At the end of 1982, the Police had become one of the biggest bands in the world. Their latest album ‘Ghost in the Machine’ had been a massive hit and now the pressure was on to deliver a follow up. There was only one problem – they hated each other.
A 100 night tour from Germany to Chile, across Europe and North America, tax exile and failing marriages heaped on additional pressure to an already fragile bond between the three band members.
Perhaps a return to the island paradise of Monserrat would help. After all their previous visit to George Martin’s Air Studios had been fruitful with their last album.
The Police were an English rock band formed in London in 1977. The band consisted of Sting (vocals, bass guitar), Andy Summers (guitar) and Stewart Copeland (drums). In less than 5 years they had gone from struggling band recording above an old dairy to one of the world’s biggest bands recording in a tropical paradise.
By now Sting was the main songwriter, a key part of the band’s success but one that caused issues with other two band members. At times they now felt this was Sting’s band, not their band. If Sting was writing the songs he wanted them performed a certain way. Not for the first time in a band’s history had success and money come between friends.
The recording of this new album was to be anything but synchronous. Each band member played their parts in different rooms, overdubbing at different times, and generally avoiding each other.
How was it then, that they delivered a stunning near perfect album. From the opening Synchronicity I, to the enigmatic ‘Walking in your Footsteps’ and the heart breaking ‘Tea in the Sahara’ (based on the Paul Bowles novel ‘The Sheltering Sky’) the band delivered a coherent collection of songs that remain fresh today. And that’s before we mention the hits – ‘King of Pain’, ‘Wrapped Around Your Finger’ and the huge ‘Every Breath you Take’. Watch the video for this song and you’d think it was a solo performance from Sting.
Still, the contract said that Andy Summers can have a track on the album, which became ‘Mother’. Sadly, in my opinion, the weakest song on the album.
Synchronicity was to be the final studio album from the band. A global tour, more Grammys and later reunions would keep the band connected for years to come, but they would never record any new material.
After a bruising recording session Sting chose to stay on the island for a short holiday. He moved to a small cottage whilst the next band came into record. The band was Dire Straits here to record their follow up to ‘Love Over Gold’. Fellow Geordie Mark Knopfler had an idea for a song but needed someone to sing a very special line, “I want my MTV…”