The Police: Andy Summers, Sting, Stewart Copeland.
Personnel: Henri Padovani (guitar); Jean Roussel (keyboards).
Recording information: Air Studios, Montserrat (02/1977); Le Studio, Quebec, Canada (02/1977); Pathway Studios, London, England (02/1977); Surrey Sounds Studios (02/1977); Wissellord Studios, Hilversum, The Netherlands (02/1977).
Photographers: John F. Rodgers; Norman Seeff; Jill Furmanovsky.
Released to coincide with the Police's long-awaited 2007 reunion tour, this self-titled two-disc anthology neatly chronicles the band's progression from faux punks to New Wave avatars to pop superstars. Reconfiguring the notion of the power trio by playing less instead of more, the Police hid their technical prowess at first, clothing their pop smarts in simple, punky riffs on "Fall Out" and "Next to You." At the same time, they were pioneering the fusion of rock and reggae with such tracks as "I Can't Stand Losing You" and the mega-hit "Roxanne."
As the collection moves along, we hear the band opening up their approach to allow in horns, keyboards, and a sophisticated pop sensibility. The Police of the smoothly textured "Wrapped Around Your Finger" are nearly unrecognizable as the same band that came raging out of the gate on "Truth Hits Everybody." This capable distillation of the Police oeuvre is a testament to their legacy-- a distinctive style that, as popular as they were, few even attempted to imitate.