The Police were an English rock band that consisted of Sting, Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland that was formed in London in 1977. They became globally popular in the late 1970s and are generally regarded as one of the first New Wave groups to achieve mainstream success, playing a style of rock that was influenced by punk, reggae, and jazz.
Their 1983 album, Synchronicity, was number one on both the UK Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200, and sold over 8,000,000 copies in the US. The group finally disbanded in 1986, but reunited in early 2007 for a one-off world tour lasting until August 2008. The Police have sold more than 50 million albums worldwide, and were the world's highest-earning musicians in 2008, thanks to their reunion tour.
The Police were founded by American expatriate Copeland in early 1977, after the demise of his progressive rock band Curved Air. Sting and guitarist Henry Padovani began rehearsing with Copeland and they recorded the first Police single "Fall Out". The trio toured as a support act for Cherry Vanilla and for Wayne County & the Electric Chairs. Ex-Gong musician Mike Howlett invited Sting and former Eric Burdon and the Animals guitarist Andy Summers to form a project band with him for a Gong reunion, which they named Strontium 90. Strontium 90 recorded several demo tracks, and performed at a Gong reunion concert in Paris. An album with some of these live and studio tracks was released 20 years later in 1997 under the name Strontium 90: Police Academy. In July 1977, Copeland, Sting, Padovani, and Summers began performing as a four-piece version of the Police.
After aborting a recording session with producer John Cale, Padovani left the band and Summers became the sole guitarist. The line-up of Copeland, Sting, and Summers was an unusual trio at a time when progressive rock, symphonic rock, and other sound trends lent themselves to musical ensembles with support players. This three-man line-up would endure for the rest of the Police's history.
Sting and Summers recorded and performed, alongside other invited musicians including Copeland, with German experimental composer Eberhard Schoene. These performances resulted in three albums, each of them an eclectic mix of rock, electronica and jazz. Various appearances on German television made the German public aware of Sting's unusual high-pitched voice, and helped pave the way for the Police's later popularity.