Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Police - Outlandos D'Amour

The Police

In the fall of 1978, I was making my way through my freshman year at college in Reading, Pennsylvania. I had a roommate who was not long for college life, apparently getting his first taste of freedom and not handling it as well as he could have. So I spent much of my time out of the room, and part of it hanging out at the college radio station. It was there I first heard a cut off the new album Outlandos D'Amour, by The Police. Three boys, Sting, Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers, were creating quite a stir, and after hearing them, I completely understood why. The raw, intense emotion were out there for all to hear. Unlike many of the Punk bands out there, their primary motivation wasn't anger, it was the music. And looking pretty darned hot while making it. And that first song? Of course, it was Roxanne. It was a surprise hit for the band, making it to #32 on the Billboard Hot 100 Pop chart. In those days, there was no 'Modern Rock' chart, although I am sure it would have done incredibly well.

Interestingly enough, the old lore has it that when American drummer Stewart Copeland was putting together a punk band, he found singer/bassist Sting and guitarist Henry Padovani, who appeared on the first recorded single, Fall Out. Through a series of ventures, they met up with Andy Summers, a former member of Eric Burden & the Animals. When recording the first album, Outlandos D'Amour, it was quickly discovered Padovani was not the right fit for the band, and Summers became to sole guitarist. With the success of the first single, a follow-up was decided upon. Can't Stand Losing You as the second single, an interesting fusion of Rock, Punk and Reggae that was not heard often in the US.

For the third single, So Lonely was chosen. Once more, the Reggae/Ska beats were evident in the song, with the decidedly Punk edge to the chorus. Again, it didn't make it to the Pop chart, but did score well on the college and rock radio stations.

I never did understand why the record company didn't release Next To You as a single. It seems to me it had the rock/punk sound that was garnering some attention, and seemed so much more natural for American radio that the Reggae beats.

While it was a long time before I was able to make the next epiphany, by another of my favorite songs, Hole In My Life, brought together the rock and jazz side of the band, and really was giving us an eye into the world of Sting, and when would be coming down the road.

While they really only had the small success with Roxanne, the band was still receiving incredible reviews for the album and the live shows. They had created quite the stir, and seemed to be living up to the buzz with great music. People were certainly anticipating a second album, and wouldn't have to wait too long to get it. But that will have to wait until another post.

The Police


  1. Oh, I adored them at the time. I had such a crush on both Sting and Stewart. But of course I loved the music, too! It still stands up well.

    I highly recommend Stewart's autobiography, Strange Things Happen. Very good read. I also liked his music as Klark Kent, and one of his post-Police bands, Animal Logic.

  2. Really enjoyed this as a fan of Sting and the Police! Great article and insight, great photos, great videos. While I love the album Outlandos, my favorite of all is the next one Reggatta de Blanc where the orbiting planets of Sting, Stewart and Andy aligned to create a masterpiece of music in my opinion. I will share this post on my FB page and Twitter for others to enjoy as well, thanks!

  3. Beth, I think we all had crushes on Sting and Stewart. And I have really enjoyed the projects of Stewart and also Andy Summer - his work with Robert Frippp is amazing.

    Kathy, Thank you!

  4. In addition to what people already said I can recommend Andy Summers' autobiography "One Train Later" very much if you want to know something about life on the road with The Police (and many other bands...):-) Actually, these three band members are the only ones who have written each one an autobiography and proven that they are mot only fantastic musicians but also very handy with a pen!

  5. and the 4th policeman has written a book too (Henry Padovani) ....Miles Copeland thier manager will be writting one and Stewart's brithers has written one too

  6. Hi Howard, hope you get this response. I stumbled across your blog quite by accident while searching for The Police. Back in late 1983 I had the delight of joining the Synchronicity tour in England as a member of one of the numerous support bands. I had been a huge fan of the band since the first album and to actually go on tour with them was the ultimate dream come true for a 23 year old guitar player. That week is still one of the highlights of my life, and I know that people probably think I'm pulling their leg when I mention it. We only "met" them briefly after we'd come offstage but they were surrounded by "minders". Needless to say their shows were fabulous and an inspiration to us as a band to hear and see what three people could do with guitar,bass and drums.

    A little twist in the story tale is that a couple of years ago I was playing at a guitar festival (I still perform swing jazz music nowadays) and told this story to a well known English guitar player called John Etheridge. His eyes lit up and he cried out "Oh so you know Andy then, I must tell him we were talking!". Turns out he and Andy Summers were pals back in the early 70s and were both jazzers, but then Andy told John he'd gotten a call from Stewart Copeland about starting a band with this Northerner who had some pretty good songs!!! Upshot was Andy signs up to give it a go and the rest of course is now legend. Of course I did tell John that no, I didn't KNOW Andy but that our paths had indeed crossed albeit all too briefly. And of course Andy can safely walk around town without a team of "minders" nowadays.

    If you're interested if you look up Synchronicity Tour on Wikipedia and scroll to the bottom, someone has listed suppott bands. I was in the band Passionate Friends. Have a nice day! Tom

    1. Tom, thank you so much for your story, and letting us all have a brief window into that time. Sounds like a great memory, to be sure!



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