Spirits In The Material World, 7''

Dec 04, 1981
Track List And Lyrics
    DISC NO: 1
  1. Spirits In The Material World lyrics
  2. Low Life lyrics
Recorded At


Sumner's Tales: Sting talks...

"'Spirits In The Material World' was written on one of those Casio keyboards while I was riding in the back of a truck somewhere. I just tap, tap, tap and there it was, just by accident. That was the first time I'd ever touched a synthesizer, that album."
Synchronicity Tour Progam, '83

About 'Low Life'...
"'Low Life' was written in the back of a German tour bus en route to Dusseldorf, circa 1977. We'd just spent a week in a hotel on the Reeperbahn, Hamburg's red light district. Every lonely face tells a story, including mine I suppose."
'Bring On The Night' Album Liner Notes, '86

About 'Low Life'...
"I always loved the song. It was one of Sting's coolest lyrics and the music was interesting. The only problem was that we were still trying to identify our band sound and the sax solo (also very cool) was from a different genre."
Stewart Copeland: 'Message In A Box' Liner Notes, '93

About 'Low Life'...
"Neither Stewart or I liked Low Life. I thought the lyric was snobby and it had a kind of corny jazziness to it. We came to a bit of grief over it. That jazz sax had absolutely nothing to do with the Police. Though, in retrospect, it's not a bad song."
Andy Summers: 'Message In A Box' Liner Notes, '93

About 'Low Life'...
"It's one of my favourite songs. The sax solo is by Olaf Kubler who we'd met when we were working with Eberhard Schoener. He used to say 'In Der Morgen ein Joint und der Tag ist dein Freund."
'Message In A Box' Liner Notes, '93


'Spirits in The Material World' appeared on The Police's 1981 album, 'Ghost in The Machine'. Released as a single the track reached the #12 spot in the UK and the #11 spot in the US. The song was accompanied by a video shot in Montserrat during the recording of the album. Occasionally played live by Sting on the some of the 1987 and 1990 dates and resurrected for the 'Broken Music' tour in 1995. The B-side was a Sting track called 'Low Life' and he has said it is one of his favourite songs, and quickly introduced the song into his solo set in 1985. The song was featured extensively on the 'Blue Turtles' tour, and a live version of the track recorded in Rome can be found on the 'Bring on The Night' album.

Review from New York Rocker

Last column I said I couldn't find a follow-up single on the LP; guess I didn't look hard enough, as this makes an interestingly moody radio record and is a hit.

Review from Smash Hits

The titanic trio don't squander a moment. 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic' has hardly had time to hail a farewell cab before they have zipped out another track from the L.P. It's extraordinary how Sting's songs become more alive in 45 format. It's a fine song despite the wishy-washy sentiments.

Review from New Musical Express

"Spiritually immaterial, worldly as ever (as in "bent on gain"), but galaxies beyond that glib little magic thingammy - the faintest ghost of a sting in the tale..."