“Message in a Bottle” by The Police

“Message in a Bottle” basically encompasses the writer’s need to receive help and attention from the people around. As is portrayed in the lyrics, the singer feels lonely possibly after he has experienced a heartbreak.

The track begins with him painting the picture of a person stuck on an island while trying to send a message to anyone ready to listen. He repeatedly talks about sending an SOS which is a Morse code often used to solicit for immediate help. He also mentions a message in a bottle, a reference to how people often fold a note, place it in a bottle and leave it in the sea.

In the second verse, the narrator reveals that he probably fell in love but got heartbroken a year ago and is only being kept alive by his hopes that he is not alone. The song ends with him realizing that he is not the only one who has experienced heartbreak. Just as he felt lonely and sent his bottled message to the world, he got a hundred billion bottles back, suggesting that there are numerous people who find themselves in the same situation as him.

Sting talks about "Message in a Bottle"

Are the lyrics autobiographical?

We are not totally sure of that. However, it was once reported that Sting was inspired to write this song based on a depressing situation he and his partner Frances experienced after being kicked out of a London house they were renting. Sting reportedly felt so bad he penned this song based as a result of that experience.

“Message In A Bottle” Facts

Writing: Exclusively done by Sting
Production: Nigel Gray along with the members of The Police
Album: The Police’s No. 1 UK album titled “Reggatta de Blanc”
Year of Release: 1979

“Message in a Bottle” was a serious hit for Sting and The Police. Having reached number 1 in Spain, UK and Ireland, it gave The Police their first No. 1 hit in their home country (UK). Furthermore, it went on to score a top 10 for The Police in the following countries:

  • South Africa
  • Netherlands
  • France
  • Australia
  • Canada

In the latter country, it was just a step away from topping the chart.

It also entered America’s prestigious Hot 100 chart, where it managed to get to No. 74. This was obviously a minor success compared to the success the song achieved in UK and the rest of Europe.

“Message in a Bottle” is considered one of the greatest guitar-based songs ever released.

The album (“Reggatta de Blanc”), on which this song is featured, was in 2012 placed at number 372 on the list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of all Time” by Rolling Stone.

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