Roxanne chords by The Police


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Roxanne | Chords + Lyrics (capo 3)


Intro

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

Verse 1

| 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

| 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

| 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

| 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

||: Em | Em/D :||

Verse 3

| 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

| 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

| 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 2

||: 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

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

Verse 1

| 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

| 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

| 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

| 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

||: Gm | Gm/F :||

Verse 3

| 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

| 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

| 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

||: 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.


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Roxanne Chords: Learn the progressions!


Roxanne 8 step by step guitar lessons

My version of Roxanne is an attempt to capture how The Police played it but on just one acoustic guitar.

I aimed to 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 (shown in its entirety above), we look at a transcription of the guitar, bass, and drums to work out what rhythm is best suited for the verse.

Here’s that transcription:

Roxanne drums bass and guitar TAB/notation of the verse.

Using this as the foundation, I came up with four examples of how to play the verse.

Here’s the TAB for example 1 of how to play Roxanne’s verse chords.

Roxanne chords and TAB. Verse example 1.

Roxanne’s verse chords are clearly at home over the VI chord, here’s the chord progression with Roman numerals.

||: Em (VI) | Bm/D (III/5) | Cmaj7 (IV) | Bm (III) |
| Am7 (II) | Dsus4 (V) | Esus4 (VIsus) | Esus4 :||

Make sure you keep these numbers in mind as you play the progression, it will help you further down the line when we solo. Here’s example 2 of how to play the verse.

Roxanne chords and TAB. Verse example 2.

I’ve used different chord shapes here, the first Em, for example, is a Cm chord shape.

In example 3 I’m still using a Cm-shaped Em here, but instead of playing over strings 2-4, I’m using 3-5, which looks like this:

Roxanne chords and TAB. Verse example 3.

For the last example, I’m thinking of the Bm/D as a D6 instead (check the video above for an in-depth explanation of why this is.

Roxanne chords and TAB. Verse example 4.

Notice how the final sus4 chord feels uncertain, then when repeated as a sad Em, certain.

The bridge sticks with the sus4, building anticipation like this:

| Am7 (II) | Dsus4 (Vsus4) | Esus4 (VIsus4) | Esus4 |

Finally, the chorus is mainly a I – IV – V – VI progression using passing chords, like this:

| G5 | G5 C | D5 | D5/C# D5 | Em | Em Am7 |
| G G5 | G5 C | D5 D5/C# | D5/C# D5 | Esus4 | Esus4 |

In the course, over just four lessons, you’ll get everything you need to play Roxanne, just like I do in the video at the top of this page. But we don’t stop there.

Following learning the one acoustic guitar arrangement, we play the vocal melody (with extreme attention to detail) and improvise over the verse progression (you’ll love that part!).

Here’s a link to the complete lesson series (members only): Roxanne 8 step-by-step guitar lessons with TAB.

Become a member today and get unlimited access to all step-by-step guitar coursesTAB for the songbook, the Self-Eliminating Practice Routine, and the eBook Spytunes Method.

Roxanne started as a Bossa Nova!

Initially written as a Bossa Nova by Sting, Roxanne was one of the first tunes The Police recorded. As the band was Punk/New Wave, Sting first dismissed it but after Stewart Copeland chimed in with his drumming, it all fell into place.

The lyrics were inspired by a trip the band had made for a gig in Paris. Residing at a hotel in the red-light district, Sting took inspiration from the lifestyle and when he saw a poster with the name Roxanne, the tune came to him.

Since the band broke up, Sting has played Roxanne in many different ways, including as a Bossa Nova.

When the band reunited for a tour in 2007/2008, to mark their 30th anniversary, they announced it by playing Roxanne at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards.

The tour that followed became the 3rd highest-grossing tour of all time.



Roxanne Chords | Related Pages


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The Police

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

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


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Sting

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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.


Sting on the web

Listen to Sting on Spotify.

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About me

About Me Dan Lundholm T

This article was written by Dan Lundholm, Spytunes guitar guru. Discover more about him and how learning guitar with Spytunes has evolved.

Most importantly, find out why you should learn guitar through playing tunes, not practising scales, and studying theory in isolation.


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