What was it about The Police that made them so sensational?


The thing that made The Police so great was the unique combination of talents that created the songs. Other answers have accurately described the often overlooked talents of Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers. And I understand that it's the in thing these days to either downplay Sting's accomplishments, or to diss him a little, since he does seem to have no trouble tooting his own horn, but he really is an amazing songwriter and a topnotch rock singer.

But let's not kid ourselves. They were great because of the sum total of all the parts. If they'd had a different drummer, they wouldn't have had that funky half-jazz, half-reggae beat. If they'd had a different guitarist, they wouldn't have had those cool chords popping in those off beats. And if they'd had a different frontman, they wouldn't have had the thoughtful yet occasionally fun songs to play, sung in that plaintive voice that insisted you listen.

The Police were one of those bands that, with any other players, they wouldn't have been who we remember as The Police.



They didn't sound like any other band and it was hard to pigeonhole them into any one genre. Were they punk, new wave, rock, jazz/fusion, etc? They sounded like all of the above at times.

I think Sting is one of the all-time best songwriters, and he is underrated as a bass player too. Listen to his bass work on "Walking on the Moon", for example. He had a killer rock style but could easily switch to jazz or reggae seamlessly, sometimes all within the same song.

Andy Summers is a great guitarist too. Not flashy or a technical wizard but his chord voicings and tones really are unique and fit their music well.

And Stewart Copeland is a monster drummer. Monster!

The three of them together is a good example of Synergy; the whole being greater than the sum of their parts. They made some great records in their heyday. Zenyatta Mondatta is probably my favorite.



The old joke goes The Police made reggae safe for British teenage girls.

Actually, Sting, Summers, and Copland are exceptionally talented. The group mastered weird rhythms and syncopation. They broke up at the zenith of their popularity in 1984.

The trio artfully wove new wave, reggae, and jazz into their eclectic sound, merging popish melodies with ominous lyrics. “Every Breath You Take” has a creepy vibe, but it was hugely popular.



The police had an extremely tight, energetic and relentless vibe, that persisted in all 4 of their albums. The song “Next to You”, is one of the coolest. The drums and vocals in that tune are kick ass. Inventions, in lyrical fun were trademarks of the police too. Rior Rior Rioryo… The jazz influence (in the abstract), coupled to powerful undertones, and dramatic thematic brilliance, regardless if the song was a ballad or something more rocky, were prevalent in their music. Also, the complexity of the rhythm sections and the staccato back and forth between all instrumentation and vocals - it was totally mind candy, and something new to experience at that time. It still resonates with me to this day.

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