NOTORIUS: What rock albums are notorious for the band members all recording their tracks in separate and isolated sessions before the final mix?


Rocci Disopa, former Recording Engineer

Without a doubt…”Synchronicity” by The Police.

1983’s LP by the English band ‘The Police’ was its zenith. The totally organized chaos that became the biggest Rock band in the world, had humble beginnings. Yet they somehow managed to put aside those huge egos and big frustrations, and record one dominant record.

By the time the 5th release for the band rolled around, one thing was clearly obvious; This was Sting’s band now. He was making movies, his face was on numerous magazines. And, he was soliciting less input from the others on song ideas. The ice had set in. They were now recording the new record, “Synchronicity”, in different rooms when tracking the album. Producer Hugh Padgham, aware of the simmering tensions, insisted the individual members do their “overdubs” on different days, including vocal harmonies! No two members would be in the facility at the same time after they did the basic tracks! Think of the ‘White Album’ on steroids! And it all came to a hilt one day when bassist Sting and drummer Stewart Copeland came to blows in the studio, almost making Hugh Padgham walk out.

Can you imagine that? Songs such as “King Of Pain” and “Wrapped Around Your Finger” literally being recorded separately? Wow.. And despite all the egos and abuse, they recorded one awesome record. According to Stewart Copeland, he kinda liked recording in separate rooms, so he wouldn’t have to listen to the “live bass”. (Or be next to Sting!) Go figure… “Synchronicity” was an international hit, going to No.#1 on both sides of the pond and topping the Billboard Charts for 16 weeks. In the music industry, it’s known as ‘the album that knocked Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” off the top spot!’ One gigantic release that was followed by an even bigger tour.

And that’s when the group called it quits, in Australia when they were at their commercial and artistic peak! Even though “Every Breath You Take”, Sting’s song about jealousy, stalking, and ownership went on to be one of the most requested songs ever, it would be the group’s swan song. After the massive “Synchronicity” World Tour, the band went into hiatus in 1984 and officially called it quits in 1986. It would be 20 years before they would perform onstage together again.

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