1977 – 2008 (31 years)
London, England, United Kingdom
- Andy Summers
- Henri Padovani (1977 – 1977)
- Stewart Copeland
The Police was a new wave band which formed in 1977 in London, England. The band consisted of Sting (vocals, bass), Andy Summers (guitar) and Stewart Copeland (drums). The band released five albums – "Outlandos d'Amour" (1978), "Reggatta de Blanc" (1979), "Zenyatta Mondatta" (1980), "Ghost in the Machine" (1982) and "Synchronicity" (1983) – before entering a hiatus in 1984 and ultimately disbanding in 1986
The band reunited in January 2007 for a reunion tour that lasted until August 2008.
The Police formed in early 1977 in London by Stewart Copeland (drums), Gordon Sumner, better known as Sting (bass and lead vocals), and Henry Padovani (guitar). Andy Summers later joined the group, and after a very short stint as a quartet, Padovani left the band. The Police became one of the most popular bands in the late 70s and throughout the 80s.
The Police are notable as one of the first mainstream white pop groups to adopt reggae as a predominant musical form and to score major international hits with reggae-styled material. (The first all-white reggae band with permanent members and frequent recording in Europe was Peps Blodsband, lead by Peps Persson from south Sweden who changed from blues to reggae 1974/75). Although reggae was already very popular in the United Kingdom (due to the large number of Caribbean immigrants) and a number of Western European countries, reggae was little known in the United States and rejected by most black artists in U.S, and prior to the emergence of the Police only a handful of reggae songs had enjoyed any significant chart success. The Police, UB40, The Clash and Bob Marley (Jamaican, partly living in England after being shot in Jamaica, are considered with a number of new wave, rock and ska bands as one of the leaders of the Second British Invasion of the U.S.
The Police were strongly influenced by reggae (especially reggae drumming and base lines), jazz and, in the beginning, punk rock – something that came to be shifted more and more towards pop during the 80s. Their lyrics also changed from challenging, but yet somewhat politically restrained punk- and new wave lyrics, to after 1982 in some songs emphasize environmental awareness and human oneness. The biggest hits, however, had romantic or sexual themes. The Police met together with other "white" British bands which played reggae, as UB40, criticism from black English rastafarian reggae bands like Aswad (in a BBC documentary on TV) and Steel Pulse, for being accomplices in the music industry of "Babylon", stealing the Caribbean slave descendants' musical treasure. This criticism has later been withdrawn. Aswad has even made the covers of Police songs like "Roxanne".
Tension grew between the band members, because unlike most other bands, they did not share songwriting credits. They released their last album, Synchronicity, in 1983, selling over 8 million copies. Synchronicity is critically regarded as their best album, with hits such as Synchronicity II, King of Pain, and probably their best known song, Every Breath You Take. In 1984, after touring in support of Synchronicity, The Police went on hiatus while Sting pursued his acting and solo music careers. Two years later, The Police reformed and played a few concerts for Amnesty International. Soon after the band went into the studio. Sting wanted to re-record their old songs but Andy and Stewart wanted to leave the originals alone and only two songs were re-recorded during these studio sessions. Although the group is considered to have disbanded in 1984, 1986 was the last time The Police engaged in any musical activity.
In 1992 the band released "Message in a Box", their 4 CD box set, and performed at Sting's wedding to Trudie Styler. A live CD was released in June 1995. On March 10, 2003 The Police were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and performed Message in a Bottle, Roxanne and Every Breath You Take.
The Police reformed in 2007 and opened the Grammy award ceremony of that year with a performance of Roxanne. Towards the end of May the band began a world tour. In 2008 the tour ended at Madison Square Garden, New York on August 7, and The Police disbanded for good. Sting was quoted towards the end of the tour that he had achieved closure with the band and revealed that The Police would never tour or record again.
Sting has said that the material on the album Ghost in the Machine were inspired by the writings of Arthur Koestler, and that the Police's final studio album Synchronicity was influenced by the writings of Carl Jung. Sting also peppers his songs with literary allusions: the song "Don't Stand So Close to Me" mentions Vladimir Nabokov's novel Lolita; "Tea in the Sahara" alludes to the novel The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles; and "Wrapped Around Your Finger" refers both to the sea monsters Scylla and Charybdis, from Greek mythology, and to Mephistopheles, from the German legend of Faust .
* Outlandos d'Amour (1978)
* Reggatta de Blanc (1979)
* Zenyatta Mondatta (1980)
* Ghost in the Machine (1981)
* Synchronicity (1983)
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