While their subsequent chart-topping albums would contain far more ambitious songwriting and musicianship, the Police's 1978 debut, Outlandos d'Amour (translation: Outlaws of Love) is by far their most direct and straightforward release. Although Sting, Andy Summers, and Stewart Copeland were all superb instrumentalists with jazz backgrounds, it was much easier to get a record contract in late-'70s England if you were a punk/new wave artist, so the band decided to mask their instrumental prowess with a set of strong, adrenaline-charged rock, albeit with a reggae tinge.
Depending on whose report you believe, the Police recongregated in 1985 to either begin work on their sixth studio album or a greatest-hits collection that was to include all new, reworked versions of the hits. Neither ever materialized due to hostility between the members, and when all the trio could show for its work was an insipid remake of "Don't Stand So Close to Me," the Police decided to call it a day. So instead of following the original plan, A&M issued Their Greatest Hits, which included 12 original versions of their hits plus the new track, titled "Don't Stand So Close to Me '86," which prevents the collection from being definitive. Still, the Police were responsible for some of the greatest rock tunes of all time, and all 11 originals are superb: "Roxanne," "Walking on the Moon," "Invisible Sun," "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic," "King of Pain," the title track, and others. The only criticism is the absence of other hits/videos/radio faves such as "Synchronicity II" and "Demolition Man." ~ Greg Prato