RELEASE DATE: 06.11.2007
The Police will celebrate the 30th anniversary of their recording debut with their first double-disc CD 'Best of' collection entitled, The Police (A&M/UMe), to be released June 5, 2007. The 28 songs bring together the biggest hits from the band's five original studio albums and includes their very first single, 1977's 'Fall Out'.
From that rarity to one of the most-remembered and most performed rock ballads of the '80s, 1983's 'Every Breath You Take', The Police spans the group's six-year journey from sweaty clubs to sold-out stadiums - establishing them as one of the definitive and most popular rock groups in the world.
Playing with the raw energy of a punk band, the improvisational instincts of a jazz trio, and the infectious spirit of reggae, singer-bassist Sting, guitarist Andy Summers and drummer Stewart Copeland were indisputably the most adventurous ambassadors of the genre then known as New Wave. Following 'Fall Out', The Police released their debut album 'Outlandos d'Amour' in 1978. The first single, 'Roxanne' reached the Top 40 and the album, featuring 'So Lonely', 'Next To You', 'Hole In My Life', 'Truth Hits Everybody' and 'Can't Stand Losing You', was Top 30 in the U.S. (Top 10 U.K.).
In 1979, 'Reggatta de Blanc' was released and hit #1 in the U.K., as did the single 'Message In A Bottle'. In America, the Grammy-winning album featuring 'Walking On The Moon', 'Bring On The Night' and the Grammy-winning title track also reached Top 30.
'Zenyatta Mondatta' proved to be the band's U.S. breakthrough. Released in 1980, the album hit the US Top 10 (#1 U.K.) with two Top 10 singles including the Grammy-winning track 'Don't Stand So Close To Me' and 'De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da', both of which were UK chart topping singles. Also featured on The Police are 'Driven To Tears', 'Canary In A Coalmine' and 'Voices Inside My Head'.
The triple platinum 'Ghost In The Machine' was released in 1981 and peaked at #2 on the U.S. charts (#1 U.K.) with 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic' reaching the #3 position (#1 UK) and 'Spirits In The Material World', at #11. The Police adds the album's 'Invisible Sun' (#2 UK) and 'Demolition Man' to its collection.
A year later, The Police returned with the eight times platinum, 'Synchronicity', which reached #1 everywhere, spending a phenomenal 17 weeks atop the U.S charts. The lead single 'Every Breath You Take' was #1 for eight weeks & reached Gold status, while Sting won Song of the Year and The Police won Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal at the Grammy Awards of 1984 for 'Every Breath You Take'. 'Wrapped Around Your Finger' and 'King Of Pain' also charted Top 10 and 'Synchronicity II' hit Top 20... The Police also includes the 'Synchronicity' album's 'Walking In Your Footsteps', 'Tea In The Sahara' and 'Murder By Numbers'.
Now, 30 years after the group's first recording - and as the band announced opening the Grammys - "We are The Police, and we are back!"
Review from Uncut Magazine by John Lewis
Thirty tracks culled from five LPs (plus the debut single 'Fall Out'), tracing how three ageing prog-jazz veterans cannily gate-crashed punk and applied their impeccable chops to various faux-garage pop anthems. Anchored by Andy Summers' wobbly, proto-U2 guitar FX and Stewart Copeland's thrilling use of splash cymbals and dub dynamics, even the most cynical pieces of ersatz New Wave still sound startling (witness the space-age dub of 'Walking On The Moon' and 'Reggatta de Blanc', the tango bedrock of 'Roxanne', or the liquid Afro-funk of 'Voices Inside My Head'). There are some curious choices of LP tracks added to the singles, and an inevitable decline on disc 2, where the 13 tracks from 'Ghost In The Machine and 'Synchronicity' see them disappear into portentousness or whimsy, but otherwise this is a fine body of work that should boost Sting's credibility capital and his bank balance. (4 stars)
Review from Q Magazine by John Aizlewood
Perhaps more than any other band, The Police were the early '80s. All three of their albums released in this era topped the British charts and when they bowed out at their peak, 1983's 'Synchronicity' had synchronised itself atop the American charts too.
These 30 tracks explain why. It's a simple business: two chronologically sequenced CDs featuring all 14 Top 20 singles, plus standout album tracks, but no remixes and nothing new. The Police weren't childhood friends who struck lucky. In fact, when they started in 1977, they all had form, apart from soon-to-be-jettisoned Corsican guitarist Henry Padovani. Drummer Stewart Copeland, son of a CIA agent, had done time in prog-rockers Curved Air. Guitarist Andy Summers was a respected session man and singing bassist, and ex-teacher Sting had played in Newcastle jazz bands. This musicianship served them so well that there'd never be a guest appearance on a Police album.
