What’s in the Bag? (101)

Yesterday I replaced my missing copy of ‘Outlandos D’Amour’ by The Police. The album was released in November of 1978 but I already had the single that preceded it, namely ‘Can’t Stand Losing You’, which received short shrift from the BBC due to its subject matter and the picture sleeve which featured an image of Stuart Copeland standing on a block of ice with a noose around his neck, waiting for the ice to melt. I had it on blue vinyl if I remember correctly. I then bought ‘Roxanne, which the BBC didn’t like either as it dealt with prostitution, and ‘So Lonely’ after the album was released, and then later I bought the actual album. I also had their debut single, ‘Fall Out’, but I couldn’t say whether it was the original 1977 release or the re-issue from 1979. It’s a decent track, with a different guitarist, Henry Padovani.Cantstand

I was very big on The Police for about 2 years, although when you are eleven or twelve years old, two years seems a much longer time, in the same way that the school summer holidays felt like they lasted forever. It all ended for me with the release of their 3rd album, ‘Zenyatta Mondatta’, which just didn’t seem to work for me. There was nothing particularly wrong with it as such, but tracks like ‘Don’t Stand So Close to Me’ and ‘De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da’ were missing that heavier, indie (for the time period) and punk feel and they didn’t quite grab me in the same way. I have all their studio albums and they are all decent, but the first two are the ones that appeal to me the most.

The single disappointment on ‘Outlandos D’amour’ is ‘Be My Girl Sally’, which would be great without the Andy Summers poem thing on it. It’s a one-time funny story and doesn’t fare well from repeated listening, although as a pre-teen I found in hilarious, only becoming rather irked by it several years later. Here it is, and if it’s the first time you’ve read it then you might not see what I mean, but after triple digits listening, well, it’s worth lifting the needle for and skipping to the next track:

Link to lyrics

I just read that, I didn’t enjoy it at all. I even like the instrumental (of sorts) ‘Masoko Tango’ although at the time it was to me the second worst track on the album. I’ve revised that opinion over time and like it a lot now.

At some point I owned the ‘Six Pack’, which was a collection of seven-inch singles released in 1980. The pack, which came in a PVC folder contained the first five A&M singles by the band, namely “Roxanne”, “Can’t Stand Losing You”, “So Lonely”, “Message in a Bottle” and “Walking on the Moon”, plus a mono version of “The Bed’s Too Big Without You”, which was previously unreleased. Apparently the records in the pack were all produced on blue vinyl in picture covers with specially adapted labels which featured the heads of the band, rather than the original “A&M” logo and each single was accompanied by a special picture card. I seem to remember mine had no picture cards, and possibly not picture sleeves either, the memory is hazy in truth.

The album was a great début, despite the one drawback, it’s an 8.25/10

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