Frank Zappa Recounts How He Ended Up Performing ‘Murder By Numbers’ With Sting in 1988

The late great Frank Zappa recounted the time when he ran into Sting before a 1988 show in Chicago. Zappa asked Sting if he wanted to perform with them. Sting at first was reticent but after seeing the Zappa’s first set, he eventually agreed so long as they could perform the song “Murder By Numbers”.

Sting is talked into performing with Zappa’s group after watching and listening to a number of pointed and satirical songs written to highlight the near collapse of 1980’s television evangelical broadcasters (think Jim and Tammy Bakker, Pat Robertson and, Jimmy Swaggart).

Several years earlier, a famous televangelist had said that the song was written by Satan and his minions. After that televangelist’s downfall, Sting found that he wanted to play it more than ever, as he emphatically expressed to the audience.

 It’s not in my nature to kick a man when he’s down. When I saw the first part of the show I realised I had to come up here and tell you something. Well, four years ago Jimmy Swaggart said this about me. He said this here song by The Police ‘Murder by Numbers’ was written by Satan and performed by the sons of Satan! Beelzebub! Lucifer! The horned one! I wrote the fuckin’ song, alright?

Frank Zappa Recounts How He Ended Up Performing ‘Murder By Numbers’ With Sting in 1988

The resulting show was historic. Zappa’s band combined with Sting’s vocals made for an incredible jazz-forward version of the song.

via Boing Boing