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March 22, 1978 A&M Records sign The Police
Vh1 Classic ^ | 3-22-06

Posted on 03/22/2006 9:24:02 AM PST by sully777

On this date March 22,1978 The Police sign to A&M Records (on the strength of their recorded single Roxanne).

TOPICS: Chit/Chat; Miscellaneous; Music/Entertainment
KEYWORDS: blueturtles; copeland; genx; itwuzjustyesterday; police; retro; skapunk; stewart; sting; youarethatold

The Police (Biographic)  Nominally, the Police were punk rock, but that's only in the loosest sense of the term. The trio's nervous, reggae-injected pop/rock was punky, but it wasn't necessarily punk. All three members were considerably more technically proficient than the average punk or new wave band. Andy Summers had a precise guitar attack that created dense, interlocking waves of sounds and effects. Stewart Copeland could play polyrhythms effortlessly. And Sting, with his high, keening voice, was capable of constructing infectiously catchy pop songs. While they weren't punk, the Police certainly demonstrated that the punk spirit could have a future in pop music. As their career progressed, the Police grew considerably more adventurous, experimenting with jazz and various world musics. All the while, the band's tight delivery and mastery of the pop single kept their audience increasing, and by 1983, they were the most popular rock & roll band in the world. Though they were at the height of their fame, internal tensions caused the band to splinter apart in 1984, with Sting picking up the majority of the band's audience to become an international superstar.

Stewart Copeland and Sting (born Gordon Sumner ) formed the Police in 1977. Prior to the band's formation, Copeland, the son of a CIA agent, had attended college in California, before he moved to England and joined the progressive rock band Curved Air . Sting was a teacher and a ditch digger who played in jazz-rock bands, including Last Exit, on the side. The two musicians met at a local jazz club and decided to form a progressive pop band with guitarist Henri Padovani . For the first few months, the group played local London pubs. Soon, they were hired to appear as a bleached-blonde punk band in a chewing gum commercial. While the commercial provided exposure, it drew the scorn of genuine punkers. Late in 1977, the band released its first single, "Fall Out," on IRS, an independent label Stewart Copeland founded with his brother Miles, who was also the manager of the Police. The single was a sizable hit for an independent release, selling about 70,000 copies.

Padovani was replaced by Andy Summers, a veteran of the British Invasion, following the release of "Fall Out." Summers had previous played with Eric Burdon's second lineup of the Animals ,the Zoot Money's Big Roll Band , the Kevin Ayers Band, and Neil Sedaka . The Police signed with A&M by the spring of 1978, committing to a contract that gave the group a higher royalty rate in lieu of a large advance. A&M released "Roxanne" in the spring of 1978, but it failed to chart. The Police set out on a tour of America in the summer of 1978 without any record to support, traveling across the country in a rented van and playing with rented equipment. Released in the fall of 1978, Outlandos D'Amour began a slow climb into the British Top Ten and American Top 30. Immediately after its release, the group began a U.K. tour supporting Alberto y los Trios Paranoias and released the "So Lonely" single. By the spring of 1979, the re-released "Roxanne" had climbed to number 12 on the U.K. charts, taking Outlandos d'Amour to number six. In the summer of 1979, Sting appeared in Quadrophenia , a British film based on the Who album of the same name; later that year, he acted in Radio On .

Preceded by the number one British single "Message in a Bottle," Reggatta de Blanc (fall 1979) established the group as stars in England and Europe, topping the U.K. charts for four weeks. Following its release, Miles Copeland had the band tour several countries that rarely received concerts from foreign performers, including Thailand, India, Mexico, Greece, and Egypt. Zenyatta Mondatta , released in the fall of 1980, became the Police's North American breakthrough, reaching the Top Ten in the U.S. and Canada; in England, the album spent four weeks at number one. "Don't Stand So Close to Me," the album's first single, became the group's second number one single in the U.K.; in America, the single became their second Top Ten hit in the spring of 1981, following the number ten placing of "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da" in the winter. By the beginning of 1981, the Police were able to sell out Madison Square Garden. Capitalizing on their success, the band returned to the studio in the summer of 1981 to record their fourth album with producer Hugh Padgham . The sessions, which were filmed for a BBC documentary hosted by Jools Holland , were completed within a couple months, and the album, Ghost in the Machine , appeared in the fall of 1981. Ghost in the Machine became an instant hit, reaching number one in the U.K. and number two in the U.S. as "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" became their biggest hit to date.

Following their whirlwind success of 1980 and 1981, in which they were named the Best British Group at the first Brit Awards and won three Grammys, the band took a break in 1982. Though they played their first arena concerts and headlined the U.S. Festival, each member pursued side projects during the course of the year. Sting acted in Brimstone and Treacle , releasing a solo single, "Spread a Little Happiness," from the soundtrack; the song became a British hit. Copeland scored Francis Ford Coppola 's Rumble Fish , as well as the San Francisco Ballet's King Lear , and released an album under the name Klark Kent; he also played on several sessions for Peter Gabriel . Summers recorded an instrumental album, I Advance Masked , with Robert Fripp . The Police returned in the summer of 1983 with Synchronicity , which entered the U.K. charts at number one and quickly climbed to the same position in the U.S., where it would stay for 17 weeks. Synchronicity became a blockbuster success on the strength of the ballad "Every Breath You Take." Spending eight weeks at the top of the U.S. charts, "Every Breath You Take" became one of the biggest American hits of all time; it spent four weeks at the top of the U.K. charts. "King of Pain" and "Wrapped Around Your Finger" became hits over the course of 1983, sending Synchronicity to multi-platinum status in America and Britain. The Police supported the album with a blockbuster, record-breaking world tour that set precedents for tours for the remainder of the '80s. Once the tour was completed, the band announced they were going on "sabbatical" in order to pursue outside interests.