Despite being spawned by punk, The Police were too ambitious and sophisticated to be punks. As Sting emerged as the main writer, they soon moved away from the thrash of 'Fall Out', the first and last Copeland penned single. Musically, Sting flitted between genres, but '78's 'Roxanne' heralded a career-long fascination with reggae. Relationships, be they dark (suicide in 'Can't Stand Losing You', stalkers in 'Every Breath You Take') or bright (the sheer joy of 'Walking On The Moon'), were his lyrical stock-in-trade and thus The Police resonated across the globe in a way that punk's parochial nihilism and anger never could. Until, that is, Summers and Copeland's resentment at being left behind as songwriters caused volcanic tensions, culminating in the tense final studio stand-off in 1986 that produced their last single, a reworked version of 'Don't Stand So Close To Me'.
Yet they were never forgotten (even their posthumous 1995 live album went platinum in the United States) and they are again on tour, filling stadiums from Vancouver in May to Adelaide next February. Their fanbase has bought tickets worth 0 million in the US. That they still resonate so powerfully is no surprise. The big hits - 'Message In A Bottle', 'Roxanne', 'Can't Stand Losing You', 'Walking On The Moon' - form an integral strand of music's DNA, even if their influence isn't always directly cited. Johnny Borrell, however, will surely be paying close attention as 'Don't Stand So Close To Me' blows through an arena somewhere this summer.
Review from the Manchester Evening News by Glenn Meads
The Police are about to embark on a return to the UK, on a huge sold out, arena tour. So, here we go with the expected cash-in. If you have any of the greatest hits packages, this is not going to surprise you. But if you have never surrendered to the greatness of this band, this is well worth a listen. 'Roxanne' remains their finest hour and sounds so raw, even today.
But what might surprise a newcomer is how reggae-infused Sting sounds. 'So Lonely' has a relentless back beat and it stands up to scrutiny, remarkably well. 'Every Breath You Take' is sombre sounding and much more heartfelt than Puff Daddy's awful 'I'll Be Missing You'. Singing about a stalker, Sting has an edge to his raspy voice which his solo material has lacked.
Overall, this is a great reminder of how influential The Police have been. 'Message In A Bottle', alone, is more memorable and multi faceted than any modern rock act drum up. This is a five star album but you probably have this material elsewhere, as there is nothing new, thus it gets three.
Review from indieLondon.com
The Police have released a 30-track greatest hits collection to mark 30 years since they released their first single 'Fall Out' in 1977. The album spans the band's prolific career, with five studio albums released over six years. It also sets things up for their world tour, which opened in Vancouver on May 28 and is due to arrive in the UK with a sold out show at Birmingham's NIA on September 4.
The band's first double disc Greatest Hits collection, The Police is comprised of hits and fan favourites, including their first single Fall Out and enduring hits 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic', 'De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da', 'Message In A Bottle', 'Roxanne' and, of course, 'Every Breath You Take'.
The Police - comprised of Sting, Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers - topped both charts and radio airwaves in the late Seventies and early Eighties. They notched five No.1 albums and a succession of top 10 singles, becoming one of the world's most famous bands and receiving six Grammy Awards and two Brits. Their music was notable for the way it was radio friendly, yet influenced by both reggae and punk.
Review from AntiMusic.com by Dan MacIntosh
This collection of The Police music is a healthy one, providing all the hits - both big and small. It also traces the group's career timeline, from hyperactive New Wave trio, to the backing group for Sting's increasingly sophisticated and egotistical musical persona. In fact, I can revisit my interest (and lack thereof) in the band merely by perusing this set's song list. I dug 'em from the punkish 'Next To You' up until the still relatively aggressive 'Demolition Man', which comes along around about the middle of disc two. I was still firmly on board up to then. But once Sting's narcissism began to infect hits like 'Every Breath You Take', severe apathy started to infect me and drain the blood out of my band support. Similarly, his two band mates eventually publicly called Sting out as the "King Of [the] Pain in the neck" he truly was, and then the group imploded.
Although The Police entered the public eye during the punk era, this group was never truly punk. Sure, early music - like 'Truth Hurts Everybody' - railed against the status quo in the same way The Sex Pistols and The Clash expressed similar economic/social displeasures. But Sting's inner feelings, exemplified by 'Wrapped Around Your Finger', eventually butted in and took center stage. He was less concerned about the world's welfare than he was about how world events affected him. The biggest social issue in Sting's life quickly became, well, Sting. Even so, it's hard to argue with the wonderful music this band produced, especially before out-of-control ego inflation took permanent sway.
