Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Police

Roxanne live 1979

The Police were an English rock band formed in London in 1977. For the vast majority of their history, the band consisted of Sting (lead vocals, bass), Andy Summers (guitars) and Stewart Copeland (drums). The Police became globally popular in the late 1970s and are generally regarded as one of the first New Wave groups to achieve mainstream success, playing a style of rock that was influenced bypunk, reggae, and jazz. Their 1983 album, Synchronicity, was number one on both the UK Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200, and sold over 8,000,000 copies in the US. The group disbanded in 1986, but reunited in early 2007 for a one-off world tour lasting until August 2008. The Police have sold more than 50 million albums worldwide, and were the world's highest-earning musicians in 2008, thanks to their reunion tour. 

Musical style 

Although the early style of the group has been classified as punk rock, Allmusic Guide argues that this was only true "... in the loosest sense of the term"; the Guide states that the band's "... nervous, reggae-injected pop/rock was punky" and had a "punk spirit", but it "wasn't necessarily punk". 

The Police, along with The Clash, were among the first mainstream
white bands to adopt reggae as a predominant musical form (as others had done before in the UK with ska) and to score major international hits with reggae-styled material. Although ska and reggae were already popular in Jamaica and the United Kingdom, they were little known in the United States or other countries. Prior to the emergence of the Police, only a handful of reggae songs, such as Eric Clapton's 1974 cover of Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff" and Paul Simon's "Mother and Child Reunion", had enjoyed much chart success in the USA. 

Prior to his days in the Police, Sting had spent time as a secondary school English and Mathematics teacher, and his work with the band reflects a literary awareness. For example, material on the album Ghost in the Machine was inspired by the writings of Arthur Koestler, and the Police's final studio album Synchronicity was influenced by the writings of Carl Jung. Sting also peppers his songs with literary allusions: the song "Don't Stand So Close to Me" mentions Vladimir Nabokov's novel Lolita; the song "Tea in the Sahara" alludes to the novel The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles; and the song "Wrapped Around Your Finger" refers both to the sea monsters Scylla and Charybdis, from Greek mythology, and to Mephistopheles, from the German legend of Faust. 

Band members 

Sting: lead vocals, bass guitar, backing vocals, keyboards, saxes (studio only) (1977–1984, 1986, 2007–2008) 

Andy Summers: guitars, backing vocals (live only), keyboards (1977–1984, 1986, 2007–2008) 

Stewart Copeland: drums, percussion, backing vocals (live only), keyboards (1977–1984, 1986, 2007–2008) 

Henry Padovani: guitar (1977)

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