From their early beginnings, The Police were hailed as a maverick live band - a group that galvanized an already impressive studio sound into something otherworldly when performing. Combining controlled energy and evocative melodies, Sting, Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers played with the improvisational instincts of a jazz trio and the raw energy of a punk-rock band - a blend that made them one of the definitive rock groups of the'70s and '80s.
The group originally broke through at the same time that punk was shaking up the music scene in the late 70's. Each member came from a different musical background: Summers played with The Animals, Soft Machine and Kevin Ayers, Copeland was a member of Curved Air and had a brief solo career as Klark Kent, while Sting had played in various jazz fusion groups. The band manifested an understated virtuosity, applying their chops within reggae grooves and intricate arrangements. Between Summers' trenchant and groundbreaking guitar work, Copeland's deceptively complex polyrhythms and Sting's loping bass and soaring vocals, The Police were indisputably the most adventurous ambassadors of the genre then known as new wave.
Their first album, Outlandos D'Amour, debuted on A&M Records in 1978 and quickly climbed the charts with such hits as ‘Roxanne’ and ‘So Lonely.' The following year saw the release of their sophomore record, Reggatta de Blanc, which also topped the charts and brought us such hits as ‘Message in a Bottle’ and ‘Walking on the Moon’ as well as honoring the band with their first Grammy for the record's title track. Zenyatta Mondatta soon followed in 1980, resulting in two more Grammy awards for the group as well as Top Ten hits ‘Don't Stand So Close To Me’ and ‘De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da.' In 1981, The Police put out Ghost in the Machine which went double platinum with hit singles ‘Every Little Thing She Does is Magic’ and ‘Spirits in the Material World.'
After a year-long sabbatical, the members reunited to record Synchronicity, an album that would prove to be their studio swansong and earn them three Grammy Awards in the process. The most successful Police album yet, it produced ‘Every Breath You Take,' one of the most-remembered rock ballads of the '80s and the recipient of the 2016 BMI Award for Thirteen Million Radio Plays. They were ranked the #1 most played band on U.S. radio in the '80s while achieving comparable success in the UK with 5 number one albums and singles to their credit. In 1982, The Police received the Brit Award for Best Group and in 1985 were honored with the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music.
After the band parted ways in 1984, their individual careers continued to flourish. Sting released Dream of the Blue Turtles in 1985, which featured a cast of accomplished jazz musicians, including Kenny Kirkland, Darryl Jones, Omar Hakim, and Branford Marsalis. Sting's solo success continued with the release of Bring On The Night, Nothing Like The Sun, The Soul Cages, Ten Summoner's Tales, Mercury Falling, Brand New Day, All This Time, Sacred Love, Songs from the Labyrinth, If On A Winter’s Night..., Symphonicities, The Last Ship, and his latest release, 57th & 9th – his first pop/rock album in over a decade. Sting made his cinematic debut in the 1979 film adaptation of "Quadrophenia" and has appeared in 15 films since, including the cult classic "Dune." He also starred in The Threepenny Opera on Broadway in 1989. In 2015, he was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Original Score for The Last Ship, the acclaimed Broadway musical for which he composed the music and lyrics. He has also authored two books, including The New York Times best- selling memoir, Broken Music. Simply put, Sting has evolved into one of the world's most distinctive and highly respected performers, amassing as a solo artist an additional 11 Grammys in addition to 2 Brits, a Golden Globe, an Emmy, 4 Oscar nominations, Billboard Magazine’s Century Award, MusiCares 2004 Person of the Year, The Kennedy Center Honors, The BMI Icon Award, and The Polar Music Prize. Sting’s support for human rights organizations such as the Rainforest Fund, Amnesty International, and Live Aid mirrors his art in its universal outreach. Along with wife Trudie Styler, Sting founded the Rainforest Fund in 1989 to protect both the world’s rainforests and the indigenous people living there.
Stewart Copeland has been responsible for some of the film world's most innovative and groundbreaking scores, working with a broad array of directors on nearly 40 films and television works since 1984, including Oliver Stone's Wall Street, Francis Ford Coppola's Rumblefish, receiving a Golden Globe nomination for Best Score, as well as scoring Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Film 'Four Days in September' and Emmy nominated TV shows such as 'Dead Like Me'. Solo albums include the cult soundtrack to 'The Rhythmatist' his aural odyssey across the African continent.
