Rescued from VHS: The Police as a four-piece 37 years ago

On this day in 1978, Sting, drummer Stewart Copeland and guitarist Andy Summers began recording their debut album as The Police. They borrowed the money (roughly $1,500) to make “Outlandos d’Amour” from Copeland’s brother Miles, who also managed the band.

Today’s artifact comes from a punk festival in 1977 where The Police played as a four-piece, with additional guitarist Henry Padovani. This artifact is notable because Padovani became kind of a Pete Best (if you don’t know who that is, he was a guy who was kicked out of a legendary band), and also because The Police weren’t really a punk band as much as they were pretending to be punk so they could get popular.

But the thing is, they recorded the album in a pretty punk fashion: over six months, whenever another band canceled their studio time. Miles Copeland reportedly convinced the A&M label to release “Roxanne” as a single, but it flopped, which is odd when you consider how ingrained in the popular consciousness that song is now. The band’s manager got A&M to give his brother’s band another shot with “Can’t Stand Losing You,” which succeeded and led to the band receiving a full contract from A&M for an album they had already completed. The Police continued to release music on the A&M label throughout the rest of their career.


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