The Police

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The Police: Guilty as charged.

The Police were a pseudo-music band in the late 1970s and early 1980s, created to undermine the revolutionary threat of punk rock and replace it with other genres such as New Wave, post-punk, pop, reggae, ska, jazz, and spoken word. The people behind this were so proud of their achievements that they eagerly advertised their consumer-dance-capitalism by calling themselves The Police; their other working names were New Scotland Yard and Plod.

The group were originally formed in 1977 as a black operation by CIA agent Miles Copeland (codename: "Deus") and his brother Stewart Copeland (codename: "Animal"). They recruited a British operative, Gordon Sumner (codename: "Sting"), and French agent Henri "Henry" Padovini (codename: "Napoleon"). Later on when Padovini developed a complex, Andy Summers (codename: "Bleach") was brought on to prevent the operation group from giving up and returning to civilian life.

edit Background


True founder of The Police: CIA boss James Jesus Angleton.

The genesis of the group came via a chance discussion between Miles and Stewart Copeland's father Miles Copeland II and his CIA boss James Jesus Angleton. They meet at a party organised by J. Edgar Hoover. Angleton concerned about communism and the infiltration of the far-left, suggested that a counter-subversive operation was required to bring "youth back to capitalism." Miles Sr. suggested that his own sons knew more about that than him so he set up meetings with Angleton to meet them.

Keen on the subject of denial, it was agreed the anti-leftist group should be first tried in the United Kingdom rather than the United States. The CIA were convinced that British Labour Party government was a communist front and would soon collapse into chaos. To prevent the Sex Pistols, The Clash, and other assorted revolutionary music acts from taking power, there would instead be a "moderate" group of musicians who could step to "defang" it. This lead to eventual creation of The Police; it was felt choosing such an obvious name would be "hiding in plain sight".

edit Subversion


Early Fuzz.

By the time The Police got started, James Jesus Angleton had already lost his job, but Miles Copeland Sr. thought it a point of honour to carry on with the operation and encouraged his sons to get cracking with the creation of the group. Relying on clandestine meetings in public lavatories in Newcastle and London, the group was ready to perform. Miles Copeland Jr. selected himself as manager whilst Stewart Copeland learnt to play the drums so he could hide various spying equipment without attracting a lot of notice.

The brothers then chose Gordon Sumner to be their "lead"; his Northern English vowel sounds would counter any ideas of this being a London music group. This also explained why the Corsican Henri Padovani was also included. Sumner was called "Sting" and Padovani got the name "Napoleon" as he came from the former French Emperor's homeland.

In May 1977, The Police released their first single, "Fall Out". No one bought it. Moreover, the music press pointed out they were "old men" going for a repaint to pretend to be relevant. The CIA asked for quick results and decided the "frog" Padovani had to go. A compromise was struck and the fourth member of the group Andy Summers (agent Bleach) joined. By now Gordon Sumner, thinking it would seem they were related, dropped all pretence and called himself simply "Sting".

The four-piece Police barely lasted a few gigs before Padovani was permanently removed. In exchange for keeping quiet, the Corsican was given a handsome payoff and returned to France. This left The Police with little money and with the CIA considering other bands to secretly finance instead. Andy Summers suggested the group take any paying job to keep going. In fact he had already dyed his hair blond for it and had been the look out for other actors/musicians to take the blond plunge. Sting and Stewart Copeland went under the bottle and they got hired for the job.

edit Success


The Police in 1978, on the cover of their first album. The album was originally titled Le policier qui rit (The Laughing Policeman), but there was a change of heart after Padovini left.

Following their shampoo advert, The Police were cast as gay hairdressers in the original cut of The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle film but luckily for their reputation, though the scene was shot, it didn't appear in the final edit as released. By now Sting realised that the band needed to release an album; after toying with the titles The Laughing Policeman, Hot Plod, and X-Cars, they came up with the fancy title Outlandos d'Amour, which is often mistranslated into Kinky Love.

From this album was pulled the single "Roxanne" which is about a man obsessed with prostitutes in the red light quarter of Amsterdam. This song was also code for communist subversion in the vice industry (reds in the bed, chained up). The song became a hit and created a lot of interested around the band and in Sting in particular; his cool, clean-cut Aryan looks soon attracted a Nazi following.


edit Egos


The Police's roadies didn't get the memo

edit End

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