Roxanne chords by The Police


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Roxanne | Chords + Lyrics (capo 3)

Intro (0:00)

| Em | Em |
| Em | Bm/D | Cmaj7 | Bm |
| Am7 | Dsus4 | Esus4 | Esus4 |

Verse 1 (0:21)

| Em | Bm/D | Cmaj7 | Bm |
Roxanne, you don’t have to put on the red light.
| Am7 | Dsus4 | Esus4 | Esus4 |
Those days are over, you don’t have to sell your body to the night.

Verse 2 (0:37)

| Em | Bm/D | Cmaj7 | Bm |
Roxanne, you don’t have to wear that dress tonight,
| Am7 | Dsus4 | Esus4 | Esus4 |
walk the streets for money, you don’t care if it’s wrong or if it’s right.

Bridge 1 (0:53)

| Am7 | Dsus4 | Esus4 | Esus4 |
Roxanne, you don’t have to put on the red light.
| Am7 | Dsus4 | Esus4 | Esus4 Am7 |
Roxanne, you don’t have to put on the red light.

Chorus 1 (1:08)

| G5 | G5 C | D5 | D5/C# D5 | Em | Em Am7 |
| G G5 | G5 C | D5 D5/C# | D5/C# D5 | Esus4 | Esus4 |
||: Roxanne (put on the red light) :|| x4
You don’t have to put on the red light, oh.

Instrumental (1:32)

||: Em | Em/D :||

Verse 3 (1:41)

| Em | Bm/D | Cmaj7 | Bm |
I loved you since I knew you, I wouldn’t talk down to you.
| Am7 | Dsus4 | Esus4 | Esus4 |
I have to tell you just how I feel, I won’t share you with another boy.

Verse 4 (1:56)

| Em | Bm/D | Cmaj7 | Bm |
I know my mind is made up, so put away your makeup.
| Am7 | Dsus4 | Esus4 | Esus4 |
Told you once I won’t tell you again, it’s a bad way.

Bridge 2 (2:12)

| Am7 | Dsus4 | Esus4 | Esus4 |
Roxanne, you don’t have to put on the red light,
| Am7 | Dsus4 | Esus4 | Esus4 Am 7 |
Roxanne, you don’t have to put on the red light.

Chorus 2 (2:28)

||: G5 | G5 C | D5 | D5/C# D5 | Em | Em Am7 :||
||: (Roxanne) put on the red light :|| x4
You don’t have to put on the red light.
||: (Roxanne) put on the red light :|| x4
| G5 | G5 C | D5 | D5/C# D5 | Esus4 |
(Roxanne) put on the red light. You don’t have to put on the red light.


Roxanne | Chords + Lyrics (no capo)


Intro (0:00)

| Gm | Gm |
| Gm | Dm/F | Ebmaj7 | Dm |
| Cm7 | Fsus4 | Gsus4 | Gsus4 |

Verse 1 (0:21)

| Gm | Dm/F | Ebmaj7 | Dm |
Roxanne, you don’t have to put on the red light.
| Cm7 | Fsus4 | Gsus4 | Gsus4 |
Those days are over, you don’t have to sell your body to the night.

Verse 2 (0:37)

| Gm | Dm/F | Ebmaj7 | Dm |
Roxanne, you don’t have to wear that dress tonight,
| Cm7 | Fsus4 | Gsus4 | Gsus4 |
walk the streets for money, you don’t care if it’s wrong or if it’s right.

Bridge 1 (0:53)

| Cm7 | Fsus4 | Gsus4 | Gsus4 |
Roxanne, you don’t have to put on the red light.
| Cm7 | Fsus4 | Gsus4 | Gsus4 Cm7 |
Roxanne, you don’t have to put on the red light.

Chorus 1 (1:08)

| Bb5 | Bb5 Eb | F5 | F5/E F5 | Gm | Gm Cm7 |
| Bb Bb5 | Bb5 Eb | F5 F5/E | F5/E F5 | Gsus4 | Gsus4 |
||: Roxanne (put on the red light) :|| x4
You don’t have to put on the red light, oh.

Instrumental (1:32)

||: Gm | Gm/F :||

Verse 3 (1:41)

| Gm | Dm/F | Ebmaj7 | Dm |
I loved you since I knew you, I wouldn’t talk down to you.
| Cm7 | Fsus4 | Gsus4 | Gsus4 |
I have to tell you just how I feel, I won’t share you with another boy.

Verse 4 (1:56)

| Gm | Dm/F | Ebmaj7 | Dm |
I know my mind is made up, so put away your makeup.
| Cm7 | Fsus4 | Gsus4 | Gsus4 |
Told you once I won’t tell you again, it’s a bad way.

Bridge 2 (2:12)

| Cm7 | Fsus4 | Gsus4 | Gsus4 |
Roxanne, you don’t have to put on the red light,
| Cm7 | Fsus4 | Gsus4 | Gsus4 Cm7 |
Roxanne, you don’t have to put on the red light.

Chorus 2 (2:28)

||: Bb5 | Bb5 Eb | F5 | F5/E F5 | Gm | Gm Cm7 :||
||: (Roxanne) put on the red light :|| x4
You don’t have to put on the red light.
||: (Roxanne) put on the red light :|| x4
| Bb5 | Bb5 Eb | F5 | F5/E F5 | Gsus4 |
(Roxanne) put on the red light. You don’t have to put on the red light.


