The Police guitarist Andy Summers on I'll Be Missing You: "We didn't get anything from Puff Daddy"

The Police
(Image credit: Peter Noble/Redferns)

If you'd presumed The Police had a huge payday when P Diddy (then Puff Daddy) sampled the guitar riff of Every Breath You Take for his 1997 global smash single I'll Be Missing You, you're very much mistaken.

In a new interview with Ultimate Classic Rock,  the trio's guitarist Andy Summers has revealed he received relatively very little. 

"My 10-year-old came in the house and came over. He goes, ‘Hey Dad, I want you to come listen to my radio in the room, there’s a guy who is completely doing your guitar thing,’" Summers recalls of hearing the song for the first time.  I went in and it was the first time I’d heard Puff Daddy and whatever he called that song. I went, ‘Oh my God.’”

Though Sting is credited as the sole songwriter, he and the band as a whole where in the dark about the sample, according to Summers. 

“We went from there and called the manager,” Summers continues. “I think we ended up settling out of court and we got some kind of royalty. But I mean, I think he sold 30 million singles with that track or something and we didn’t get anything out of it.”

I'll Be Missing You was Diddy's tribute to his friend, the late rapper Notorious BIG and featured the vocals of Diddy's ex-wife Faith Evans. It won a Grammy and reached number 1 in several countries. 

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Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.