Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Police: Lost BBC Studio Tapes 1978-1979

"Fuck The Police!"

It's annoying to still hear this sort of anti-Police talk coming straight from the underground. Being anti-Sting is one thing but hating his band is just wrong. I don't care if the Clash kicked Topper Headon off the bus for playing The Police (a.k.a. 'the enemy'). I don't care if Sting turned into a blow-dried weenie or that the band were all closet prog rockers. The near-indisputable fact is that for a time in the late seventies and early eighties The Police were the best pop band on the planet. These early songs are so frighteningly compact that every note seems utterly crucial and yet people are blinded by prejudice into charging them with 'fakery' - as if rock n' roll isn't built on lies.

This bootleg of all the band's early BBC session is an astounding document that proved virtuosity didn't have to be wankery (not at first, anyway). Here Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland prove their love of reggae, AM pop and, yes, prog rock (beware: improv within) and temper all that with a grasp of what punk was trying to do (without much interest in its ideological tenets). And since no post here should end with the words ideological tenets let me just say: The Police fuckin' rule.

Lost BBC Studio Tapes 1978-1979 link is in the comments.

Speaking of comments: Speak up and leave us your views, Police fans and Police bashers!

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  2. Never cared what anyone said, I always dug the Police. Admittedly, I came late to hearing them; they released their last LP when I finally discovered them. Sting is a putz but the group made some great music in spite of him.

  3. Stop calling him Sting!

    It's Gordon fucking Sumner.

    Great Rock n Roll Swindler.

    They should have left it at "Nothing Achieving"

    In no way misconstrue this comment as a request to hear any more of the Police, obscure or otherwise.

  4. Great Stuff , Pleeeeease give us more.

  5. CallPastorJerkfaceMay 20, 2010 at 8:12 AM

    I'll never forget the time I was having a nice friendly chat with Paul Gott of Ripcordz and how it turned into a pretty massive hate on (on his part) toward the Police. I was surprised as I'd always loved their rockers and didn't know that punk cred was such a big deal for a "new wave" band. Of course, like a coward, I kept my mouth shut. Who wants to battle a Canadian Punk Icon especially when you don't have the ammunition to fire back?

    As well, the first roomate I had when I moved out on my own denied there was any connection between reggae and the Police's music. He was/is a great guy with some pretty awesome taste in tunes ("New Day Rising" comes to mind) so I have no idea how he came to this conclusion.

  6. Thanks !!
    I'd love to hear more..............

  7. most of the wankers who put down the police are just not as capable musicians..I always think of it in this way that , could the dissenter play the music of those they loathe as well as those they loathe could duplicate their muusic? hmmm?

  8. It's got nothing to do with musical ability or lack there of... It's all about who you know, or who yr management knows.

  9. Nice post... I used to be a huge Police fan, and I still like to go back to the well every now and again.

  10. I don't think the Police need to be defended on this or any other forum. Someone bought their MILLIONS of records. Whether you like it or not they were a major force in the late seventies early eighties. The music and their fans are their legacy.

    If you have more obscurities, bring 'em on!!

  11. Hey there Jeffen, Ive been lurking around to your site every now an then..I don't talk much, but really enjoy your posts-Much Love for the Social D posts...and a few others as well. That said, I've always loved the early Police releases. Some oof my earliest musical growth included listening to KROQ play the Police's Synchronicity LP. I would listen to a little flip-numbered clock radio till the wee hours...Awesome>Serena

  12. Thanks. I quite agree, the police were a great band.

  13. Thanks for posting this; Yes, more Police obscurities, please! Great to hear different versions of these songs.

    Their use of reggae was certainly more interesting (to me) than the Clash's... and probably more influential in the broader scheme of things. Mind you, I'll take The Tom Tom Club over either of those bands for my early 80's white reggae fix. ;0)

    As far as prog-hating punks goes, hell, wasn't John )Lydon himself a big Van Der Graaf Generator and Can fan? I mean, if the music moves you, then great. Musical ability is a good thing; most non-musician bands are pretty tedious after their first few moments of inspiration. (Not everyone can be a Brian Eno or a LiLiPut.) If you're releasing your music to the world and you don't know how to play your instruments, then you'd better have some interesting ideas to fall back on. The Police had both talents in spades. Great hooks, deceptive simplicity, smart grooves.

    Interesting site!

  14. Notice how the hipsters have to define themselves with hateful put-downs. It says more about them than it does about their targets. The Police was a wonderful band. Try listening to those snot-nosed punk bands now - they're mostly painfully derivative of each other, constantly and rigidly repeating themselves over and over. And I don't care whether Sting is or was a putz - doesn't matter one bit. Listen to the music.

  15. Nice one, thanks, these are classic tracks.

  16. the Police,and to-day green day,for some reason people hate to see punk/new wave bands having success.I was lucky enough to see the police play hatfield politechnic,the day before they went to america,they were a great live band,and roxanne and so lonely were not even chart songs on there first release,so they wern't that well hyped.cheers for the post.

