The Police were a pop/rock band formed in London in 1977. In a relatively short time, from the end of the 70s to early 80s they became the most successful band in the world and remain one of the most famous in modern popular culture. Their music represented a crossover of post-punk rock and pop, often incorporating elements of reggae.
Originally a three piece - Sting (real name Gordon Sumner, bass & vocals), Stewart Copeland (drums), Henry Padovani (guitarist) - the band began playing live and issued their first single Fall Out b/w Nothing Achieving in May 1977. A few months later veteran guitarist Andy Summers was also invited to join and although the group existed for a short time as a four-piece, Padovani was soon dropped and the classic trio of Sting/Summers/Copeland performed their first live gig on 18 August 1977.
The Police made their first UK television appearance in October 1978 on BBC2's The Old Grey Whistle Test to promote the release of their debut album Outlandos d'Amour. Reaction to the album and its single releases Roxanne and Can't Stand Losing You was tepid in the UK, with no mainstream success forthcoming. Thanks to Stewart Copeland's American connections however, the group gained their first commercial success in the US and Canada. A UK re-issue of Roxanne the following year finally gained the band widespread recognition in the UK when it peaked at no.12 in May 1979. Likewise a re-release of Can't Stand Losing You reached no.2 in the summer of the same year. The debut album followed suit, peaking at no.6 almost a year after its initial release.
In the meantime The Police had been working on new material and a brand new single Message In A Bottle was released in September 1979 ahead of their second album, entitled Regatta de Blanc. New songs had already been previewed in a session for John Peel, recorded on 23 July 1979. (Peel had recently seem them live and had been impressed, much to his surprise.) The group's fortunes in mainstream pop and rock tastes continued as Message In A Bottle took just two weeks to get to no.1 in the UK, with the parent album going straight to the top in October, outselling new LPs by Blondie and Gary Numan). A second single release, and a second UK no.1, followed with Walking On The Moon. A re-issue of the Outlandos d'Amour track So Lonely gave The Police their first hit of the 1980s. With the public keen for more Police material a retrospective 6 x 7" single bundle entitled 'Six Pack' was released in June and reached number 17 in the UK singles chart although was later classified as an album.
A third album Zenyatta Mondatta was rush-recorded and finally released in October 1980, just after the lead single Don't Stand So Close To Me, which became their third no.1 and the UK's biggest selling single of the year. The follow-up single, De Do Do Do De Da Da Da, released in December, only reached no.5, although both singles went to no.10 in the US. The parent album had in the meantime become their second no.1 album in the UK.
The band took more time to record their fourth album (mostly in Monserrat) and Ghost in the Machine was finally released in October 1981, preceded by the single Invisible Sun which marked a very different style of song writing for the band. Nonwithstanding the change of style, the single reached no.2 in the UK (kept off the top by Adam & The Ants) and the album had no difficulty in making in three-in-a-row as UK no.1 album. A more lightweight album track Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic was released as the second single and assured the Police their fourth UK no.1 single. A third single release Spirits in the Material world (their first track to feature a synthesizer), while not as successful as its predecessors, peaked at no.12 in Britain and no.11 in America.
At the 1982 Brit Awards in London, The Police received the award for Best British Group, and were nominated for the Outstanding Contribution to Music award. After the Ghost in the Machine Tour concluded in 1982, the group took a sabbatical with each member pursuing solo projects, most notably Sting with acting roles in the movies Quadrophenia and Brimstone & Treacle.
The Police released their fifth and final studio album in June 1983. Recording Synchronicity, however, had been a tense affair with increasing disputes among the band members. It was reported that the three members recorded their contributions individually in separate rooms to be over-dubbed at different times. Notwithstanding the differences the album was the first to go to no.1 both in the UK and the US, with the lead single Every Breath You Take doing likewise in the respective singles charts. The Outstanding Contribution to Music award was given to the group at the 1984 Brits.
After the Synchronicity tour ended in March 1984, the band went on hiatus while Sting recorded and toured in his successful solo debut LP The Dream of the Blue Turtles, released in June 1985.
A tense re-union and failed effort to record a new studio album in the summer of 1986 meant that the Police effectively disbanded, leaving a final single release - a reworking of Don't Stand So Close To Me - and a compilation album Every Breath You Take - The Singles, their fifth UK no.1 album.
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.
|Year||Single||Peak position||Weeks in Top 40||Album|
|1979||Can't Stand Losing You||02 ||8||Outlandos d'Amour|
|Fall Out||47 ||0||_|
|Message in a Bottle||01||8||Regatta de Blanc|
|Walking On The Moon||01||8|
|1980||So Lonely||06||7||Outlandos d'Amour|
|Six Pack (collection)||17||3||-|
|Don't Stand So Close To Me||01||8||Zenyatta Mondatta|
|De Do Do Do De Da Da Da||05||7|
|1981||Invisible Sun||02||6||Ghost in the Machine|
|Every Little Thing She Does Ia Magic||01||8|
|Spirits in the Material World||12||7|
|1983||Every Breath You Take||01||10||Synchronicity|
|Wrapped Around Your Finger||07||6|
|King of Pain||17 ||3|
|1986||Don't Stand So Close To Me '86||24||3||Every Breath You Take - The Singles|
|1995||Can't Stand Losing You (live)||27||1||Live!|
other chart albums (year):
- Greatest Hits (1992)
- The Very Best of Sting & The Police (1997)
- The Police (2007) 
- ↑ on 1979 re-release - original 1978 release no.42 peak
- ↑ re-release.