You can learn how to play Roxanne!

My version of Roxanne is an attempt to capture what The Police played but on just one acoustic guitar. We achieve this by breaking up the strumming and playing lower strings to imitate the bass line from the original recording.

In the first guitar lesson, which you find below, we look at a transcription of the guitar, bass, and drums to work out what rhythm is best suited for the verse.

This gives us four examples of how to play the verse for Roxanne. This is then easily developed for the bridge (step 2).

Even though the song never changes key, it does clearly move from a minor verse to a major chorus.

This is seemingly the simplest way to write a song, but few artists do it well, Sting is one of the masters.

In just four lessons, you have everything you need to play Roxanne, just like I do in the video above. But we don’t stop there.

Following learning the one acoustic guitar arrangement, we play the vocal melody (with extreme attention to detail) and even improvise over the verse progression.

In the advanced acoustic guitar course, we don’t just learn the tune, we learn from it! You can try this now by starting the first lesson below, enjoy!


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Roxanne guitar lesson | Verse chords and strumming

To create the one guitar arrangement, I worked out what was happening on the original recording. As there are only one guitar, bass, and drums, it becomes obvious what beats should be emphasized.

Here’s a simple transcription of what the band plays during the verse.

Roxanne guitar chords, bass TAB and drums.

Taking note of what is happening, I came up with four ways to play this verse, all with the capo placed on fret 3.

The song is in the key of Gm, but as we have a capo, think in Em. Let’s get right to it!

Here’s example 1, which is also verse 1 in the one acoustic guitar arrangement.

Roxanne chords verse TAB example 1.

For example 2, we use a Cm-shaped Em, most other shapes have changed as well.

Roxanne chords verse TAB example 2.

Let’s keep changing those shapes! Here we use Cm and C shapes for the first four chords. Example 3 is also what I play as verse 3 when I play this with the singer.

Roxanne chords verse TAB example 3.

Finally, in example 4, we are back playing mainly open-position chords. The Bm/D is now described as a D6.

Roxanne chords verse TAB example 4.

Practice along with the TAB loops in the playlist above until all examples feel comfortable.

In the course, we next learn the bridge. This is followed by the chorus and the complete song, but we don’t stop there!

The last four guitar lessons deal with playing the vocal melody and how to improvise over the verse progression using a unique theory that you can implement over any song.

For the complete experience, sign up here.

The Police’s first single

Roxanne is a single from the album Outlandos d’Amour by The Police.

Being The Police’s first single, it took two releases before the world caught on, eventually reaching the top 40 in both the U.S and the U.K.

Written by Sting, Roxanne was first played in a Bossa nova style. The inspiration for the lyrics came to Sting when the band was performing in Paris and he saw the prostitutes walking in the red light district.

The actual name Roxanne came from a poster in the hotel that the band stayed at in Paris.

Since the shaky release back in 1978, Roxanne has gone from strength to strength and has always been a part of The Police’s live show.

Having been included in all of their Greatest Hits compilations, the song came to represent the band’s music like no other.

The importance of Roxanne to The Police’s legacy can only be compared with their monster hit Every Breath You Take (the most played song in the history of radio), pretty remarkable for a first single!

Since The Police’s breakup in 1984, Sting has continued to perform Roxanne in many different versions during his live shows as a solo artist.

By doing so, he has showcased how a song can be dressed up in many ways without losing its integrity, as long as it’s a good song, to begin with.

Roxanne was the natural choice to play when the band reunited at the 2007 Grammy awards. The reunion tour that followed sold out in minutes.


Roxanne | Related pages


Roxanne – 8 guitar lessons

Roxanne, 8 guitar lessons in the course.

Roxanne is, once you can play the verse, pretty easy. We’ll learn how to play it in just four steps in the course.

Following this, we play the vocal melody, practice Aeolian, and improvise using the mode over the verse progression.

Go to Roxanne – 8 guitar lessons.


Advanced Acoustic Songs

When you can play Roxanne's chords, discover more advanced acoustic songs.

These songs use big chord extensions and sometimes, unique and complex chords that incorporate open strings.

Study these in-depth and you will gain a complete understanding of the fretboard, including how to build any scale, arpeggio, and chord, anywhere on the guitar.

Go to Advanced Acoustic Songs.


Roxanne – 5 similar tunes

When you can play Roxanne's chords, try these five tunes from the song book.

The Police

Find out more about The Police, the band that recorded Roxanne's chords.

The Police was a New Wave band from England comprising Sting, Andy Summers, and Stewart Copeland.

Unusually, it was Stewart’s father, Miles Copeland III who managed the band and later, Sting’s solo career.

Go to The Police.


The Police on the web

Listen to The Police on Spotify.

Sting

Find out more about Sting, the man who write Roxanne's chords.

Sting is an English musician who, prior to his solo career, had a band called The Police, with Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers.

Formed in 1977, The Police reached worldwide success after releasing their first single Roxanne only a year after they formed the band.

Go to Sting.


Sting on the web

Listen to Sting on Spotify.