Copeland continues to stretch himself compositionally, writing work that includes Operas, Ballets, and Orchestral Concert works, among them: 'Holy Blood and the Crescent Moon' for Cleveland Opera, 'A Casque of Amontillado,' and 'King Lear' for the San Francisco Ballet. Most recently utilizing a brass section, a four- piece percussion quartet and a chamber orchestra to bring the album Orchestralli to life, he earned a 2006 Grammy nomination.
Performing live, Copeland has toured successfully with a number of world music and rock ensembles including that featuring the uniquely esoteric and fiercely melodic music from 'La Notte della Taranta' - ancient trance music originating from the Grecia-Salentina region of Southern Italy. Copeland enjoyed a sensational return to the rock stage when he re-joined Trey Anastasio of Phish and Les Claypool of Primus to perform as Oysterhead at last year's Bonnaroo Festival. Cited as a 'mighty' performance by Billboard, the trio recorded a sparkling album on Elektra Records in 2000 and toured in 2000 and 2001.
In January 2006 "Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out" debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. This feature-length film documents the formation, subsequent worldwide success and the then demise of The Police. Directed, produced, narrated and filmed in Super 8mm by Stewart from his unique perspective behind the drums, it has been warmly received. Amidst all of this activity, Copeland has also begun a career as an on-screen personality and judge on the highly- rated BBC1 'Just The Two Of Us' series. Copeland is the recipient of the 2003 Hollywood Film Festival's Outstanding Music in Film Visionary Award and the Cinequest Maverick Spirit Award.
Andy Summers, post Police, has enjoyed a diverse and celebrated career. As of 2017 he has recorded 14 solo albums, headlined constantly at music festivals around the world and collaborated with many other musical artists including Robert Fripp, John Etheridge, Benjamin Verdery, Victor Biglione, Robert Menescal and Fernanda Takai. Andy has also lead a career as a photographer, having completed forty-five worldwide exhibitions in museums and galleries from Shanghai to New York. He has several more lined up in the near future including a retrospective at the Pavillion Populaire in Montpelier in February 2019. 2018 will see the release of the Andy Summers Leica signature camera, along with a matching Fender signature Stratocaster and the book ‘The Bones of Chuang Tzu’ published by the Steidl press.
In March 2005, Summers made his Carnegie Hall debut with the orchestral concerto Dark Florescence, a piece specially commissioned by Yale University for Andy. He has composed the scores for several films, including "Down and Out in Beverly Hills" and "Weekend at Bernie's." Celebrated by Guitar Player magazine, Summers was voted the number one guitar player five times in the 80's and was subsequently inducted into their permanent Hall of Fame. In 2017 Guitar player also officially awarded him the Guitar Player “Certified Legend“ medal. Gibson, Fender, and Martin have all created signature guitars in Andy's name. In 2003 he received the Gibson Guitar lifetime award and in 2016 the Roland Life time achievement award. In 2007 Fender released a Tribute model of his iconic Telecaster and in 2018 will release a unique Andy Summers Stratocaster.
Since the 1983 release of his first book of photography, Throb, Summers has released several books of photography and also the 2006 autobiography One Train Later, which was voted best music book of the year by UK magazine Mojo. The film based on the book, “Can’t Stand Losing You,” was released by Yari Film with producer Brett Morgen in 2015 to wide critical acclaim. Andy Summers remains at the forefront of contemporary guitar playing. His indelible style continues to influence guitarists around the world. In 2018 he will begin a series of multi-media performances featuring projected photography, solo guitar, and spoken word. His latest recordings are Metal Dog (2015) and Triboluminescence (2017).
In March of 2003, The Police returned to the stage for the band's induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The three-song set included the classics ‘Roxanne’, ‘Every Breath You Take,' and ‘Message in a Bottle’ and the renewed hope in music fans worldwide for a future reunion of one of the most innovative and influential bands in rock & roll. In February 2007, the group performed at The Grammy Awards and later embarked on a worldwide Reunion Tour that included over 150 shows in 28 countries and was met with critical acclaim. Although the band existed for just over six years, their contribution to the lexicon of rock was immense. They were the first band to fully integrate the no-nonsense approach of punk rock and the spirit-moving positive energy of reggae. Having sold in excess of 50 million albums worldwide, The Police had phenomenal chart success and earned a multitude of accolades both public and critical, but they never allowed such peripherals to overshadow their commitment to the music itself.