion.

After the rock group The Police broke up, Sting put out his first solo album, The Dream of the Blue Turtles, in mid-1985. The jazz-infused LP was a big hit on both sides of the Atlantic, getting to #3 in the UK, and #2 on the Billboard chart.

The first single was If You Love Somebody, Set Them Free, which was a bigger hit in the US (#3 pop, #17 R&B) than it was in the UK (#26). “Sting said that he wrote the song as an ‘antidote’ to the Police’s 1983 song, ‘Every Breath You Take’, which he also wrote.”

At the time, I was struck by what would have been considered incorrect grammar, but would now be thought of as an an elegant solution. It was certainly better than If You Love Somebody, Set Him or Her Free, which is TERRIBLE scansion.

The video for the song was “directed by Godley and Creme in 1985. It was shot in Paris on a soundstage, with each of the musicians performing separately and the footage then overlaid onto the final version.” I thought it was very cool.

In fact, I liked this tune so much that I bought the 12″ single, which I still have, but have not listened to for quite some time. Besides the single version, it contains two remixes of “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free”: the “Jellybean Mix” by John ‘Jellybean’ Benitez and the “Torch Mix” by William Orbit of Torch Song.

The single B-side consists of a studio recording of the song “Another Day”, which also appears on the 12″. That song appeared in 1986 “in a live version on Sting’s live album Bring On the Night.”

Listen to 12″ US single (SP-12132)

“If You Love Somebody Set Them Free” (Extended Remix by John “Jellybean” Benitez) – HERE or HERE

“If You Love Somebody Set Them Free” – single version HERE or HERE

“If You Love Somebody Set Them Free” (Torch Song Mix, Produced by William Orbit) HERE

“Another Day” HERE

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

One thought on “Music Throwback: If You Love Somebody…”

  1. Yeah, textbook grammar would not have enhanced the song in any way, and the singular they/them by now is on the verge of being declared Standard(ish) English.

    Good point he makes about “Every Breath You Take,” which some people have seen as a simple love song, rather than the paranoid stalking anthem it is.

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