Last Exit (British band)

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Last Exit was a British jazz fusion band formed in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, in 1974 and is best remembered as the group Sting was in before finding stardom with The Police. The band name came from the book Last Exit to Brooklyn. Last Exit was composed of drummer Ronnie Pearson (also of the Phoenix Jazzmen), guitarists John Hedley and then Terry Ellis, keyboardist Gerry Richardson, and bassist and singer Sting.

The band was a leading act around Newcastle for several years. They released a single in 1975, "Whispering Voices" (a Richardson composition), and in 1976, Carol Wilson, Head of Richard Branson's music publishing company, saw Last Exit play in the Gosforth Hotel in Newcastle and signed them. Virgin financed the recording of a demo in the Pathway Studios in London. Wilson organised a number of gigs, including Dingwalls, and a double page feature in Sounds and played the demo to every major record label. Most A&R men liked it but could not see an obvious category to market the band, so no record deal materialised. In 1977, Last Exit moved to London but after a few gigs half of the band returned to Newcastle, and Sting and Richardson started looking for other jobs. Richardson worked with Billy Ocean's band as musical director, while Sting joined Stewart Copeland and Henri Padovani and formed The Police. That same year, Last Exit played their last concert in Newcastle. In 1996 Sting invited Gerry Richardson to play organ on his album Mercury Falling.

Several Last Exit songs were later reworked by Sting, to feature in The Police's and Sting's solo albums:

The songs "Don't Give Up Your Daytime Job" and "Don't You Look At Me" were considered for The Police album Ghost in the Machine, but were not used. They are, however, available as demos on several bootlegs.

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