  17. The Police made new wave safe for America.

  18. convertido
    Yeah the putz factor does have to be ignored to appreciate the band.

    Thanks for taking the 'con' side though I fail to see how 'great rock n' roll swindler' is a put down!

    Anon I
    More to come!

    I remember you summarizing Gott's point as "The Police ruined the form of music I loved' or something to that effect. Maybe he's right...

    Anon II
    You're welcome and the second batch is up with more to come.

    Well the same argument could be used against me for my hatred of Yes and Celine Dion, so I'll just have to say that The Police
    's effective use of their technical skill was one of their great powers.

    Yup go through Police Phases periodically - it's great to back and find new things.


    Anon III
    While I agree that "The music and their fans are their legacy" I always believe in open discussion about a band's merits irrespective of record sales low or high.

    KROQ had a massive influence on my musical taste via those Rodney on the Roq compilations, but it's funny that I've never heard the station itself. Glad you've enjoyed the different stuff we have here(Social D. and the Police) and thanks for the comment,

    Ame to the greatness!

    While I've always had a weakness for musically simple bands (hell, I like folk music) I do have to really agree with your Police summary: "Great hooks, deceptive simplicity, smart grooves." Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

    Mark b.

    "Listen to the music" is great advice, check out The Ruts ( and you'll know there was lots of great music from the snot-nosed punks of this era!

    Holly and Jin
    You're welcome!

    Dr Feelgood
    Classic tracks because you can just keep coming back to them over again! Glad you're diggin' it.

    lidge 84
    As a fan of both of those bands, I completely agree that success can blind some the way failure blinds the mainstream. I wish I'd seen he Police by the time they made it to Winnipeg (in 1983 I was too much of a pseudo-hipster to want to go). Now seeing them in '78 though must have been incredible.

    What you have said is pretty accurate but it may or may not be a bad thing.

  19. Hi Jeffen

    First, I enjoyed the first few albums by The Police.Last Xmas I received the The Police Box Set(4 CDs) for Xmas.I have not played it yet!What does that mean?

    In 1980 The Specials opened for The Police on a NA tour.Of course, The Specials just blew The Police off the stage.I left in the middle of a long Copeland drum solo.Help!That show was at The Gardens(PNE).

    The Specials had their own show at The Commodore Ballroom a few nights later.The Commodore Ballroom floor was in full bounce mode that night.

    In a recent NME it was stated that on this NA tour that The Specials essentially imploded.It did not affect their performance.



  20. Many Thanks Jeffen! Still a great site to visit regularly!
    the Police?... weren't they a backing band for Cherry Vanilla? ;~}
    p.s. looking for a recording of Sting's Strontium band gig,any info?

  21. Doug

    "Message in a Box" is no way to enjoy that band. It's just their entire discography packed onto four CD's. I sold my copy back in the 90's and then, about five years ago, bought the albums separately and I enjoy them much more that way.

    While that first Specials album is amazing it remains the best thing they ever did by a ridiculous margin.

    I probably would have left at the drum solo at many points in my life but now I just enjoy watching Copeland drum - damn he is good.

    Yeah they did back Cherry Vamilla and Strontium 90 was the guy from Gong (later producer ) Mike Howlett backed by the rest of the Police-men. It's interesting (and weird) and it is available for purchase (or I would have posted it in this series).

    Let me know what you think if you give it a listen.

  22. Hi Jeffen

    I agree that in the album era the original albums are the way to listen to music.Even any bonus material should be put on a separate disc.I have the box sets by The Jam and The Stranglers but always listen to the individual albums.Those box sets do make me feel a little warm and fuzzy though!


  23. Doug
    I eagerly await proper Jam re-issues (with singles, demos and radio sessions attached) so I can ditch that Jam box-set which I listen to as frequently as I did 'Message in a Box'.

  24. A simple thank you.

  25. more of this goodness...... awesome band.

    Doug; when was that gig? cos i dont think stewart EVER did a drum solo at any police (or other) show... i guess on the ghost tour they might've had some dubness going on in "beds too big without you" and that but not in 1980.....


  26. I dont agree with you when you say they are pop
    wtf? pop? that hurts me

  27. Anon
    But they had hits on pop radio, lots of them. If that's not pop what is?

  28. First of all: the link seams to be dead, could you re-upload?

    It's just as you mentioned: the first two albums are classics, Zenyatta had this De Doo Doo .. thing, the first I didn't like really, the last 2 were overproduced. I still really like the first 3 albums The Police did and back in the days I liked both: The Police and The Clash. And there was this other band that gained a certain popularity here in Germany: Fischer-Z that was also brilliant as far as I'm concerned. Any chance to get some Fischer-Z through this blog?

    Tom, Germany

  29. I'll look into Fischer-Z (whose albums I always used to see in the vinyl bins) but this link got REMOVED from the usually reliable Mediafire and so I`m guessing that putting it back up risks a DMCA takedown order from Blogger.



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