The Police is one of the best-selling bands of all time. Their popularity can be attributed to their ability to fuse a wide variety of musical genres and styles. Their music included elements of rock, reggae, punk, and jazz. These genres were then combined with elements of new wave music that was coming on to the scene during the late 1970’s and early 1980s. The band consisted of a trio of ultra-talented musicians. The lineup included Sting on bass guitar, Andy Summers on guitar, and Stewart Copeland on drums. Each of these musicians are regarded as among the best of all time on their respected instruments. In addition, Sting’s high pitched lead vocals delivered complex lyrics that spoke to audiences across a wide range of artistic interests – enforced by complex, harmonic backing vocals.
The band was formed in 1977 in London, England and by the early 1980s had quickly risen to stardom. Unfortunately in 1984, The Police decided to disband. There are reportedly many reasons for the break up. But the main causes of disbandment center around conflicts that arose from the members having major differences in backgrounds, dreams, and interests – the very things that ultimately created their incredible sound. While their existence was short-lived, The Police is regarded as one of the most successful bands of all time. They have sold over 75 million records, won six Grammy Awards, two Brit Awards, and an MTV Video Music Award. In 2003, The Police were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Below we have ranked all of The Police albums in order from better to best. We aren’t going to say from “worst to best” because there really isn’t a “worst” album – they’re all great. This is how we rank them:
5. Ghost in the Machine – 1981
“Ghost In The Machine bridges the elements of the early Police records with something more immediate and current. The band became a bit less inventive and decided to go fully mainstream with several pop-tinged tunes. That didn’t stop Sting from crafting some of the most serious statements about the world he was living in. It seems to me this was the beginning of the split in The Police, but at least the music shone through. Key tracks are ‘Spirits In The Material World’, ‘Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic’, ‘Invisible Sun’, ‘Demolition Man’, and ‘Secret Journey’.”
4. Zenyatta Mondatta – 1980
“By the time this album was released, The Police were truly becoming monsters in both album sales and on the concert trail. The band was playing all over the world to huge crowds and this album would help to propel them to superstar status. I think that just about every song on this disc got played on the radio and several of the tracks were huge top 40 hits. The reggae influence is still here, but The Police were definitely developing their own unique sound at this point. A lot more politics and overall social issues begin to make it into the lyrics on this one as well. The best tracks are, ‘Driven To Tears’, ‘When The World Is Running Down’, ‘Canary In A Coal Mine’, ‘Voices Inside My Head’ and ‘Shadows In The Rain’. This is another must own for Police fans.
3. Outlandos d’Amour – 1978
“Born out of the tail end of the British punk scene, this debut album by the Police is a severely underrated offering. It becomes very clear as one listens to the tracks here that this is not your usual run-of-the-mill punk band and shows the great musicianship of Summers, Copeland and Sting. The album is all over the place musically with elements of rock, reggae, jazz and even some experimental stuff thrown into the mix. Three big hits came from the album – ‘Roxanne’, ‘So Lonely’ and ‘Can’t Stand Loosing You’. The last half of the album is packed with great songs like ‘Truth Hits Everybody’, ‘Born In The 50’s’, ‘Be My Girl – Sally’, and ‘Masoko Tanga’. It is easy to see why these guys rocketed to success as fast as they did.”
2. Reggatta de Blanc – 1979
“This is one of the best definitive musical albums for The Police. Unlike their first album, this one pays more homage to their Caribbean musical influences without quite as much punk rock flavor. That does not mean that the rock sound is gone, but Andy Summers’ guitar sound seems to have a wider range this time. The island sound is particularly noticeable on the tracks ‘Reggatta De Blanc’, and ‘Bed’s Too Big Without You’. A couple of huge hits came from this disc – ‘Message In A Bottle’ and ‘Walking On The Moon’ – and the non single tracks are all good as well. This album is a must-own for any new Police fan. They have not created any bad albums, but this is one of the first ones to listen to.”
1. Synchronicity – 1983
“It’s hard to believe that the Police put out only five regular studio releases, but with Synchronicity they went out at the top of their game. Over the the span of those five collections, they had gone from a punk/white reggae outfit, to groove power pop, to a fully developed and uniquely identifiable sound. To my ears this is the pinnacle of The Police’s recorded output. I really think every song here is great and the title track ‘Synchronicity II’ remains my all time favorite Police composition, and some of the best lyrics Sting has ever written. Everything comes together on this album as The Police don’t stick to a formula but continue to evolve their sound into what would unfortunately become their final album. Huge hits came from this one including one of their biggest ‘Every Breath You Take’, a song that many people took for a love song, but really contains a much darker sinister plot. The Police had become a football stadium band by the time this album came out and could literally play any size venue that they wanted. They truly went out at the top of their game with their best album and most successful tour.
The Police Best Albums Ranked Updated