De Do Do Do De, De Da Da Da 7''

December 1, 1980
UNITED KINGDOM
  1. De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da
    Lyrics
  2. A Sermon
    Lyrics

Soundbites

Sumner's Tales: Sting talks...

"God, I got flak for that one. I always thought it was an articulate song about being inarticulate. The first thing you have to consider is that this was a huge hit on both sides of the Atlantic. I was intrigued with why songs like that worked. Why 'Da Doo Ron Ron', why 'Doo Wah Diddy Diddy', why 'Be Bop A Lula', why 'Tutti Frutti' worked. I came up with the idea that they worked because they were totally innocent. They weren't trying to tell you anything or distort your vision - it was just a sound. So in the song I try to intellectualise and analyse why that works so effectively which is self-defeating in a way but it was still a massive hit. Some people might think that the man who wrote 'De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da' is a stupid twat but...I'm living here."
Q, 11/93

"Certainly what we're producing is not elitist High Art: But; equally; I think entertainment's an art. I think my songs are fairly literate - they're not rubbish. 'De Do Do Do', for example, was grossly misunderstood: the lyrics are about banality, about the abuse of words. Almost everyone who reviewed it said, Oh, this is baby talk. They were just listening to the chorus alone, obviously. But they're the same people who would probably never get through the first paragraph of Finnegan's Wake, because that's 'baby talk', too. I know that sounds pretentious, but in that song I was trying to say something which was really quite difficult - that people like politicians, like myself even use words to manipulate people, and that you should be very careful. It's quite a serious song, but because it's by The Police it was just written off as being garbage. I think if I stick at being a lyricist and a composer, then when all this wears off and my head drops off... I'm serious about being a musician and a composer. I don't think it stops when your guitar strings drop off. When all the High Art musicians in ten years' time are working as taxi-drivers, I'll still be a musician."
NME, 1/81

On re-recording the 1986 version...
"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 'Doo 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. Fuck you! Listen to the lyrics. I'm going to remake it again and put more emphasis on what I was talking about."
Rolling Stone, 2/88

"When we went to record our third album, we had made it. We were a hit group, we were into going out on tour. I went off to Ireland, rented a house and wrote about 20 songs, some good, some bad, some indifferent. Andy and Stewart each wrote a batch too, because, I guess, we'd all realised that the real money was in publishing. That was probably the seed of the end of the group. We all turned up at the studio with all of these songs. And of course, every song had to be treated as sacrosanct, because saying somebody's song sucks is like saying their girlfriend is ugly. So there was this painful process of going through each other's material. The album is a mix, but some of it came out well. 'De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da' came in for a lot of flack as some sort of kids song. But I was just thinking about those pop phrases - 'Doo Wah Diddy Diddy', 'Da Doo Ron Ron', 'Be Bop a Lula' - and trying to give an explanation for why those songs work as an expression of joy. Maybe it was self defeating, like explaining a joke, but I would still defend it. I think the lyrics have an internal logic. But it's true, a lot of kids like it. 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. He's into Nirvana, but he tolerates me."
The Independent, 9/93

About 'A Sermon'...
"That's a Stewart song about making it which was a bit presumptious because we only just had. It's arrogant, but Stewart is good at being arrogant in a funny way - as in that Klark Kent line about 'If you don't like me, you can suck my socks'."
'Message In A Box' Liner Notes, 1993

About 'A Sermon'...
"We hadn't made it at all when we did this song. And we were all just as arrogant as each other from the start. At least success never changed us. Andy let me play most of the guitar, including the intro riff. He did the clever bit in the middle."
Stewart Copeland: 'Message In A Box' Liner Notes, 1993

Backgrounder

'De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da' was released as a single in late 1980 and made the #5 spot in the UK. The second single from 'Zenyatta Mondatta' also fared well in the States where it became The Police's biggest single success since 'Roxanne'. Another classic Police track which was reworked in 1986 during the attempted reunion. There was speculation in 2000 that this reworked version had been released on the DTS version of the 'Every Breath You Take - The Classics' CD, but what reportedly happened is that the producers had mislaid the tape and had to return to the original demo and work from that. Whatever the facts, the revised version is certainly well worth hearing - a slowed down, mellow version - even if it is now hard to find (later versions of the DTS CD excluded the revised track).
Review from New Musical Express

"...Blondie should have blown up two years ago, I hope Adam burns up before his waistline fills out too much, and as for the Police... is it over so quickly? If they've got nothing left - surely not - they should just stay right out of this race. The last LP is indecent - Sting, you know it is - and they've failed to live up to those promises like bleeding politicians or something. 'De Do Do' blah blah is alright, but close to being the dreaded 'ordinary' like 'Moon' and 'Bottle' were a million light years away from being so... "well made." It has some good moments - I think it's just the chorus that lets it down - just like that J.D. drone that started off 'Don't Stand So Close'. It's those sorts of moments that make me think The Police aren't dead and gone yet. If they just rely on the hugeness of their audience and don't think about what they're doing and what's going on, they will deserve our contempt. Still, maybe in this video Sting'll do a total strip - well worth it girls (and boys), I assure you."
Review from Smash Hits

"Aha" The stuff of which great popular msuci is made (and nearly always has been) - trite lobotomised lyricism. Here the boys drag the usual Police formula screaming from its cell and take the aforementioned banality to hitherto undreamed of proportions. It isn't just the eloquence which has escaped our three man hit factory, it's the compositional verve and spark too. The sleeve depicts a young gagged girl, two menacing heavies, a telephone, the band and an iguana. Gold by the New Year, but don't you just hate bands who have Hipgnosis-designed singles bags. I mean, really..."
Review from Record Mirror

"Despite their mediocre collection of LPs, The Police have been responsible for some persuasive pop singles... and this isn't one of them. 'De Do' is such an obviously contrived Police record with it's re-papered chants, familiarly designed phased guitars and rhythmic shuffles that there;s barely any other Police record. A yuletide hit therefore. Rockpop should ne keeping people hungry, not just satisfying them (and itself). If The Police are so content to drift, let's please let go of them."