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The Police

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Contents

Introduction


The Police are a rock band that were formed in London in 1977. This was at a time when punk rock was at its peak in England and though The Police could never be described as a punk band they used that image to some extent to gain an audience. Whilst their early records were undoubtably influenced by punk they also took influence from reggae and jazz.

Their albums have sold massively, apparently they have sold more than 50 million copies!!

They are a trio consisting of Sting on bass and vocals, Andy Summers on guitar and vocals and Stewart Copeland on drums and vocals. There were frequent tensions within the band and in 1984 they disbanded and followed solo careers. However in 2007 they reformed for an extremely successful and lucrative reunion tour which made them the highest paid musicians in the world during 2008. This was intended to be a one off reunion but time will tell if they can resist the lure to play together again.


History and Evolution

The 70s


The band formed in January 1977. Stewart Copeland formerly of prog rock band Curved Air is credited as being the driving force in the formation of the band. He was joined by Sting on bass and vocals and by guitarist Henry Padovani. They recorded their first single in February 1977.
The trio gigged and toured the UK as a support band. In parallel with this in April of 1977 Sting met and played with Andy Summers in a band named Strontium 90 and due to the absence of a drummer Stewart Copeland was invited along too.


This resulted in Summers joining THe Police as rythym guitarist in July 77 and so The Police became a quartet. However Sting became increasingly disenchanted with the comparative limitations in the guitar prowess of Padovani who subsequently quickly left the band. This left the classic Police lineup of Sting, Summers and Copeland.


In 1978 The Police recorded their first album Outlandos d'Amour. Copelands brother acted as their manager and on the strength of the recording paricularly the reggae influenced "Roxanne" was able to secure a deal with A&M Records. Roxanne became a big hit in the UK in 1979 (I remember it well!! Showing my age!).

Two further albums Reggatta de Blanc and Zenyatta Mondatta were released in 78 and 79 each widening their appeal and catapulting the band to global stardom.


The 80s


In March 1980, the Police did their first world tour and played gigs as far apart as Bombay and Mexico City as well as the UK and USA. At the same time Sting was becoming increasingly seen as the star within the band and this was further enhanced by his burgeoning acting career. He recieved critical aclaim for his portrayal of the Ace Face in the film of The Who's Quadrophenia.

Their fourth album Ghost in the Machine, was released in 1981, and in 1983 they released their last album Synchronicity, which included the massively popular "Every Breath You Take".

The band set off on a world tour to promote the album and at the end of the tour the band split and went their seperate ways.

In 1986 The Police performed together again in aid of Amnesty International.


The 90s


As a band The Police did not exist during the 90s each member pursuing their own seperate solo careers. However they did play together in 1992 at the wedding of Sting to Trudie Styler.


Year 2000 Onwards


No new material but the band got together for a massive reunion tour which began in Vancover on May 28 2007 and ran untill August 7 2008 at Maddison Square Garden. Sting has said that that is it for the Police, no more tours, no more albums.


Band Members


Sting


Sting whose real name is Gordon Sumner was born in Newcastle in 1951. He has become the most well known and most sucessful of the members of Police. He trained as a teacher but his passion was always music and he played in several Newcastle bands often playing jazz before moving to LOndon in 1977 where he met Copeland and formed the Police.

He gained his nickname after wearing a jumper with yellow and black horizontal stripes which made him look like a bee, to a gig.

He was the primary songwriter in THe Police and post Police has continued to be very successful within music and as an actor. Jazz has always been a major influence in his music. In 1985 he also sang the introduction and chorus to "Money for Nothing", by Dire Straits.

Sting has used his high profile to help support a number of causes. In particular he actively supports human rights via Amnesty International and projects which help to aleviate world hunger. He also co-founded with his wife the Rainforest Foundation to help save the rainforests. In recognition of his work in this area a species of Colombian tree frog, Dendropsophus stingi, was named after him.

Stings favoured instruments are S: a 1957 Fender Precision Bass, and a 1955 Fender Precision. Both are equipped with Basslines Single Coil Stack pickups and strung with DR Hi Beams (.040–.100). He has used a bass pick in the past but now favours playing fingerstyle.



Andy Summers


A native of Lancashire born in 1942. He started playing guitar at the age of 14. By 17 he was playing local gigs. He was largely self taught but he did study classical guitar at California State University for four years.

During the early 70's he worked as a session guitarist and also spent time with Curved Air and also recorded with Eric Burdon and The Animals.


With the Police he used a number od instruments but his favoured guitars include:
1963 Fender Telecaster Custom
1961 Fiesta Red Fender Stratocaster
1958 Gibson ES-335
1957 Gibson Les Paul


Stewart Copland


Born into a military family in the USA he spent his early years in Egypt. He bagan playing drums at the age of 12. His break in music came in 1974 when he worked as a roadie for Curved Air and then won the drummers seat for the band during 1975/76.

He was a founder member of The Police. He is an influencial drummer with a particular style which is precice and based upon a very tight snare sound.On some Police tracks he relies on only hi=hat and bass drum. He uses Tama Drums, Paiste Cymbalsand Remo skins.


Discography


Outlandos d'Amour (1978)
Reggatta de Blanc (1979)
Zenyattà Mondatta (1980)
Ghost in the Machine (1981)
Synchronicity (1983)


Videos


The track that started it all....


At their most popular, distinctive guitar and drums....

Their biggest hit....