The Police were early pioneers of New Wave music, effectively blending their influences from Punk and Reggae. If Bob Marley and Johnny Rotten had a love-child, it would play music like The Police. Formed in England by American Stewart Copeland (drums), the band soon recruited a charismatic former teacher who was using the stage-name Sting. Originally born Gordon Sumner, the bassist also was a prolific songwriter and singer. Former New Animals guitarist Andy Summers was recruited shortly thereafter. The band was notable not just for their music, but also their image. The band members all featured bleach blonde hair and filmed a series of quirky, funny music videos.

The group’s first album was issued in 1978, and a second followed in 1979. Regatta de Blanc (“White Reggae”) was the group’s first chart-topper, thanks in part to the first single “Message in a Bottle.” The song blended reggae elements with energetic guitar tempos and highlighted Copeland’s distinctive drum style. The song tells the tale of a castaway on an island who sends out a message in a bottle looking for love. Eventually, he finds “a hundred billion bottles” on the shore, indicating that there are others like him and that he is not alone. The song went to number one in the U.K., though massive chart success in American would not come until the group’s next album in 1980.

The Police were one of the first massively popular groups who emerged from the post-punk period, eventually becoming the biggest band in the world.

Official Video

First Live Performance of “Message in a Bottle”