Those First Impressions: The Police – Fall Out

Illegal Records | UK | 7" | 1977 | IL 001

Illegal Records | UK | 7″ | 1977 | IL 001

The Police: Fall Out UK 7″ [1977]

  1. Fall Out
  2. Nothing Achieving

The debut single by The Police was nothing that I ever concerned myself with back in the day. I came gradually to admire the band, to the point that I did, some time after the release of their second album, “Regatta De Blanc.” Sure, I’d heard “FM Rock” staples like “Roxanne” and “I Can’t Stand Losing You” when their debut album was released, but what really caught my ear by this group was the instro title cut to “Regatta De Blanc.” A local nightclub used is in their ads on the radio and I really enjoyed it far more that what I’d heard by them previously. Once I twigged to the fact that it was “The Police,” I bought both of their albums at the time to hear that song! Oh, the pain of life before iTunes!

Having identified the great instrumental, I then stayed aboard The Police train to take in both “Zenyatta Mondatta” and “The Ghost In The Machine” before moving on. They were among the earliest New Wave acts to really sell, and while I was happy to see something slightly modern crack the Gold + Platinum club, I had bigger and better fish to fry. When singles from “Synchronicity” began appearing, I could not have cared less.

Unfortunately, the second rock concert I ever saw was The Police on their Synchronicity tour. I had to write a paper in my popular culture class in college and the class was presented with two choices: Rock Superbowl XIX featuring The Police or Pro Wrestling at Eddie Graham Sports Stadium. At the time it seemed an easy choice. I opted for a band I sort of liked versus sweaty cavemen pretending to pummel each other. The Police show had The Animals and The Fixx opening and it represented a 12-13 hour experience that I was determined to never undergo again!

Thousands of stoned teenagers were throwing food and beer amid clouds of pot smoke and after a few hours of enduring this, I removed myself to the far end of the stadium to be as far away as possible from the audience. The Animals were the only band there that day whose show I enjoyed. The Fixx absolutely severed any lingering interest [I had bought their album “Shuttered Room”] I might have had with their unpleasant synth-rock. I’ve never seen such a pretentious, yet modest group of talents in the subsequent 30 years of concert attendance under my belt since! And The Police were touring behind an album I had studiously avoided except for the singles with videos, which were played constantly on MTV. The next day, I realized that I should have picked the wrestling. It would have been over in a few hours, and the audience might have been less obnoxious.

the police - messageinaboxUS4xCDBOXAI traded in my Police albums in the Great Vinyl Purge in 1985 and didn’t look back. It wasn’t until 1993 that I actually thought about listening to The Police again. The draw of the “Zenyatta Mondatta” material was beginning to manifest itself after almost a decade without it. The “Message In A Box” 4xCD set was packed with bonus material as well as their four albums, so being that the price was right, I bit. One upshot was that I finally got to hear the band’s D.I.Y. debut 7″ from 1977, “Fall Out.” The 7″ was 4 minutes long [both sides!] and no doubt represented a total artistic volte-face for writer/drummer Stuart Copeland, who formed the band following his stint in Prog rockers Curved air. Copeland had sussed which way the wind was blowing and realized that technique could take a back seat to attitude. And that was fine.

The guitar player in this primordial lineup of The Police was Frenchman Henri Padovani, who, ironically, played in a much more retrogressive rock style than his replacement, Andy Summers. The single is fast paced rock recorded in a cheap studio and given a sheen of punk simply with attitude and velocity. It doesn’t sound like the work of a world-straddling Rock Colossus. But, crucially, nor does it either sound like what one would have expected from the former drummer of Curved Air and some jazzbo on lead vocals and bass.

The B-side is if anything, even better and faster, though both tracks come within 15 seconds of each other’s running time. “Nothing Achieving” is the product of F.B.I. figurehead Ian Copeland, writing in concert with his brother Stuart. Again, the fly in the ointment is Padovani’s unimaginative guitar tone. Otherwise, the urgent little number marks a respectable stab at New Wave by guys old enough to slice in half and count the rings. The band’s next single [“Roxanne”] would go on to sell more than respectably well for a band just signed to A+M Records, and in 1979, this single would be re-issued to cash in.

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About postpunkmonk

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6 Responses to Those First Impressions: The Police – Fall Out

  1. Echorich says:

    Ah the Police – two great albums, a stumble on the third and a return to form on the fourth. As for the fifth – there is only one song on it that I ever listen to. I have always found Regatta De Blanc to be The Police at their best. Ghost In The Machine returned to a lot of that, but I don’t understand Zenyatta Mondatta. I can only think that with the coming of MTV and Ian Copeland’s svengali like directing of the band that they were positioning to take over the charts via video. The less said about Syncronicity the better.
    Favorite Police track – Does Everyone Stare from Regatta De Blanc.
    Big fan of Klark Kent though!

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – Right now I’m working my way through “Message In A Box” and I’m into “Regatta;” a sterling album. I always held a torch for “Zenyatta Mondatta” and considered “Ghost In The Machine” their stumbling album, with, of course, “Synchronicity” the big [platinum] fall. We shall see.

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      • Echorich says:

        I think because Regatta was so moody and atmospheric, that the bouncing around poppiness of Zenyatta was jarring. They got back some of the mood on Ghost, but yeah maybe the commercial success genie was already out of the bottle.

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  2. JT says:

    Interested to get your fresh take on Ghost, which I deem to be one of the only two really vital Police albums [along with Zenyatta].

    Also…
    “When singles from “Synchronicity” began appearing, I could have cared less.”

    Do you mean:
    “When singles from “Synchronicity” began appearing, I could not have cared less.”?

    If you “could have cared less” that means that you cared to a certain degree, and thus could possibly have cared somewhat less than you already did. If you “could not have cared less” it means that your caring level was zero, and thus, there is no possible way for you to care less than you did.

    Sorry, that one is a peeve for the writer in me! :-)

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      JT – Write in haste, edit in retirement*. Mea Culpa. Thanks for the note. Most of the time it’s a race between my fingers and my brain as I hammer these posts out at my desk during lunch. When the boss walks by and asks me a question it will affect my train of thought. As careful readers of this blog may note, it’s rife with mangled syntax, sentence fragments, and worse, should one care to delve fully into it. The National Merit Scholar in me may cringe but I’m also pushing 50 and there’s a frantic desperation in getting all of this out of my system.

      * A joke.

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  3. zoo says:

    I love ranking albums by bands, especially when there are only a handful. Here’s my take on The Police (from best to worst):

    1. Regatta
    2. Zenyatta
    3. Ghost
    4. ?

    Well, I have to wimp out on the other two. I can’t decide which I like more (or, less for that matter). So, call it a tie for 4th.

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