The Eighties Club
The Politics and Pop Culture of the 1980s
A Decade in the Life
of
The Police

Stewart Armstrong Copeland (b. 7.16.52, Alexandria, VA) was the son of a CIA agent, and spent some of his youth in the Mideast. In the UK, while the drummer for progressive rock band Curved Air (managed by Stewart's brother Miles), Copeland meets Gordon Matthew Sumner (b. 10.2.51, Wallsend, Tyne & Wear), an ex-schoolteacher playing with a Newcastle jazz combo called Last Exit. Sumner is known as "Sting" thanks to the black and yellow jersey he always wears, and the two are introduced by a local journalist. A year later, they meet again and form a new band and begin rehearsing with a Corsican guitarist named Henri Padovani in Copeland's London flat. In February 1977 they record their first single, "Fall Out," then back New York singer Cherry Vanilla for her UK tour. In May of that year they meet guitarist Andrew James Summers (b.12.31.42, Blackpool, England), who joins the group. Padovani quits shortly thereafter, and the trio open 1978 recording their first album at Surrey Sound Studios. Miles Copeland negotiates a deal with A&M records to release "Roxanne" as a single in the UK, but the song fails to chart. The band has better luck with the next release, "Can't Stand Losing You," which peaks at UK#46. But when their debut album, Outlandos D'Amour, is released at the end of 1978, it soars to UK#6 and US#23. "Roxanne" goes to UK#12 the second time around -- and The Police are off and running.
1979 saw them embark on not one but two US tours and headline in Britain for the first time. Re-released, "Can't Stand Losing You" climbs to UK#2. Sting appears in the film Quadrophenia but turns down other acting jobs, including the role of the villain in the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only. The band has their first #1 song with "Message In A Bottle," which tops the UK chart only two weeks after release in September. The following month, their second album, Reggatta De Blanc soars to UK#1 and remains there for a month. In December the single "Walking On The Moon" climbs to UK#1. The band, dominated now by Sting, is so popular that it must travel in an army personnel carrier from London's Hammersmith Palais to the Odeon when, on December 18, they played both on the same night...


January 1980
The Police begins its first world tour (37 cities in 19 countries) with a concert in Buffalo, New York, and sets up their own charity, Outlandos Trust.
March 1980
"So Lonley" peaks at UK#6, making it the group's fourth Top 10 British hit in a row. They become the first Western band to perform in Bombay, India.
July 1980
The band begins work on their third album in Holland's Wisseloord Studio, and play the Dalymount Festival in Dublin with Squeeze and U2.
September 1980
"Don't Stand So Close To Me" soars to UK#1, where it will remain for four weeks.
October 1980
Zenyatta Mondatta goes to UK#1, and will stay there for four weeks. The BBC airs a documentary on the band.
January 1981
The Police begin a two-month tour of North America with a sold-out concert in New York's Madison Square Garden. Meanwhile, "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da," previously hitting UK#5, climbs to US#10. Zenyatta Mondatta becomes the band's first American Top 10 album, going to US#5. It will be certified platinum by the RIAA next month.
February 1981
Regatta De Blanc wins Best Rock Instrumental Performance at the 23rd Grammy Awards.
April 1981
"Don't Stand So Close To Me" goes to US#10. The following month, Sting will be named Songwriter of the Year at the Ivor Novello Awards, in London.
October 1981
"Invisible Sun" hits UK#2 while its parent album, Ghost In The Machine, recorded at AIR studios in Montserrat, makes UK#, where it remains for three weeks.
November 1981
"Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" climbs to UK#1. Next month it will peak at US#3, while "Spirits In The Material World" goes to UK#12.
January 1982
Ghost In The Machine peaks at US#2, staying there for six weeks.
February 1982
The Police are named Best British Rock Group at the 1st Annual BRIT Awards. On the same day the band wins Grammy Awards for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group ("Don't Stand So Close To Me") and Best Rock Instrumental Performance ("Behind My Camel.")
March 1982
"Spirit In The Material World" reaches US#11.
July 1982
Stewart Copeland scores the Francis Ford Coppola movie, Rumble Fish.
September 1982
Sting's first solo single, a remake of "Sprea A Little Happiness" from the Brimstone and Treacle soundtrack, reaches UK#16. Next month, Copeland writes a score for the San Francisco Balley's production of King Lear, while Andy Summers releases an instrumental album entitled I Advance Masked, a collaboration with King Crimson's Robert Fripp.
June 1983
"Every Breath You Take," written by Sting, soars to UK#1, it's home for four weeks. The parent album, Synchronicity, enters the British album chart at #1.
July 1983
"Every Breath You Take" hits US#1, where it will stay for eight weeks. Synchronicity tops the US album chart for seventeen weeks, and goes quadruple platinum.
August 1983
"Wrapped Around Your Finger" climbs to UK#7 and US#8.
October 1983
"King Of Pain" makes it to US#3. Billboard's Year in Music survey will name "Every Breath You Take" the Top Single next month.
February 1984
"Every Breath You Take" wins Song of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group at the 26th Annual Grammy Awards. Sychronicity is named Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group.
March 1984
"Wrapped Around Your Finger" climbs to US#8.
April 1984
"Every Breath You Take" is named Best Group Video at the 2nd Annual American Video Awards.
September 1984
Andy Summers and Robert Fripp release another collaborative effort, Bewitched.
November 1984
RIAA certifies that Synchronicity has sold four million units, while Ghost In The Machine has won two million units.
May 1985
Copeland releases a solo album, The Rhythmatist. Next month, Sting will release his debut solo album, Dream Of The Blue Turtles.
July 1986
The bank begins rehearsing for their next album, but the sessions end when Sting decides to pursue his solo musical and acting careers.
November 1986
Every Breath You Take - The Singles, a greatest hits album, climbs to UK#1, the band's fifth consecutive #1 album in Britain, and peaks at US#7.
July 1987
Summers releases the solo album XYZ.
January 1988
Copeland releases the solo instrumental album The Equalizer And Other Cliff Hangers. He will compose several films cores, including one for Wall Street. In 1989 he will form the band Animal Logic with Deborah Holland and Stanley Clarke.


