The Police Outlandos D’Amour (1978):
With the lineup of Sting, Stewart Copeland, and Andy Summers in place, The Police were signed to A&M Records. In the spring of 1978, they released Roxanne, “a Sting-penned paean to a prostitute” RH noted for “its intriguing start-stop rhythms.” RH It failed to chart.
The group then launched a tour of America that summer despite not having an album to support yet. Among their appearances was a performance at New York’s famous CBGB’s club on October 20, 1978.
The group’s debut album, Outlandos D’Amour (“Outlaws of Love”), was released in November. It was “filled with the economical, reggae-accented New Wave pop that became the group’s stock in trade.” RH The group toured in support of Alberto y los Trios Paranoias and released So Lonely. In the spring of 1979, the rereleased “Roxanne” reached #12 on the UK charts and the Outlandos D’Amour album got to #6.
“Miles also had the group tour parts of the world, including India and Argentina, that were unaccustomed to having rock bands pass through…This groundwork eventually helped the Police become a global sensation.” RH
- Roxanne [3:12] (4/7/78, 32 US, 31 CB, 39 HR, 1 CL, 2 CO, 12 UK, 31 CN, 34 AU) ES, G, EC, 97, 98
- Can’t Stand Losing You [2:58] (8/14/78, 8 CL, 8 CO, 2 UK) ES, G, EC, 97, 98
- So Lonely [4:49] (11/3/78, 10 CL, 5 CO, 6 UK) G
The Police Reggatta De Blanc (1979):
Sting tried out his acting chops in the summer of 1979 with a part in the film Quadrophenia, based on the Who’s album of the same name. He also acted in Radio On. That fall, the Police released their second album, Reggatta De Blanc, which loosely translates to “White Reggae.” It was preceded by the single Message in a Bottle, which topped the UK charts. The band went on to hit #1 with Reggatta De Blanc in the UK and it reached #25 in the United States. They also stoked their international following with tours in countries such as Thailand, India, Mexico, Greece, and Egypt, that rarely saw concerts from foreign performers. A-P “By tour’s end, the Police were budding superstars.” RH
- Message in a Bottle [4:51] (9/21/79, 74 US, 62 CB, 80 HR, 2 CL, 3 CO, 1 UK, 2 CN, 5 AU) ES, G, EC, 97, 98
- Walking on the Moon [5:02] (11/4/79, 6 CL 6 CO, 1 UK) ES, G, EC, 97, 98
- Bring on the Night [4:16] (11/22/79, 22 CL, 30 CO) BN
The Police Zenyatta Mondatta (1980):
“Now on an extremely tight schedule, the in-demand band finished recording in the wee hours of August 9 and kicked off the first gig of a world tour in Belgium that evening.” RH “Constant playing further refined the trio’s less-is-more approach, and there were few wasted or extraneous notes even as they offered much to digest rhythmically, musically and philosophically.” RH
The song’s on the Police’s third album, Zenyatta Mondatta, showed Sting turning “his attention to subjects beyond the self, resulting in more philosophical songs like Driven to Tears, When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around and Canary in a Coalmine.” RH
The album also saw the group achieve their breakthrough in North America, reaching the top 10 with Don’t Stand So Close to Me (a #1 in the UK) and De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da. The album hit #5 in the United States.
- Don’t Stand So Close to Me [4:04] (9/19/80, 10 US, 11 AR, 2 CL, 1 UK, 2 CN, 3 AU) G, EC, 97, 98
- De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da [4:09] (10/25/80, 10 US, 4 CL, 5 UK, 5 CN, 6 AU) ES, G, EC, 98
- The Bed’s Too Big Without You [4:26] (6/8/80, 21 CL, 11 CO, 17 UK) G
- Driven to Tears [3:20] (3/28/81, 35 AR, 14 CL) BN
- When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around [3:38] (21 CL) BN
The Police Ghost in the Machine (1981):
By the onset of 1981, the group had sold out Madison Square Garden. Later that year, they recorded their fourth album, Ghost in the Machine, on the Caribbean island of Montserrat. Hugh Padgham produced the album and the sessions were filmed for a BBC documentary hosted by Jools Holland. The album was completed in a couple of months and released that fall.
It found them “expanding their sonic palette by judiciously incorporating keyboards and saxes into the matrix. Much of the material – notably Spirits in the Material World, One World (Not Three) and Rehumanize Yourself – found Sting tapping into a spiritual vein that preached and yearned for global unity. Invisible Sun lamented violence in Northern Ireland with an almost metaphysical grace.” RH
However, it was the “celebratory love song Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” RH which gave the Police their biggest hit to date. It was yet another #1 in the UK and reached #3 in the United States. The album hit #1 in the UK and #2 in the U.S.
- Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic [4:22] (9/25/81, 3 US, 6 CB, 8 HR, 3 RR, 1 AR, 1 CO, 1 UK, 1 CN, 2 AU) ES, G, EC, 97, 98
- Invisible Sun [3:44] (9/26/81, 10 CL, 8 CO, 2 UK, 89 AU) ES, G, EC
- Spirits in the Material World [2:59] (12/5/81, 11 US, 15 CB, 17 HR, 9 RR, 7 AR, 2 CO, 12 UK, 13 CN, 50 AU) ES, G, EC
- Demolition Man [5:57] BN
- One World (Not Three) [4:47] BN
The Police Synchronicity (1983):
After being named Best British Group at the first Brit Awards and winning three Grammys, the group took a break. Sting acted in the movie Brimstone and Treacle. He and the Police also provided music for the soundtrack. Copeland provided the score for Francis Ford Coppola’s Rumble Fish and the San Francisco Ballet’s King Lear. He also played on sessions for Peter Gabriel and released an album under the name Klark Kent. Summers recorded I Advance Masked, an instrumental album, with Robert Fripp. A-P
The Police headed back to Montserrat again and recorded a new album over six weeks. “Synchronicity “was exotic yet accessible, and its hauntingly soulful leadoff single, a href="http://davesmusicdatabase.blogspot.com/2012/07/police-hit-1-with-every-breath-you-take.html">Every Breath You Take, topped the American charts for eight weeks.” RH With two more top-10 hits and a top-20 hit in the U.S., the album was propelled to a whopping 17 weeks atop the charts and sold over 10 million worldwide.
The Police also set precedents for tours for the remainder of the ‘80s with their record-breaking world tour, including a performance to 70,000 fans at Shea Stadium on August 18, 1983. RH They also won three Grammys in 1984, including Song of the Year for “a href="http://davesmusicdatabase.blogspot.com/2012/07/police-hit-1-with-every-breath-you-take.html">Every Breath You Take.”
- Every Breath You Take [4:14] (5/28/83, 1 US, 5 AC, 1, 1 AR, 1 UK, 1 CN, 2 AU, sales: 1 million, airplay: 15 million) ES, G, EC, 97, 98
- King of Pain [4:58] (7/9/83, 3 US, 1 AR, 33 AC, 17 UK, 1 CN, 44 AU) ES, G, EC
- Wrapped Around Your Finger [5:13] (7/9/83, 8 US, 9 AR, 13 AC, 7 UK, 10 CN, 26 AU, airplay: 1 million) ES, G, EC
- Synchronicity II [5:02] (7/16/83, 16 US, 9 AR, 17 UK, 21 CN) G
- Tea in the Sahara [4:11] BN, G
Sting The Dream of the Blue Turtles (1985):
During the tour for Synchronicity, tensions arose between the band members and they “privately…shared the uneasy feeling that they had peaked…Their fragile group chemistry – which had always thrived on a certain amount of friction – was causing them to splinter.” RH They dcided to take a sabbatical.
Sting went to work with jazz musicians Branford Marsalis, Kenny Kirkland, and Omar Hakim to record his first solo album, The Dream of the Blue Turtles. “The move wasn’t entirely unexpected, since Sting had played with jazz and progressive rock bands in his youth, but the result was considerably more mature and diverse than any Police record.” A-S
Sting became a star in his own right with the album reaching #2 in the United States, supported by top-ten hits If You Love Somebody Set Them Free and Fortress Around Your Heart. Meanwhile, Copeland recorded The Rhythmatist, a world music album, in 1985. He would also do further work scoring films and television.
- If You Love Somebody Set Them Free [4:14] (6/8/85, 3 US, 2 CB, 3 RR, 1 AR, 39 AC, 17 RB, 26 UK, 18 AU) FU, FI, 97, 98
- Fortress Around Your Heart [4:48] (7/6/85, 8 US, 10 CB, 6 RR, 1 AR, 32 AC, 49 UK, 72 AU) FU
- Love Is the Seventh Wave [3:30] (8/1/85, 17 US, 20 CB, 16 RR, 19 AR, 20 AC, 41 UK, 57 AU) BN, FI
- Russians (Prokofiev/Sting) [3:57] (12/7/85, 16 US, 16 CB, 13 RR, 34 AR, 12 UK, 11 AU) FU, FI, 97
- Moon Over Bourbon Street [3:59] (2/15/86, 44 UK) BN, FI
- Children’s Crusade [5:00] BN
- We Work the Black Seam [5:40] BN
- Consider Me Gone [4:21] BN
- The Dream of the Blue Turtles [1:15] BN