Monday, 14 December 2015

Vintage Vinyl #14

So Lonely & Invisible Sun - The Police 7"s
Purchased from: The Record Shop, Cardiff
Price paid: £1 each

I have a number of memories of The Police. I remember when Message In A Bottle was number one and we'd all sing "massage in a brothel" in the school playground without having any idea what that actually meant other than it was quite rude. I remember one of the first singles I owned was Don't Stand So Close To Me. I also remember one of the very few cassette albums I ever bought was 'Synchronicity'. And I also remember borrowing my cousin's blue-vinyl 7" of Can't Stand Losing You and my auntie getting quite upset that he should lend me something with a sleeve like that. In fact I had a couple other Police singles, but I never bought an album, though I did inherit a Police 'Greatest Hits' CD when MrsRobster's record collection became merged with mine.

Safe to say then that I've always liked the Police without ever being a proper fan, so to speak. Think what you like about Sting, but he hasn't always been a pompous prick of prodigious proportions. He was at one time the best pop star on the planet. Well, a very good one, at least. They made some absolutely cracking songs. When I chanced across these two in The Record Shop, I grabbed them. So Lonely came out in November 1978 and didn't chart. However, four massive hits later, they re-released it and it made #6 in spring 1980.

My fave Police track though is Invisible Sun. Banned by the BBC, it was the most political song the band ever wrote, coming as it did at the height of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. There's the juxtaposition of the gloomy drone running through the song with Sting's lyrics of an invisible sun giving hope to those caught up in the violence and acrimony of the situation. Light and dark. It's a great song, an unusual choice of lead single from their fourth album, but it reached #2 regardless.

As for the b-sides? No Time This Time was initially exclusive to the So Lonely single, but oddly became tacked onto the end of the band's second album a year later just to flesh out the running time. Shambelle is an instrumental track that has only ever been made otherwise available in the 'Message In A Box: The Complete Recordings' boxset in 1993.


1 comment:

  1. Headliners at my first ever gig - Glasgow Apollo in May 1979 - just as the worod had gone nuts for the re-issued Roxanne. First noticed them on OGWT when about six months earlier thanks to a great rendtion of Can't Stand Losing You which is still one of my all time favourite singles

    Not ashamed of my past love for this lot but Sting the solo artist has been largely unbearable.