Zenyatta Mondatta (A&M, 1980)
Don't Stand So Close To Me
Driven To Tears
When The World Is Running Down You Make The Best Of What's Still Around
Canary In A Coalmine
Voices Inside My Head
Bombs Away
De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da
Behind My Camel
Man In A Suitcase
Shadows In The Rain
The Other Way Of Stopping

"The Police can be airtight for driving rhythm or a pop feel, or loose to show off their chops. They avoid, or at least rearrange, cliches (by putting them into a new context), and they just sound so damned good. And that's the whole idea, isn't it?"
Trouser Press

"The third in an unbroken line of stupid titles that attempt to clothe plain fare in mystery, like the menu in a greasy French  Bayswater cafe. Too much of a mediocre thing."
New Musical Express

"Not only great, it is of enormous cultural significance."
Record Mirror

"Offers near-perfect pop by a band that bends all the rules."
Rolling Stone

Ghost In The Machine (A&M, 1981)
Spirits In The Material World
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
Invisible Sun
Hungry For You
Demolition Man
Too Much Information
Rehumanize Yourself
One World (Not Three)
Omegaman
Secret Journey
Darkness

"They're refreshed, back on top and sprinting, not walking, on the moon."
Melody Maker

"At least half the songs aren't as bad as what's been done with them."
Trouser Press

"The best thing they've ever done."
Record Mirror

"Returns the Police to the stridency and hypnosis of their debut LP."
New York Rocker

Synchronicity (A&M, 1983)
Synchronicity I
Walking In Your Footsteps
O My God
Mother
Miss Gradenko
Synchronicity II
Every Breath You Take
King Of Pain
Wrapped Around Your Finger
Tea In The Sahara
Murder By Numbers

"Some of the music fuses intuitive pop genius with willfully dense orchestration so powerful it stuns. It is occasionally sensational."
New Musical Express

"Never has so much money been made out of so little coordinated talent."
Sounds

Every Breath You Take -- The Singles (A&M, 1986)
Roxanne
Can't Stand Losing You
Message In A Bottle
Walking On The Moon
Don't Stand So Close To Me '86
De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
Invisible Sun
Spirits In The Material World
Every Breath You Take
King Of Pain
Wrapped Around Your Finger


In 1978 the band made a commercial for Wrigley chewing gum, and all three members had to dye their hair blond for the job. The blond hair quickly became an integral part of the image, and they stayed that way.

In 1992, both Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers attended the marriage of Sting and Trudie Styler.

In September 1993, Message In A Box: The Complete Recordings, a four-CD set, contains all five Police studio albums plus other material. It peaks at US#79 and is confirmed gold by the RIAA.

In 1997, The Ark 21 label of Stewart Copeland's brother Miles releases Regatta Mondatta, which features reggae covers of Police hit songs by the likes of Aswad, Ziggy Marley and Maxi Priest.