"Right from 'Roxanne,' we realized we had something special with the Police. Then we saw them at the Whisky A Go Go, and it sounded like eight guys were onstage. Sting had this energy that made him such an incredible performer, but with the loose sensibility he had as a jazz player – and on top of that, he writes such great, indelible songs."--Herb Alpert
"The Police were so different and exciting, unlike anything else on the radio – which made them perfect for A&M. Seeing their development over a five or six year span was amazing. 'Synchronicity' was when the Police became icons. I remember their manager showed me the lyric sheet for 'Every Breath You Take' – I didn't even need to hear the melody to understand that song was going to be huge. Just for fun, because they were blondes, they did a show for blondes only. There was a tremendous turnout, almost 40,000 people. It was almost Beatlesque."--Jerry Moss
Sting told Joe Smith, "Being brought up on jazz, I was locked out when I started going around to record companies. I went to every major record company with my songs, and they all said I wasn't commercial enough. That is what really made me feel a rapport with the punk movement. Although the music was a little shallow, the anger and sense of wanting to revolutionize the music industry was something I felt strongly about. So the Police flew that banner for a while. We were energetic, loud and noisy, and as the punk bands fell by the wayside, for various reasons we stayed and survived. We came through the door and we put our own flag up. Then we became the establishment."
"In the beginning with the Police it was all a fantasy. We fantasized having a Number 1 hit, and everything happened with us step by step. I did not imagine we would become as mega as we did, but it did happen step by step. I am not sure we had a formula, but we knew what we wouldn't do and what we would do. We knew we did not want to support anybody. We felt if we had to go out and play in front of four people, it was better than supporting Foreigner and having the audience throw rocks as us. We played places like Poughkeepsie at the Last Chance Saloon for three people, and one of them was a DJ."
"We traveled by station wagon with the gear in the back. We took turns driving. We shared a motel room. Came back after eight weeks on the road with ten dollars in my fist, which I gave to my wife. It was bloody-mindedness, and it was discouraging at the start when people said, 'You shouldn't do this. It is madness.' The record company would say, 'What are you doing this for? No one does this.' To us, that was a good reason to do it. We never asked our record company, A&M, for an advance, so we never had that kind of feudal relationship with them. They never felt as if they owned us, and the partnership continues today."
OUTLANDOS D'AMOUR 1978
Signed with A&M Records in 1978. The initial signing was in London by A&M's Derek Green. The signing with A&M in the United States, Miles Copeland negotiated with Jerry Moss. The deal they agreed to was only for a royalty if the single "Roxanne" sold well.
The plastic Police whistle is highly collectible because it was made especially for the band's appearance at the Whisky-a-Go-Go.
The Police dyed their hair blonde to appear in a Wrigley's gum television commercial.
The Police produced their Outlandos d'Amour album for $6,000. Miles Copeland is responsible for the album title.
"Message In a Bottle" was originally released in October 1979. It was re-issued in May 1980. The reasons for this rare re-issue of a single was that radio was reacting negatively to new wave and British music and top 40radio was switching to pop adult formats, in its initial release the single ran into the holiday period before it could be fully worked, and the album and single ere selling well around the world. To reintroduce the single, A&M placed ads in trade publications and radio tip sheets.
REGGATTA DE BLANC 1979
For Regatta de Blanc, again named by Miles Copeland, A&M decided on a 10-inch vinyl double album format. The idea was a basically black vinyl record with pieces of colored vinyl embedded into it. The shape of each colored piece was to be random so all the albums would be unique. The idea never passed the prototype stage so only a few of these pressings exist. You can see the prototype on the Reggatta de Blanc discography page,
The May 18, 1979 concert by The Police in Los Angeles was the first live broadcast simultaneously aired by toradio stations in L.A.
ZENYATTA MONDATTA 1980
The album Zenyatta Mondatta by the Police was the biggest selling album in the U.K. in 1980.
In 1980, reader and critics polls recognized the Police 45 times and 21 of them put the Police in the #1 and/or #2 position.
