Sting still ‘sad’ 4 decades after egos caused The Police to split while biggest band in world

Despite being at the height of their success, The Police broke hearts in 1986 when the British band went their separate ways – something lead singer Sting still gets ‘sad’ about

Lead singer of The Police Sting has admitted he still gets ‘sad’ after egos caused the band to split at the height of their successByMark JefferiesShowbiz Editor

  • 19:00, 2 Dec 2021
  • Updated19:07, 2 Dec 2021
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Sting says he still gets "sad" four decades on thinking about how egos caused The Police to split when they were the biggest band in the world.

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The group, which also included Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers, have sold over 75 million records and their final studio album, Synchronicity in 1983, was No. 1 in the UK, Canada, Australia, Italy and the US, selling over 8 million copies in the States.

But the 1983 world tour to promote the LP was their last before a sudden split after Sting admitted becoming a "benign dictator" in the band.

Looking back, Sting said: "It was tough for the other guys and it was tough for me too because I love the guys. We’d had this fantastic adventure together and been through so many things and success.

The Police, pictured in 1983 during promotional tour to launch their hit single Every Breath You Take
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Image:
Mirrorpix)

"We were a little guerrilla outfit, we were at war and we did it in our own way, without much help.

"So to see it sort of falling apart for ego, my own and theirs, made me sad. It still does."

He says the writing was on the wall as they made the final album:

"The tension between the members of the band was becoming more apparent, you know, because I was writing all the songs it’s always a problem with bands.

Sting performing with The Police in West Hollywood in 2007
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Image:
AFP/Getty Images)

The legendary artist admits egos contributed to the band's initial split
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Image:
Daily Record)

"At first it is a kind of democracy and then it becomes not a democracy, it becomes a benign dictatorship I would say. But that’s the nature of art.

"You know, somebody has to step up and say 'Okay, we’re gonna go this way'."

Sting, 70, speaks about his life and career in the latest edition of Reel Stories for BBC Two.

Talking to host Dermot O’Leary, Sting says he hopes he still has "the same courage now" as he did when walking away from the band to go solo.

He has won numerous awards, including Brits, Ivor Novellos, a Golden Globe Award and 17 Grammy Awards – including Best Reggae Album for 44/876 with Shaggy in 2019.

Andy Summers, Stewart Copeland and Sting posing together before their first split
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Image:
Redferns)

His latest album, The Bridge, showcases his prolific and diverse songwriting prowess with a new set of songs, representing styles and genres he has explored throughout his career.

The Police were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003 and they did have a reunion tour in 2007. But Sting admits the same problems resurfaced that caused the original split.

Sting adds: "In this band I was not an easy bunny at all. It was tough because all of the old struggles came to the surface again but we managed to get through that.

"That was the energy that drove the band, it was this tension.

"It was just a struggle, mainly between me and Stuart, it doesn’t mean we don’t love each other. We do. But we care passionately about what we’re doing."

* Sting: Reel Stories goes out on Saturday December 11 at 9.25pm on BBC Two and will be on BBC iPlayer.

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