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.