Celebrating The Police’s “Synchronicity” 35 years later

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Thirty-five years ago, in June of 1983, The Police released “Synchronicity”, what would be their fifth and final studio album. The overwhelmingly positive response from this release was enough to take the album to the No. 1 spot in both the UK and the States.

“Synchronicity” topped the charts for 17 consecutive weeks in the US and the UK. At this time, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” was the forerunner on the charts, but even the King of Pop took a backseat to The Police for awhile.

What’s in a name?

The title for the album derives from the book by Carl Jung of the same name, in which he explains and explores the synchronicity hypothesis. The synchronicity hypothesis says that events are meaningful coincidences if they occur with no causal relationship, yet appear to be meaningfully related.

A simple example of this would be bumping into the same random person again and again. Jung’s view was that the structure of reality included these acausal connections, that manifested as meaningful coincidences.

It’s quite the thought. However, Jung also used the concept to argue for the existence of the paranormal. While that may sound a little far-fetched, it’s certainly an interesting possibility to consider. But I fear I digress.

The most common variation of album artwork for “Synchronicity” shows Sting reading a copy of Jung’s “Synchronicity” on the front cover. Superimposed over the image is a negative of text of the synchronicity hypothesis.

Reception

By the time the “Synchronicity” LP was in store, the album already had a hit single topping the charts. “Every Breath You Take” later went on to receive Grammy Awards for Best Song of the Year, and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. The song, due to its pleasant tune, was often misinterpreted as a love song.

The truth behind the lyrics, however, was much darker. In an interview, Sting revealed that, “It’s about surveillance, about being protected and controlled and not really thinking, not really struggling with the concept. It’s very seductive”.

The End of an Era

During the recording of “Synchronicity”, band tensions were high. Each member recorded their parts in separate rooms, and at several points, Sting and drummer Stewart Copeland exchanged both verbal and physical blows.

When compared to the disbanding of The Beatles, The Police make the Fab Four’s disagreements seem rather chummy. And they didn’t even have a Yoko.

After the recording of “Synchronicity” had finished, The Police went toured for the album, and went on a two year hiatus. While they met in the studio occasionally after that, they never really were The Police again.

“Synchronicity” Track List

Side One:

  1. “Synchronicity I”
  2. “Walking in Your Footsteps”
  3. “O My God”
  4. “Mother”
  5. Miss Gradenko”
  6. “Synchronicity II”

Side Two:

  1. “Every Breath You Take”
  2. “King of Pain”
  3. “Wrapped Around Your Finger”
  4. “Tea in the Sahara”
  5. “Murder by Numbers” (Bonus Track).

 

While “Synchronicity” isn’t yet available in the Lemonwire Store, plenty of other albums by The Police are. Be sure to go and check out any that catch your eye.

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