"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."

Signed with A&M Records in 1978.

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.

"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.

The May 18, 1979 concert by The Police in Los Angeles was the first live broadcast simultaneously aired by toradio stations in L.A.

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 Marketing Plan

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.

Marketing Plan 1981

Airplay Analysis 1981

City/Market Analysis 1981

The Police were the first rock band to perform at the Vina del Mar Song Festival in Chile on February 19 and 20, 1982. %br%

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.

The first CD single from A&M Records was 'Don't Stand So Close to Me '86' by The Police.

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.

Synchronicity Concert press release

Catalog Reissue press release

  1. Determination Puts Police Into Orient. Adam White. Billboard, March 8, 1980.
  2. A&M Re-Releases Police Single Due to Growing Intl. Response. Samuel Graham. Record World, May 17, 1980.
  3. Nautilus LP for Police. Billboard, September 19, 1981.
  4. Police Interrupt U.S. Tour for South American Date. Roman Kozak. Billboard, February 13, 1982.
  5. Off the Record: An Oral History of Popular Music. Joe Smith. New York: Warner Books. 1988.
  6. A&M Records' Greatest Hits. Matt Diehl. Rolling Stone, September 7, 2012.

Official autobiographies:

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

Recording Years / Label
1979-1997 -  A&M Records
Name Member Years Instruments
Andy Summers guitar
Stewart Copeland drums, vocals
Sting vocals, bass
Name Birth Death
Andy Summers 1942-12-31
Stewart Copeland 1952-07-16
Sting 1951-10-02