Friday, February 2, 2007

The Police

Every Breath You Take

The Police were a three-piece British Rock band that came to prominence in the wake of the punk rock phenomenon. They rose to become one of the most popular groups in the world in the early 1980s.

The Police were founded by American-born drummer Stewart Copeland in early 1977. After the demise of his progressive rock band Curved Air, Copeland was anxious to form a new three-piece group and join the burgeoning London punk scene. Singer-bassist Sting and guitarist Henry Padovani began rehearsing with Copeland in January 1977, and they recorded their first Police single, "Fall Out"/"Nothing Achieving," the following month. In March and April, the threesome toured as a support act for Cherry Vanilla as well as Wayne County & the Electric Chairs.

In July 1977 Copeland, Sting, Padovani, and Summers began performing as a four-piece version of the Police. Padovani's relatively limited ability as a guitarist meant that his tenure in the band was short, and soon after an aborted recording session with producer John Cale on August 10th, Padovani left the band and Summers took over sole guitar duties. This lineup of Copeland, Sting, and Summers would endure for the rest of Police history.

The Police, along with the Clash, are notable as one of the first mainstream white bands to adopt reggae as a predominant musical form, and to score major international hits with reggae-styled material. Although ska and reggae were already very popular in the United Kingdom, the style was little known in the United States or other countries. Prior to the emergence of the Police only a handful of reggae songs — such as Eric Clapton's 1974 cover rendition of Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff" — had enjoyed any significant chart success.

The bleached blonde hair that would become a trademark of the band was a lucky accident, occurring before they cut their first album. The band, desperate for money, was asked to do a commercial for Wrigley's Spearmint chewing gum on the condition that they dye their hair blonde.

For the Police, their first album, Outlandos d'Amour was a hardship, working on a small budget, with no manager or record deal. Stewart Copeland's older brother Miles Copeland III heard "Roxanne" for the first time and immediately got them a record deal with A&M Records. Originally released in 1978, the single was re-released in 1979, and it was then that the Police gained widespread recognition in the United Kingdom, as well as scoring a minor hit with the song in several other countries, notably Australia. Their success led to a gig at the infamous New York club CBGB and a grueling United States tour.

As with several other international acts of this period (e.g. Blondie), the Police gained early popularity in Australia through their first Australian tour. The band also had their first international hits in Australia before achieving popularity in other countries. The key factor in their early Australian breakthrough was that they were enthusiastically supported by Australia's only non-commercial rock radio station, Triple J in Sydney, which in turn led to early exposure for their music videos on the popular national pop show Countdown.
In October 1979 the group released their second album Reggatta de Blanc, which was a major seller in many countries and which spawned the U.K. singles "Message In A Bottle," their first #1, and "Walking On The Moon," also a chart topper. The instrumental title track would win the Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.

Pressured by their record company for a new record and a prompt return to touring by fall's end, the Police quickly released their third album, Zenyatta Mondatta in the fall of 1980. The album gave the group their third U.K. #1 hit, "Don't Stand So Close to Me", and "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da", which charted successfully in the United States. Zenyatta Mondatta gave the Police worldwide fame. In subsequent interviews Sting himself expressed some disappointment with the album, regretting the rushed nature of its recording. However, many critics would later cite it as one of their strongest efforts. It was, however, the last album in which the group collectively cooperated, or as Sting would later put it, the last album they worked on "as a band". The instrumental "Behind My Camel," written by Andy Summers, would win the band a Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance, in spite of Sting's refusal to play on the track (the bass line being performed by Summers himself). The song "Don't Stand So Close To Me" would win the Grammy for Best Rock Vocal Performance For Duo Or Group.

By this time Sting was becoming a major star in his own right, and he was clearly intent on establishing a career beyond the confines of the Police. He branched out into acting with fair success, making a well-received debut as the 'Ace Face' in the film version of The Who's rock opera Quadrophenia. This was followed with a role as the mysterious visitor in the Richard Loncraine film version of Dennis Potter's play Brimstone and Treacle, as well as scoring a minor solo hit in the United Kingdom with the movie's theme song, "Spread A Little Happiness", appearing on the Brimstone and Treacle soundtrack.

