The Classic Album at Midnight – The Police’s Ghost in the Machine

The Classic Album at Midnight – The Police's Ghost in the Machine


Tonight (October 31st) on the world famous Classic Album at Midnight on Radio Nova we’re playing The Police’s Ghost in the Machine in full on vinyl, courtesy of The Record Hub.

The album is presented in full with no commercials or interruptions.

Formed in London in 1977 by vocalist/bassist Sting, guitarist Andy Summers and drummer Stewart Copeland, The Police had instant success with their 1977 debut album Outlandos d’Amour. That album reached number six on the UK chart, aided by the popularity of its singles Roxanne and Can’t Stand Losing You.

Their followup, 1979’s Reggatta de Blanc, was their first UK number one album and also gave them two number one singles in Message in a Bottle and Walking on the Moon. A third album, 1980’s Zenyatta Mondatta, was quickly rushed out to cash in on the band’s popularity and similarly topped the UK album chart, also breaking the band in the US where it peaked at number five on the Billboard chart.

For their fourth album, Ghost in the Machine, The Police wanted to work to a less pressured deadline. To avoid the gaze of their record label A&M, they chose George Martin’s isolated AIR studio on the Caribbean island of Montserrat.

Looking to evolve their sound, the band cut ties with Nigel Gray, who had produced their first three albums, and hired Hugh Padgham, whose work with Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel they admired. Padgham devised a novel method of having the band members record in three separate rooms.

While maintaining their reggae influences, Ghost in the Machine saw The Police embrace more of a New Wave sound with synthesizers and horns playing a major role on the album. Along with his bass, Sting would contribute keyboards and saxophone to the album. Both Summers and Copeland played keyboards and synth too.

Ghost in the Machine is the first Police album to hint at the solo career Sting would soon embark on, something Summers wasn’t too happy about.

I was getting disappointed with the musical direction around the time of Ghost in the Machine,” he said. “With the horns and synth coming in, the fantastic raw-trio feel—all the really creative and dynamic stuff—was being lost. We were ending up backing a singer doing his pop songs.

Regardless of Summers’ misgivings, the album was another massive hit for the band. Released on October 2nd 1981, Ghost in the Machine debuted at number one in the UK, spending three weeks at the top, and peaked at number two in the US.

Ghost in the Machine features 11 tracks. On Side A are Spirits in the Material World; Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic; Invisible Sun; Hungry for You (J’aurais toujours faim de toi); and Demolition Man. On Side B are Too Much Information; Rehumanize Yourself; One World (Not Three); Omegaman; Secret Journey; and Darkness.

Released as a single, Invisible Sun reached number two in the UK, where its video caused controversy due to featuring footage of the Northern Ireland conflict. Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic was another major hit, topping the UK singles chart. Album track Demolition Man, which had originally been written for Grace Jones, later became a solo hit for Sting when he recorded it as the title track for the soundtrack of the 1993 action movie of the same name.

As it’s Halloween, what better time to listen to Ghost in the Machine? You can do so at midnight tonight on Radio Nova.