The Police: Rock Legends and Their Top 5 Albums
The Police: Rock Legends and Their Top 5 Albums

The Police: Rock Legends and Their Top 5 Albums

Explore the History, Music, and Legacy of the Iconic Band

When it comes to iconic rock bands, The Police are undoubtedly among the most influential. This British trio, consisting of Sting, Andy Summers, and Stewart Copeland, left an indelible mark on the music industry during their active years from 1977 to 1986. With a unique blend of rock, punk, and reggae influences, they created a sound that was both instantly recognizable and enduring. In this comprehensive article, we’ll delve into the history and development of The Police, their type of music, key personnel, essential albums, essential tracks, discography, and their lasting legacy in the world of music.

History and Development

The Police’s story begins in London in 1977, a year that marked the emergence of punk rock as a dominant force in the music industry. Stewart Copeland, an American drummer, and Sting, a bassist and vocalist from Newcastle, formed the band, initially as a punk-rock outfit. They were soon joined by the guitarist Andy Summers, and this trio would go on to create music that defied easy categorization.

The band’s early years were marked by relentless gigging and the release of their debut album, “Outlandos d’Amour,” in 1978. This album was a melting pot of influences, combining punk energy with reggae rhythms and Sting’s distinctive, melodic basslines. Songs like “Roxanne” and “Can’t Stand Losing You” showcased the band’s ability to create catchy, radio-friendly tunes.

As The Police gained recognition, they embarked on a journey of musical exploration, incorporating more complex arrangements and instrumentation into their songs. Albums like “Reggatta de Blanc” (1979) and “Zenyatta Mondatta” (1980) demonstrated their growing maturity as musicians. The latter, in particular, included hits like “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” and “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da,” which solidified their status as international superstars.

Type of Music

The Police’s music is often described as a fusion of rock, punk, and reggae, but it defies easy categorization. At its core, their sound is built upon the interplay of three distinct musical talents. Sting’s melodious yet enigmatic vocals, Andy Summers’ intricate and atmospheric guitar work, and Stewart Copeland’s dynamic drumming combined to create a sound that was both genre-defying and irresistibly catchy.

Their early punk influences were evident in the raw energy of their debut album, “Outlandos d’Amour.” However, it was their willingness to experiment and incorporate reggae rhythms that set them apart from their contemporaries. This fusion of styles resulted in songs that were as danceable as they were thought-provoking.

Key Personnel

Sting (Gordon Sumner)

Sting, born Gordon Sumner in 1951, is the frontman and the driving force behind The Police. His distinctive voice and songwriting prowess played a pivotal role in shaping the band’s identity. Sting’s ability to craft evocative lyrics and deliver them with emotive vocals made him one of the most recognizable voices in rock history. Beyond his contributions as a vocalist and bassist, Sting’s charismatic stage presence endeared him to fans worldwide.

Andy Summers

Andy Summers, born in 1942, brought a wealth of experience to the band. Prior to joining The Police, Summers had played with various artists and had developed a unique guitar style that blended rock, jazz, and atmospheric elements. His intricate guitar work added a layer of sophistication to the band’s sound, elevating their music beyond the confines of traditional punk and rock.

Stewart Copeland

Stewart Copeland, born in 1952, was the rhythmic backbone of The Police. His drumming style was characterized by its precision, speed, and inventiveness. Copeland’s background in progressive rock and world music influenced the band’s expanding sonic palette. His energetic and dynamic drumming added an unmistakable intensity to their live performances.

Essential Albums

The Police released a series of albums that are considered essential listening for any fan of rock music. These albums showcase the band’s evolution and their ability to push musical boundaries while delivering memorable songs. Here are some of their essential albums:

  1. “Outlandos d’Amour” (1978): This debut album introduced the world to The Police’s infectious sound, featuring hits like “Roxanne” and “Can’t Stand Losing You.” It was a bold statement that signaled the arrival of a new musical force.
  2. “Reggatta de Blanc” (1979): This album expanded on their reggae-infused sound with tracks like “Message in a Bottle” and “Walking on the Moon.” It won the band critical acclaim and commercial success.
  3. “Zenyatta Mondatta” (1980): Known for its hits “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” and “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da,” this album marked a high point in the band’s career, showcasing their songwriting maturity.
  4. “Ghost in the Machine” (1981): Featuring the hit “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic,” this album saw The Police incorporating synthesizers and a more polished production, expanding their sonic horizons.
  5. “Synchronicity” (1983): The band’s final studio album included chart-toppers like “Every Breath You Take” and “King of Pain.” It became their most commercially successful release and remains a classic of the era.

Essential Tracks

The Police’s catalog is filled with memorable tracks that have stood the test of time. Here are some essential tracks that capture the essence of the band:

  1. “Roxanne”: This timeless classic from their debut album is instantly recognizable, with Sting’s impassioned plea to “put on the red light” and Andy Summers’ memorable guitar riffs.
  2. “Message in a Bottle”: A song about isolation and longing, it showcases the band’s ability to craft emotionally resonant lyrics and infectious melodies.
  3. “Don’t Stand So Close to Me”: An exploration of forbidden desire set to a catchy, reggae-inspired melody, this track from “Zenyatta Mondatta” remains a fan favorite.
  4. Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic: From “Ghost in the Machine,” this upbeat and pop-oriented track is a testament to The Police’s ability to evolve their sound while retaining their signature charm.
  5. “Every Breath You Take”: Perhaps their most famous song, this haunting ballad from “Synchronicity” explores themes of obsession and possessiveness. It won several awards and remains a radio staple.


