1977 in London, England
1985 in chaos and disarray
- Sting (born Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner on October 2, 1951 in Wallsend, Northumberland, England) - Lead vocals, bass, primary songwriter
- Andy Summers (born Andrew James Somers on December 31, 1942 in Lancashire, England) - Guitar
- Stewart Copeland (born Stewart Armstrong Copeland on July 16, 1952 in Alexandria, Virginia) - Drums
Key Songs & Chart Performances:
- Blended the energy and power of punk rock with impressive musicianship and eclectic tastes to thrive as an '80s mainstream rock band.
- Featured three of rock music's finest talents, led by one of the greatest songwriters of the '80s.
- Seamlessly entered and ruled the emerging MTV music video age with photogenic looks and imaginative video concepts.
- Interspersed reggae and other world music without alienating pop audiences.
- Recorded what is arguably the greatest single of the '80s in "Every Breath You Take."
Despite a start on the fringes of the London punk rock scene, the Police evolved and continued to rise when their counterparts fizzled or crashed and burned. Along the way, the band transformed into a highly eclectic pop/rock band that became one of the most popular and respected new wave groups of the early '80s. Eventually, internal dissension among the band's three highly talented but volatile personalities brought a premature demise, just as the trio reached its commercial and critical peak.
While he was still Gordon Sumner, Sting founded the Police with American drummer Stewart Copeland. The band's initial incarnation featured Henry Padovani, a guitarist more in line with the group's simpler, punkish early sound. Looking to diversify, Sting and Copeland soon tagged accomplished guitarist Andy Summers to take over that spot, and the band that would nearly take over the world was thus launched. The group's debut album, 1978's Outlandos d'Amour, soon followed, as the band continued to tour vigorously.
The Police Secure Stardom:
Over the course of two more albums, the Police entered the decade on a new wave of popularity, not only in the band’s home base of England but also increasingly in the States. When MTV came along in 1981, the Police were quick to utilize the new medium, releasing memorable clips for "Don’t Stand So Close to Me" and other hits that maximized the band’s blonde good looks, particularly spotlighting charismatic frontman Sting.
From Masterpiece to Dissolution:
By 1983 the Police were one of the most important and popular rock bands on the planet. That year, the band enjoyed its biggest and most enduring hit with one of rock’s finest, most sophisticated singles ever released, "Every Breath You Take." But following the Synchronicity tour, internal tensions boiled over and, combined with growing individual ambitions, tore the trio apart. Despite a few brief mini-reunions, the Police would not play together for an extended period until the group's hugely successful 2007-2008 tour.
Legacy of the Police:
The Police packed in much energetic and jagged but always layered music over their eight-year existence, and the quality of the band's atmospheric catalogue has always attracted a strong critical and popular following. Even today, the group stands as one of rock's most influential, helping future bands realize ever greater potential for eclecticism and experimentation in mainstream rock. In essence, three of rock's finest musicians formed one of its best bands, even if that process ultimately destroyed them at their peak.