KOOL 98 Superstars – The Police
“De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da” … When you can make that not only a song title but a hit record you have got style, swagger and the wow factor. That was exactly what the A&M Record Execs were thinking when they signed a trio in 1977. Gordon Sumner (aka Sting) Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland were formed and the trio became known as the Police. The trio would play their first gig together on August 18th, 1977 at Rebecca’s Pub in Birmingham, England. The combination of great pop hooks, exotic rhythms, boyish blonde good looks, and impeccable timing gave the trio a massive following in the UK, the US and around the world.
Their distinctive sound captured the attention of A&M and by 1978 the Police has released their first studio album, Outlando’s d’Amour. The band actually released the single “Roxanne” in the spring of 1978, while other album tracks were still being recorded, but it failed to chart. The second single released was “Cant Stand Losing You” fared a little better in the UK hitting the charts and peaking at #42. In February 1979 “Roxanne” was re-released as a single in North America, where it was warmly received on radio despite the subject matter. The song peaked at No. 31 in Canada and No. 32 in the US, spurring a UK re-release of it in April. The band performed “Roxanne” on BBC1’s Top of the Pops, and the re-issue of the song finally gained the band widespread recognition in the UK when it peaked at No. 12 on the UK Singles Chart.
The Police followed up with the release of Reggatta de Blanc their second studio album, in October 1979. Reggatta de Blanc met with more widespread acceptance topping the UK Albums Chart, and became the first of five consecutive UK No. 1 albums for the band. The album spawned the hit singles “Message in a Bottle” which hit No. 1 UK, No. 2 in Canada, and No. 5 Australia and “Walking on the Moon” which hit No. 1 in the UK. The album’s singles failed to break the US top 40, but Reggatta de Blanc still hit No. 25 on the US album charts.
Under pressure from their record label The Police released Zenyatta Mondat in October of 1980. The album produced a couple of UK #1 hits with “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” and De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da, which also both cracked the top 10 on the US Charts. The Band felt rushed by the record label, having a 3 week period to record the album for tax purposes in the Netherlands. Despite the hasty rush recording, the band picked up a Grammy for Best vocal by a duo or group for “Don’t Stand So Close To Me.”
The Police continued the torrid pace of touring and building the following and still found time to release their 4th studio album in 1981, Ghost In The Machine. It was a more progressive album featuring thicker sounds, layered saxophones, and vocal textures. It spawned the hit singles “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” their fourth UK No. 1 and No. 3 in the U.S., “Invisible Sun”, and “Spirits in the Material World. This album secured the Police a place amongst the biggest hit makers of the decade. The success also brought some tax issues for the group and forced the band to take a brief hiatus.
Enter 1983…the Police released, what turned out to be their their last studio album, Synchronicity. The Album produced the hit singles “Every Breath You Take”, “Wrapped Around Your Finger”, “King of Pain”, and “Synchronicity II.” Now, several critics deemed The Police “the biggest rock band in the world.” Despite a record breaking tour that coincided with the album rumors were rampant. Recording Synchronicity, it was later revealed, was a tense affair filled with increasing disputes among the band. Those close to the band stated that the members recorded their contributions individually in separate rooms and over-dubbed at different times. Synchronicity was the No. 1 album in both the UK and the US. It stayed at No. 1 in the UK for two weeks and in the US for seventeen weeks. It was nominated for Grammy Awards for Album of the Year, but lost to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. “Every Breath You Take” won the Grammy for Song of the Year, beating Jackson’s “Billie Jean”. “Every Breath You Take” also won the Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, while “Synchronicity II” won the Grammy for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. “Every Breath You Take” also won the American Video Award for Best Group video.
The band took another hiatus after the tour leading to more speculation about the demise of The Police. The band got back together briefly in 1986 to perform on stage with Amnesty International’s Conspiracy of Hope Tour. They discussed a 6th studio album but that plan was aborted and it marked the last of the studio recordings of the band known as The Police. The Band got back together in 2007 for a Reunion Tour While the Band members all embarked on solo careers, it was only Sting who managed to find success as a solo artist. Many have asked how Gordon Matthew Sumner became known simply as Sting? He gained his nickname after his habit of wearing a black and yellow sweater with hooped stripes with a band called the Phoenix Jazzmen. Bandleader Gordon Solomon thought he looked like a bee, but according to Sting himself, “they thought I looked like a wasp”, which prompted the name “Sting”.
The Police have released five studio albums, two live albums, seven compilation albums, twelve video albums, four soundtrack albums, and 26 singles. The Police have sold over 100 million records world wide been hailed as one of the top grossing acts for their 198-84 Synchronicity Tour and have been listed in the VHS (#40) and Rolling Stones Top 100 )#70) Greatest Artists of all time. They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in the first year of eligibility in 2003.
Style, Swagger and a Wow Factor and a musical legacy that continues to endure and resonate make The Police – true KOOL 98 Superstars!!