The Police’s discography is a testament to their prolific and influential career. Here’s a list of their studio albums:

  1. “Outlandos d’Amour” (1978)
  2. “Reggatta de Blanc” (1979)
  3. “Zenyatta Mondatta” (1980)
  4. “Ghost in the Machine” (1981)
  5. “Synchronicity” (1983)

In addition to their studio albums, The Police released several live albums and compilations that capture their live energy and greatest hits.


The Police left an enduring legacy in the world of music that continues to influence artists across genres. Here are some aspects of their legacy:

Musical Innovation

The band’s ability to blend genres and experiment with new sounds was groundbreaking. They pushed the boundaries of what rock music could be, incorporating elements of punk, reggae, and new wave into their songs. Their musical innovations opened the door for countless artists to explore new sonic territory.

Timeless Hits

The Police created a catalog of timeless hits that still receive airplay on radio stations worldwide. Songs like “Roxanne,” “Every Breath You Take,” and “Message in a Bottle” remain as fresh and relevant today as they did when they were first released.

Influence on New Wave and Post-Punk

The Police played a pivotal role in shaping the new wave and post-punk movements of the late ’70s and early ’80s. Their distinctive sound and willingness to experiment influenced a generation of musicians who followed in their footsteps.

Solo Careers

After The Police disbanded in 1986, each member pursued successful solo careers. Sting, in particular, became a global superstar in his own right. His solo work continued to explore diverse musical styles, cementing his status as a musical icon.

Significant Reviews of The Police

The Police received critical acclaim throughout their career. Here are some notable reviews from the time of their album releases:

  • “Outlandos d’Amour” was praised for its raw energy and catchy tunes. Rolling Stone magazine called it “a debut album of rare originality and stylistic consistency.”
  • “Zenyatta Mondatta” received acclaim for its songwriting and Sting’s lyrics. It won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1982.
  • “Synchronicity” was hailed as a masterpiece, with Rolling Stone giving it a five-star review, declaring it “one of the best records of the year.”
  • “Ghost in the Machine” was appreciated for its more polished sound and diverse musical influences. It showcased the band’s growth as musicians.

Similar Inspired and Related Bands

The Police’s unique blend of rock, punk, and reggae had a profound influence on the music industry, inspiring and paving the way for a variety of related bands and artists who incorporated similar elements into their own sound. Here are some bands and artists that were inspired by or share similarities with The Police:

1. Sting (Solo)

Sting, The Police’s frontman, embarked on a highly successful solo career after the band’s breakup. His solo work continued to explore the fusion of rock, pop, and world music. Albums like “Brand New Day” and “Ten Summoner’s Tales” showcase his signature songwriting style and evocative vocals.

2. The Clash

Another iconic British band from the punk era, The Clash, shared a similar punk-rock energy with The Police in their early days. While they explored different musical territories, both bands were known for their socially conscious lyrics and genre-blending approaches.

3. UB40

UB40, a British reggae band formed in the late ’70s, drew inspiration from The Police’s reggae-infused sound. They became known for their reggae covers of popular songs and hit tracks like “Red Red Wine.”

4. The Specials

The Specials were pioneers of the 2 Tone ska revival movement in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Their music combined elements of punk, reggae, and ska, similar to The Police’s early sound. Tracks like “Ghost Town” exemplify their fusion of genres.

5. No Doubt

American rock band No Doubt, fronted by Gwen Stefani, incorporated elements of punk, new wave, and ska into their music. Their early albums, including “Tragic Kingdom,” echo The Police’s genre-blending approach and catchy melodies.

6. Sublime

Sublime, an American band, blended punk, reggae, and ska in a way that was reminiscent of The Police’s musical experimentation. Their self-titled album featured hits like “Santeria” and “What I Got.”

7. The English Beat

The English Beat, known as The Beat in their native UK, were a part of the 2 Tone ska movement alongside The Specials. Their music incorporated elements of punk, reggae, and ska, creating a danceable and socially conscious sound.

8. The Wailers

The Police’s reggae influences were heavily drawn from bands like The Wailers, led by the legendary Bob Marley. The Wailers’ iconic reggae sound influenced The Police’s early work and countless other artists in the genre.

9. The Talking Heads

The Talking Heads, led by David Byrne, were known for their genre-blending approach, incorporating elements of new wave, punk, and world music into their sound. This experimental spirit resonated with The Police’s musical ethos.

10. Men at Work

The Australian band Men at Work achieved international success with their hit album “Business as Usual.” Their incorporation of reggae and new wave elements into their music had similarities to The Police’s style.

These bands and artists, influenced by The Police or sharing similarities in their musical approach, collectively contributed to the diverse landscape of rock, reggae, and new wave music in the late 20th century and continue to inspire musicians today.

In conclusion, The Police’s journey from punk rockers to global superstars is a testament to their talent, innovation, and musical evolution. Their timeless hits and lasting influence continue to resonate with audiences today. Whether you’re a long-time fan or just discovering their music, The Police’s unique blend of rock, punk, and reggae is a musical journey worth taking.