Reggatta de Blanc

These Old Men Rock!, originally uploaded by Symbiosis.

The Police have been back on the road, cashing in on the boom in nostalgia for bands of yore. I have to say I am/was a big fan of the Police and their eclectic fusion of musical influences. I never really understood all that ‘Englishman in New York’ shoe-gazing stuff that Sting subsequently indulged in but the Police were a different thing entirely. Both the songs and the arrangements were crisp, edgy, immediate – and Copeland really added some magic.

What I didn’t know is that they were on the brink of failure just before they made it. Back in 1978, their record company (A&M) refused to finance a US tour on the basis that their music wasn’t even hitting the mark in the UK. So the Police chose to finance the tour themselves and played 23 gigs over a period of three weeks, travelling from venue to venue in a beaten up old van.

Once they’d played CBGB’s in New York City, the news spread quickly. Unlike the Brits, the Americans ‘got it’ first time. The popular myth is that, by the time they had finished the tour, they’d broken the States and returned across the pond to a hero’s welcome. The tour had effectively swung their fortune as a band.

It’s a nice story. Quite frankly, it’s hard to believe that there was ever a chance of them failing to make it with the songs they were putting together.

Here’s a nice slice of those early days – the song ‘Voices Inside My Head’, which they are playing in the above pic.

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