From Music Director Daniel Meyer
Didn’t know quite what hit me. I just knew that what I heard blasting through my cousin’s bedroom door was unlike anything I had heard before. Those crisp beats, the high, near-falsetto yelping, the sophisticated, sharply-tailored lyrics that alternated between Oxford-trained English and 1950’s style mumbo-jumbo repetitions. Those curt Stratocaster chords, the lopey, laid-back ska beats… And who on earth would name their band ‘The Police’?
Granted, my experience with pop music was limited to spinning my father’s record collection (The Monkees, The Byrds, and Supremes in the same record heap?), but this was a sound I found so intriguing that I raced to the record store to grab as many cassettes from the bin as I could. From Outlandos d’Amour to Ghost in the Machine to Synchronicity, The Police had developed an intensely intellectual and captivating sound that I simply couldn’t resist. Just trying to follow drummer Stewart Copeland’s high hat was a feat in itself (not one easily conquered!) Andy Summers’ dry, crunchy guitar added just the right spice. But at the end of the day, there was this former schoolteacher by the name of Sting who, with his bass guitar and poetic voice, lead The Police into popular music history. It was a band for the ages, and like the Beatles, burned brightly up until the very end.
I was crushed to have fallen in love with the band just as they had reached their pinnacle and subsequently disbanded! But then Sting started to follow his own path and lean in towards jazz, lyricism, mixing classical music with synthesizers (The Russians). I went with him the whole way, and was captivated by his ability to write a song that could evoke a distant land or a distant time, yet I felt as if he were in the room singing just for me.
I’m so happy to usher in the the Philharmonic season with my friends Jeans n’ Classics, as they make their own way through this remarkable catalogue of hits by Sting and The Police. One of the things that makes the music so wonderful is that it can indeed be performed by others and be just as prescient and go straight to the heart as with the original recordings. Can’t wait to join in with you to sing along with Ev’ry Breath You Take!