As Sting's fame rose, he began to exert more control over the group, aided by the fact that he wrote the bulk of their material. His relationship with band founder Stewart Copeland began to deteriorate, with the two reputedly coming to blows on some occasions. The increasingly strained partnership was further stretched by the attendant pressures of worldwide fame, conflicting egos, money and publicity.

The Police's fourth album, Ghost In The Machine, co-produced by Hugh Padgham, was released in 1981. It featured thicker sounds, layered saxophones, and vocal textures, spawning the hit singles, "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic", "Invisible Sun", and "Spirits In The Material World". The three red pictographs set against the album cover's black background represent "digital" likenesses of the three band members.

The Police released their last album, Synchronicity, in 1983; it is widely regarded as a classic. Notable songs from that album include the above video "Every Breath You Take", "Wrapped Around Your Finger", "King of Pain" and the foreboding "Synchronicity II". Except for "King of Pain", the singles were accompanied by memorable music videos directed by Godley & Creme. This album hit #1 in both the U.K. (where it debuted at #1) and the U.S. It stayed at #1 in the U.K. for only two weeks and in the U.S. for 17 weeks. It was nominated for the Album of the Year Grammy, but lost to the inevitable winner, Michael Jackson's Thriller. The Police, though, beat out Jackson in one category: "Every Breath You Take" won the Grammy for Song Of The Year, beating Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" in that category. "Every Breath You Take" also won the Grammy for Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal. "Synchronicity II" would also win the Grammy for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal. "Every Breath You Take" would also win the American Video Award for Best Group video and it would also nab two Ivor Novello Awards for the categories Best Song Musically & Lyrically and Most Performed Work.

Although there was never an official break-up, each band member pursued his own solo career after the Synchronicity tour ended in March 1984. In June 1986 they reconvened to play three concerts for the Amnesty International A Conspiracy of Hope Tour. In July of that year, a tense short-lived reunion in the studio produced only subdued re-recordings of "Don't Stand So Close to Me" and "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da" (the former was released on the compilation Every Breath You Take: The Singles, while the latter was eventually released on the DTS version of the compilation Every Breath You Take: The Classics). [1] By this time, it was clear that Sting had no intention of continuing with the band, having already released a successful solo debut LP in 1985, the jazz-influenced The Dream of the Blue Turtles.

In 1992, Sting wed Trudie Styler. Summers and Copeland were invited to the ceremony and reception. Aware that all band members were present, the wedding guests pressured the trio into playing, ultimately performing "Roxanne" and "Message In A Bottle". Copeland said later that "after about three minutes, it became 'the thing' again."

The Police were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame On March 10th 2003 and performed "Roxanne", "Message In a Bottle", and "Every Breath You Take" live, as a group. The latter song was performed alongside Steven Tyler, Gwen Stefani, and John Mayer. Towards the end of the song, Copeland was playing the drums so hard that the head of his snare drum broke. That fall Sting released his biography "Broken Music".

In 2004, Henry Padovani (the band's guitarist before Andy Summers joined) released an album with the participation of Stewart Copeland and Sting in one track, reuniting the "original" Police members in a performance for the first time since 1977.
Month of release (UK)
May 1977
"Fall Out"
April 1978
September 1978
"Can't Stand Losing You"
November 1978
"So Lonely"
April 1979 (re-r.)
June 1979 (re-r.)
"Can't Stand Losing You"
September 1979
"Message in a Bottle"
November 1979 (re-r.)
"Fall Out"
November 1979
"Walking on the Moon"
1980 (Ger. and Fra. only)
"Bring on the Night"
February 1980 (re-r.)
"So Lonely"
June 1980 (UK only)
"Six Pack"
October 1980
"Don't Stand So Close to Me"
December 1980
"De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da"
September 1981 (UK only)
"Invisible Sun"
October 1981
"Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic"
December 1981
"Spirits in the Material World"
May 1982 (US only)
"Secret Journey"
May 1983
"Every Breath You Take"
July 1983
"Wrapped Around Your Finger"
October 1983
"Synchronicity II"
January 1984
"King of Pain"
October 1986
"Don't Stand So Close To Me '86"
"Can't Stand Losing You" (live)
"Roxanne '97" (featuring Pras)

External links
Sting - official website
Andy Summers - official website
Stewart Copeland - official website
Henry Padovani - official website

No comments:

Ad by Google