- ↑ charted Jan 1984
- ↑ only compilation to include Fall Out
UK only unless otherwise stated (with acknowledgement to tvpopdiaries)
- 31 August 1978 - Top of the Pops, as 'Klark Kent' with Stewart Copeland on vocals and the other members miming, wearing masks.
- 03 October 1978 - Old Grey Whistle Test performing Can’t Stand Losing You, Next To You, Alright Now, Roxanne.
- 24 February 1979 - Rock Goes To College The Police at at Hatfield Poly. (rpt. 06 Apr., 01 Nov.
- 03 May 1979 - Top of the Pops, Roxanne (rpt. 17 May)
- 12 July 1979 - Top of the Pops, Can't Stand Losing You (rpt. 26 July)
- 20 September 1979 - Top of the Pops, Message in a Bottle, promo video (rpt. 27 Sept., 04 Oct., 11 Oct., 27 Dec.)
- 02 October 1979 - Old Grey Whistle Test, No Time This Time (Filmfinders clip)
- 13 November 1979 - Old Grey Whistle Test, Landlord, Regatta De Blanc, Can't Stand Losing You, The Bed's Too Big Without You, interviewed by Bob Harris (in Miami)
- 29 November 1979 - Top of the Pops, Walking On The Moon (promo video) (rpt. 06 Dec., 11 Dec., 27 Dec.)
- 14 December 1979 - The Muppet Show (?)
- 11 January 1980: OGWT Pick of the Year (1979) - Can't Stand Losing You
- 26 January 1980 - Tiswas
- 18 February 1980 - Rock Goes To College, The Bed's Too Big Without You
- 27 February 1980 - The British Rock and Pop Awards (BBC1) - presented with Best Album Award  (in Hong Kong)
- 28 February 1980 - TOTP So Lonely (Legs & Co); (13 Mar. promo video)
- 14 April 1980 - The Kenny Everett Video Show
- 05 May 1980 - The Multi Coloured Music Show, So Lonely, Walking on the Moon
- 25 September 1980 - TOTP, Don't Stand So Close To Me (no.1, video promo) (rpt. 02 Oct., 09 Oct., 16 Oct.)
- 10 October 1980: The Police in the East (BBC2 Rock Week)  (watch here) rpt. 26 August 1983 for Rock Around The Clock (5:00 am)
- 18 October 1980: OGWT, Live at Rockpalast, Essen, West Germany.
- 11 December 1980: TOTP, De Do Do Do De Da Da Da (promo video)
- 25 December 1980 - TOTP, Don’t Stand So Close To Me (film of band on ski slopes)
- 04 May 1981: Multi Coloured Music Show 
- 19 July 1981: Twentieth Century Box - The Police play live.
- 24 September 1981: TOTP Invisible Sun (stills over closing credits) note: the promo video had effectively been banned during daytime broadcast by the BBC due to footage of soldiers in Northern Ireland
- 22 October 1981: TOTP Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic (promo video), rpt. 05 Nov., 12 Nov. (at no.1), 31 Dec..
- 10 December 1981: TOTP, Spirits In The Material World (studio performance with horn section), rpt. 24 Dec..
- 19 December 1981: The Police - Monserrat 81 (recording new album, Jools Holland interviews) rpt. 03 September 1982, 25 August 1984 for Rock Around The Clock (5:20 am)
- 24 December 1981: The Kenny Everett Television Show - Spirits In The Material World
- 04 March 1982: OGWT, Sting performs Roxanne in Secret Policeman's Other Ball.  rpt. 31 Dec.
- 03 May 1982: The Multi Coloured Music Show 1982 - Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
- 24 December 1982: The Tube - The Police live at Gateshead Stadium (concert held on 31.07.82)
- 14 January 1983: The Tube
- 05 May 1983: TOTP 1000th edition
- 13 May 1983: OGWT Every Breath You Take (promo video)
- 21 May 1983: Get Set - The Police interviewed by Peter Powell
- 26 May 1983: TOTP - Every Breath You Take (studio), rpt. 08 June
- 01 June 1983: Cheggers Play Pop - Every Breath You Take
- 02 June 1983: TOTP - Every Breath You Take (no.1, promo video), rpt. 16 June, 23 June
- 05 July 1983: Razzmatazz - Every Breath You Take 
- 21 July 1983: TOTP - Wrapped Around Your Finger 
- 04 August 1983: TOTP - Wrapped Around Your Finger (promo video)
- 25 August 1983: TOTP - live clips from Shea Stadium, USA
- 28 October 1983: The Tube Synchronity II (promo video)
- 03 November 1983: TOTP Synchronity II (promo video)
- 09 November 1983: Entertainment USA - Jonathan King goes backstage at Shea Stadium to meet The Police. 
- 17 December 1983: Saturday Superstore (?)
- 20 December 1983: Rockschool 'crossover styles'
- 26 December 1983: The Kenny Everett Television Show - King of Pain
- 30 December 1983: The Tube - Every Breath You Take (Shea Stadium, New York)