1978: The Police’s First Album, Outlandos d’Amour.
Above Photo: Sting, Steward Copeland and Andy Summers, The Police in 1978.
It’s now fashionable for Punks to hate British New Wave band The Police, but back in 1978 and 1979, before their (and especially Sting’s) more mainstream commercial successes, they were initially embraced by the New Wave movement.
By then, like many bands who clambered onto the welcoming Punk Bandwagon, The Police were already accomplished musicians who’d been around for a while,but who now operated under the cover of a Punk appearance, while still producing some great early music.
I mention the band a few times in my Punk and New Wave memoir, Bombed Out!, and they were especially relevant in the June 1979 chapter, as I’d hoped to see them play. Unfortunately, the sudden success of ‘Roxanne’ in the charts in May 1979 meant they’d cancelled their a gig at Eric’s, Liverpool’s small, vibrant, sweaty Punk club and moved to a larger venue instead: the Liverpool Empire.
Unfortunately, as I said in the book, “I certainly wasn’t going to pay to see them,” because I had free admission to see any band play at Eric’s, but certainly not at the (relatively) expensive Liverpool Empire.
When I did go down to a Police-less Eric’s that night, I met a disillusioned John Kirkham, the guitarist of Pink Military, the band I was then-playing in, and had an interesting and unusual conversation with him. This came back to haunt me three months later, when I could feel the walls closing in on my own time in the band.
Back in late 1978, The Police had released their debut album Outlands d’Amour. I’d liked a lot of it, both musically and lyrically, and being an aspiring bass player, I listened closely to how Sting played, and was impressed.
I never considered the album to be in any way ‘Punk’, but the way it was produced made it stand out at the time. Also, I enjoyed the fact that the band’s first two singles off the album caused controversy because they were about prostitution (Roxanne) and suicide (Can’t Stand Losing You).
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I have added You Tube links to a couple of tracks from Outlandos d’Amour (including my favourite: Truth Hits Everybody). The album itself reached Number 6 in the UK charts back then, which was a phenomenal achievement for anything remotely looking or sounding like New Wave.