"De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da" by the Police sold 700,000 copies in the US and the Japanese/English version sold another 20,000 units.
The Police single "Don't Stand So Close to Me" sold 500,000 units in the US.
The album Zenyatta Mondatta by the Police sold 900,000 copies in less than 90 days and spent over one year on the US chart.
To book concerts in Hong Kong in 1980, Ian Copeland sent this telex to the promoter: "We will be in Hong Kong February 21 through 26 and we must play somewhere/anywhere--concert, club, NCO club, high school, college, play for the troops or whatever." The band was booked for three nights at Taipei's China Sports & Culture Center but the Taiwanese government decided it did not want "that sort of music." Taiwan also prevented the release of the album Propaganda by various new wave artists on A&M Records because the cover art showed Chinese Chairman Mao playing the guitar. All of the dates set for Japan, Australia and New Zealand were sold out.
GHOST IN THE MACHINE 1981
In 1981 Ghost in the Machine was simultaneously released as an A&M Records album and as a Nautilus half-speed Super disc. This was the first simultaneous release of a new album on Nautilus. A&M had an electro picture disc created by Fitzgerald-Hartley. When played on a turntable, "333" lit up. Only ten copies were made.
The Police were the first rock band to perform at the Vina del Mar Song Festival in Chile on February 19 and 20, 1982.
The Police single, "Every Breath You Take," had the longest run for A&M at #1 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart. It held the top spot for eight weeks.
The Police album, Synchronicity, held the #1 position on the Billboard Pop Chart longer than any other A&M album. It was #1 for 17 weeks.
Synchronicity won the international album of the year at the 1984 Juno Awards. By February 1984 the album was an eight times platinum album in Canada (sales over 850,000 copies).
How many official album covers were created for Synchronicity? Only four. Some collectors say there are 36 but 32 are bootlegs.
The first CD single from A&M Records was 'Don't Stand So Close to Me '86' by The Police.
AFTER THE A&M RECORDS ACTIVE ARTIST YEARS
In 1986 The Police reunited for three concerts to support Amnesty International. Their show on June 21 was widely regarded as the last concert they would play together.
The Police song "Every Breath You Take" is part of the soundtrack for "The Runaway Bride" film.
"Murder By Numbers" by The Police appeared in the movie "Copycat."
A&M Records first rap music hit was the Sean "Puffy" Combs remix of The Police song "Roxanne '97."
Andy Summers was voted 85 in Rolling Stone's 100 Guitarists of All Time.
On Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, The Police had four of their five albums among them. Synchronicity was #455, Outlandos d'Amour #434, Reggatta de Blanc #369 and Ghost in the Machine #322.
OFFICIAL PROMOTION BY A&M RECORDS
Police: Reggatta de Blanc
Every Breath You Take: the Singles 1986 A&R Presentation
Synchronicity Concert press release
Police Box British press release
Police Box U.S. press release
Catalog Reissue press release
Police Official Biography 1978
Police Official Biography January 1979
Police Official Biography October 1979
Police Official Biography Europe 1979
Police Official Biography October 1980
Police Official Biography September 1981
Police Official Biography Germany September 1981
Police Official Biography Germany December 1981
Police Official Biography June 1995
Police Official Biography 2003
- Determination Puts Police Into Orient. Adam White. Billboard, March 8, 1980.
- A&M Re-Releases Police Single Due to Growing Intl. Response. Samuel Graham. Record World, May 17, 1980.
- Nautilus LP for Police. Billboard, September 19, 1981.
- Police Interrupt U.S. Tour for South American Date. Roman Kozak. Billboard, February 13, 1982.
- Off the Record: An Oral History of Popular Music. Joe Smith. New York: Warner Books. 1988.
- A&M Records' Greatest Hits. Matt Diehl. Rolling Stone, September 7, 2012.
Stewart Copeland: Strange Things Happen: A Life with The Police, Polo, and Pygmies
Andy Summers: One Train Later: A Memoir
Sting: Broken Music: A Memoir
|Stewart Copeland||1978-1997||drums, vocals|