After I opened this package, I immediately skipped to 'Driven To Tears', my personal favorite Police song. Andy Summer's electric guitar vamp is contagious - even after all these years. And the line, "Too many cameras and not enough food," still rings tragically true in our modern, TMZ.com world. Similarly, 'Roxanne' [even with the visual of Eddie Murphy singing it for the movies firmly planted in my brain] stands up well. In the same way The Police weren't punk, they were also not - as the album title 'Regatta De Blanc' might mislead you to believe - reggae. Even so, 'Walking On The Moon' has a loping Rasta groove that just won't quit. Also, the way "So Lonely" deftly switches from reggae verses, to punkish rock choruses, is incredibly smart.
The Police may not have been naturally reggae or authentically punk, but they were unquestionably serious - maybe too serious - much of the time. The teacher-student sexual tension of 'Don't Stand So Close To Me' offers a rare exception to this sober mood rule. But even with its dopey song title, 'De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da' is, in fact, a justice-seeking critique of political policy. This is not to say that The Police's social/political thoughts were not also effective. 'Invisible Sun' gives me the chills - even now.
I imagine this two-CD set was released specifically to coincide with The Police's reunion tour. It is likely a good primer for what the group is playing on these dates. But if you're not wealthy enough to pay the high ticket prices for one of these anticipated shows, perhaps this double disc set will have to do for you now. If you're anything like me, you may also need to separate Sting's annoying self-loving image from the music itself, which will (free free) set you free to receive nostalgic pleasures from of this release.
Review from The Birmingham Post
When the reggae sound of The Police failed to impress the punk fans of the 70s, the band sailed over to the US in a bid to make a name for themselves. Their journey and self-funded early tours of America paid off and Sting and the gang were a major hit worldwide during their heyday in the 70s and early 80s. Thirty years on, the band are back on the road after announcing last year they were reforming for a special comeback tour, following the likes of The Who and Pink Floyd who have both briefly reformed to generate a bit of extra cash for their pension funds. The Police are due to come to Birmingham's NIA for one night in September but I doubt very much they will be attracting new fans. This double CD collection (something similar would have probably been found at the bottom of the bargain bin of HMV a few years ago) has all the classics on it from 'Roxanne' to 'Walking on the Moon'. Thirty nostalgic songs, making it an ideal present for parent's birthdays, but I doubt it will inspire a new audience to become huge Sting followers. While we all love a bit of 'So Lonely' (or was it Sue Lawley) and 'Don't Stand So Close to Me', music has moved on considerably since the soft reggae beats of The Police and one can only conclude it has moved on for the better.
Review from The London Free Press
There have been several single-CD Police compilations. There's even been a boxset. This two-disc set beats them all. Its 28 cuts neatly span the reggae-pop trio's five-LP career, from raw early fare such as 'Fall Out' and 'Roxanne' to slicker latter-day hits such as 'King of Pain' and 'Every Breath You' Take. It might be a bit heavy on Sting tunes and light on rarities, but it's not bad for a bunch of blonds.
Review from The Montreal Gazette
Timing is everything, and you can bet your bottom dollar that this double-CD greatest hits comp was strategically released to coincide with Sting and the boys' sold-out summer reunion tour. The band's career is selectively represented, with 'Outlandos d'Amour' and 'Zenyatta Mondatta' getting six songs each, 'Reggata de Blanc' and 'Ghost in the Machine' four, and 'Synchronicity' a whopping eight. So while the hits ('Roxanne', 'Message in a Bottle', 'Walking on the Moon', 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic', 'Every Breath You Take') are here, along with some more idiosyncratic material ('Reggata de Blanc', 'Invisible Sun', and the punky, early-career single 'Fall Out') this can't replace owning the actual albums. - 4 stars
Review from MOJO Magazine by Andy Fyfe
With their 30th anniversary world tour being described as "a disaster" by Stewart Copeland after just two shows, The Police may not even survive to see the release of this rather redundant album. It's a rounded overview of their career, but we've been here before. Pre-Andy Summers single 'Fall Out' (finally available on album without having to buy The Complete Recordings box was meat-and-potatoes new wave, but by 'Synchronicity II' - with Sting having sprouted George Michael's hair and singing about being "heard over the din of our Rice Crispies" - we clearly weren't in 'Roxanne' territory any more. Magnificent pop from the highways and byways of a great band, but without extra re-mastering there's too much for casual fans and barely enough to seduce the fanatic.