Twenty-five years ago this month, a sample from The Police’s ‘Every Breath You Take’ was used in what would become one of the biggest tracks of 1997.

‘I’ll Be Missing You’ by Puff Daddy, Faith Evans and 112 was a tribute to fellow rapper, and Evans’ husband, The Notorious B.I.G. who died after a drive-by shooting that same year.

The single spent 11 weeks on top the US Billboard Hot 100 and reached number one in 15 other countries, including Australia. It sold a staggering 30 million singles and also bagged a Grammy for Best Rap Performance but a Duo or Group.

The song was a huge deal.

Thing is, there was about to be a huge problem with it.

The band they took the sample from, one of the biggest bands in the world, hadn’t given permission. In fact, they found out about it by pure accident… through a 10-year-old.

Guitarist Andy Summers recalled how his young son asked him to go into his room because he heard “a guy who is completely doing your guitar thing” on the radio.


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Summers said his initial reaction upon hearing the song was, “Oh my God.”

He said the band sprang into court action and ended up getting “some kind of royalty.”

But it gets worse.


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While Summers, Sting and Stewart Copeland all contributed to the original song, Sting was the one awarded 100% of the royalties.


Sting was the only songwriter credited on the track.

Summers was awarded nothing in what he described years later as the “major rip-off of all time.”

“He actually sampled my guitar, and that’s what he based his whole track on.”

“Stewart [Copeland]’s not on it. Sting’s not on it. I’d be walking around Tower Records, and the fucking thing would be playing over and over. It was very bizarre while it lasted.”

According to Celebrity Net Worth, Sting reportedly earns over $2K per day in royalties from that song alone.

Let’s hope he shares it.