The Police never returned from sabbatical. During the Synchronicity tour, personal and creative tensions between the bandmembers had escalated greatly, and they had no desire to work together for a while. Sting began working on a jazz-tinged solo project immediately, releasing The Dream of the Blue Turtles in 1985. The album became an international hit, establishing him as a commercial force outside of the band. Copeland and Summers demonstrated no inclination to follow their bandmate's path. Copeland recorded the worldbeat exploration The Rhythmatist in 1985, and continued to compose scores for film and television; he later formed the prog rock band Animal Logic. With his solo career -- which didn't officially begin until the release of 1987's XYZ -- Summers continued his art rock and jazz fusion experiments; he also occasionally collaborated Fripp and John Etheridge .

During 1986, the Police made a few attempts to reunite, playing an Amnesty International concert and attempting to record a handful of new tracks for a greatest-hits album in the summer. As the studio session unraveled, it became apparent that Sting had no intention of giving the band his new songs to record, so the group re-recorded a couple of old songs, but even those were thrown off track after Copeland suffered a polo injury. Featuring a new version of "Don't Stand So Close to Me," the compilation Every Breath You Take: The Singles was released for the 1986 Christmas season, becoming the group's fifth straight British number one and their fourth American Top Ten. Following its release, the group quietly disbanded, reuniting to play Sting's marriage in 1992. That same year, a Greatest Hits album was released in the U.K. The following year, the box set Message In A Box: The Complete Recordings was released, followed in 1995 by the double album Live .

~ Biographic review written by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

1 posted on 03/22/2006 9:24:06 AM PST by sully777
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To: sully777


2 posted on 03/22/2006 9:28:56 AM PST by BreitbartSentMe (Ex-Dem since 2001 *Folding@Home for the Gipper - Join the FReeper Folders*)
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To: Slings and Arrows; qam1; martin_fierro; BJClinton; Xenophobic Alien; TheBigB; MeekOneGOP; ...
So Lonely (UK Single)

Outlandos D’ Amour (First Album/CD)

3 posted on 03/22/2006 9:34:58 AM PST by sully777 (wWBBD: What would Brian Boitano do?)
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To: sully777

I saw The Police in the spring of '82 at the Met in Bloomington, MN during the "Ghost in the Machine" tour.

I'm sure it was a fantastic concert.

4 posted on 03/22/2006 9:56:48 AM PST by newgeezer (Just my opinion, of course. Your mileage may vary.)
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To: newgeezer

I'm sure it was a fantastic concert.

LOL, you seem to indicate that you can't remember.

5 posted on 03/22/2006 9:58:39 AM PST by sully777 (wWBBD: What would Brian Boitano do?)
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To: sully777
I just bought the dvd release of the Synchronicty tour with all the extra songs left out..etc...although I loved the Police on record...their live performances were sloppy and rushed imo. Copeland overrated...he accomplished all he ever needed to prove on one record instead of expanding on a bunch of albums. Summers was a great player but really became sloppy in older age...and Sting had and will always have a huge ego...too big for my taste. With saying that...the best rock trio ever is Rush. Period.
6 posted on 03/22/2006 10:35:39 AM PST by My Favorite Headache ("Scientology is dangerous stuff,it's like forming a religion based around Johnny Quest and Haji.")
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To: My Favorite Headache
IMO, early Police were better than the latter.

Re: A rock trio better than Rush? I'm thinking Cream

7 posted on 03/22/2006 10:49:53 AM PST by sully777 (wWBBD: What would Brian Boitano do?)
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To: Bush_Democrat
I have only one comment to make to this thread:

Di Doo Doo Dah!

8 posted on 03/22/2006 11:01:28 AM PST by Rummyfan
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To: sully777; ItsOurTimeNow; PresbyRev; tortoise; Fraulein; StoneColdGOP; Clemenza; malakhi; ...
Xer Ping

Ping list for the discussion of the politics and social (and sometimes nostalgic) aspects that directly effects Generation Reagan / Generation-X (Those born from 1965-1981) including all the spending previous generations (i.e. The Baby Boomers) are doing that Gen-X and Y will end up paying for.

Freep mail me to be added or dropped. See my home page for details and previous articles.

9 posted on 03/22/2006 12:29:37 PM PST by qam1 (There's been a huge party. All plates and the bottles are empty, all that's left is the bill to pay)
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To: qam1

Ahhhh...all those Saturday mornings spent watching Syncronicity on VHS that we made my mom rent every week. *sigh* Memories! Got to see Sting in concert in 1989. That was a treat! We somehow managed to snag front row seats. Unfortunately, I never got to see Police in concert. I wasn't old enough to be let out alone!

10 posted on 03/22/2006 4:03:52 PM PST by samiam1972 (Live simply so that others may simply live!)
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To: sully777
I'm sure the members of Rush would agree with you on Cream but as a person with their hearing still well intact...I give it to Rush by a mile. Although Rush did do a covers album in 2004 with a nod to Cream thrown in...
11 posted on 03/22/2006 8:32:00 PM PST by My Favorite Headache ("Scientology is dangerous stuff,it's like forming a religion based around Johnny Quest and Haji.")
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To: Bush_Democrat

"A&M released "Roxanne" in the spring of 1978, but it failed to chart."

Essentially, another fringe song I never heard until having to hear "classic" rock stations while working in the auto store c. 1990.

12 posted on 03/23/2006 7:12:00 AM PST by the OlLine Rebel (Common sense is an uncommon virtue.)
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To: Bush_Democrat

U2 was signed as a Punk band too. Early stuff shows it.

13 posted on 03/24/2006 1:37:52 PM PST by Conservomax (There are no solutions, only trade-offs.)
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