Message in a Box: The Complete Recordings

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Message in a Box: The Complete Recordings
Box set by The Police
Released September 28, 1993
Recorded 1977-1986
Genre New wave
Label A&M
The Police chronology
Greatest Hits
(1992)
Message in a Box: The Complete Recordings
(1993)
Live!
(1995)

Message in a Box: The Complete Recordings is a four-CD boxed set by The Police, containing all of their studio albums in chronological order, as well as singles, B-sides, and tracks from various compilation albums and the Brimstone & Treacle soundtrack.

Disc 1 includes live renditions of "Landlord" and "Next to You," which were recorded at the Bottom Line, New York on 4 April 1979 and originally broadcast on WNEW-FM, New York).

Disc 3 has a live version of "Driven to Tears" which was recorded live at Les Arenes, Frejus, France, 28 August 1980 and featured in Urgh! A Music War.

Contrary to its title, these are not the complete recordings to 1986. "Truth Hits Everybody '83" appeared on a limited edition gatefold single of "Every Breath You Take." Two new versions of "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da" were released in 1980 as a double A-side 7", one with Sting singing Japanese lyrics, the other with Spanish lyrics (AM-25000). A third version of "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da" was also re-recorded in 1986. This version of De Do Do Do De Da Da Da is not present on the box set, but is available on the DTS-CD and SACD releases of Every Breath You Take: The Classics. Another official release was a 12" single for "Don't Stand So Close to Me '86," which featured both an additional remix and live version of the song. Live recordings of "Can't Stand Losing You" and "Wrapped Around Your Finger" had also been released but not included on the boxed set. Yet another rarity missing from the box set is the extended video mix for Invisible Sun, which featured an additional verse not present on the LP version.

The b-side "Shambelle" written by Andy Summers was presented incorrectly, missing the hi-hat introduction played by Stewart Copeland on the original 45. This error has never been corrected, and the original 45 is the only place to get the full-length version of "Shambelle."[1]

The U.S. version also features the version of "Don't Stand So Close To Me '86" that was originally released on the album Every Breath You Take: The Singles. This version is shorter than the extended dance mix of Don't Stand So Close to Me '86 included on some international versions of the set and includes a different guitar solo from Andy Summers. There is no edition of the boxed set that includes both versions of "Don't Stand So Close To Me '86."

There was also speculation by a number of music fans that "Can't Stand Losing You" was remastered from a needle drop of the original vinyl. "Roxanne" also had pitch issues due to tape drag and possible damage to the master tape used.[2]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars [3]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars [4]

Allmusic gave resounding approval to the set, going so far as to claim that all 78 songs are "timeless classics," making it the ideal purchase for the casual listener. They also praised the booklet included, especially the Police biography, and asserted that the digital remastering is so superior to the sound quality of the original releases that they would recommend the purchase even to those who already have all the recordings on the boxed set.[3]

Track listing[edit]

  • Tracks previously unreleased on CD are marked with "*".

Disc 1[edit]

  1. "Fall Out" (Stewart Copeland)* – 2:04
  2. "Nothing Achieving" (Copeland)* – 1:56
    • Tracks 1-2 originally released as a single (UK only) in 1977.
  3. "Dead End Job" (Sting, Copeland, Andy Summers)* – 3:35
    • B-side of the singles "Can't Stand Losing You" (UK), and "Roxanne" (U.S.).
  4. "Next to You" (Sting) – 2:50
  5. "So Lonely" (Sting) – 4:49
  6. "Roxanne" (Sting) – 3:12
  7. "Hole in My Life" (Sting) – 4:52
  8. "Peanuts" (Copeland, Sting) – 3:58
  9. "Can't Stand Losing You" (Sting) – 2:58
  10. "Truth Hits Everybody" (Sting) – 2:53
  11. "Born in the 50's" (Sting) – 3:40
  12. "Be My Girl - Sally" (Sting, Summers) – 3:22
  13. "Masoko Tanga" (Sting) – 5:40
  14. "Landlord" (Live) (Sting, Copeland) * – 2:36
  15. "Next to You" (Live) (Sting)* – 3:11
    • Tracks 14-15 originally released on the A&M compilation album Propaganda - No Wave II in 1980 (AMLE 64786).
  16. "Landlord" (Sting, Copeland) * – 3:09
  17. "Message in a Bottle" (Sting) – 4:51
  18. "Reggatta de Blanc" (Copeland, Sting, Summers) – 3:06
  19. "It's Alright for You" (Copeland, Sting) – 3:13
  20. "Bring on the Night" (Sting) – 4:16
  21. "Deathwish" (Copeland, Sting, Summers) – 4:13

Disc 2[edit]

  1. "Walking on the Moon" (Sting) – 5:02
  2. "On Any Other Day" (Copeland) – 2:57
  3. "The Bed's Too Big Without You" (Sting) – 4:26
  4. "Contact" (Copeland) – 2:38
  5. "Does Everyone Stare" (Copeland) – 3:52
  6. "No Time This Time" (Sting) – 3:17
  7. "Visions of the Night" (Sting)* – 3:05
    • B-side of the singles "Walking on the Moon" (UK), and "Bring on the Night" (U.S.).
  8. "The Bed's too Big Without You" (Mono) (Sting) * – 3:29
  9. "Truth Hits Everybody" (Live) (Sting) * – 2:26
    • Tracks 8-9 originally released on Six Pack (UK only) in 1980.
  10. "Friends" (Summers)* – 3:36
    • B-side of the singles "Don't Stand So Close to Me" (UK), and "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da" (U.S.).
  11. "Don't Stand So Close to Me" (Sting) – 4:04
  12. "Driven to Tears" (Sting) – 3:20
  13. "When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around" (Sting) – 3:38
  14. "Canary in a Coalmine" (Sting) – 2:26
  15. "Voices Inside My Head" (Sting) – 3:53
  16. "Bombs Away" (Copeland) – 3:09
  17. "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da" (Sting) – 4:09
  18. "Behind My Camel" (Summers) – 2:54
  19. "Man in a Suitcase" (Sting) – 2:19
  20. "Shadows in the Rain" (Sting) – 5:02
  21. "The Other Way of Stopping" (Copeland) – 3:22

Disc 3[edit]

  1. "A Sermon" (Copeland) * – 2:33
    • B-side of the singles "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da" (UK), and "Don't Stand So Close To Me" (U.S.).
  2. "Driven to Tears" (Live)(Sting) * – 3:29
    • Originally released on the compilation album Urgh! A Music War in 1981.
  3. "Shambelle" (Summers) * – 5:00
    • B-side of the singles "Invisible Sun" (UK), and "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" (U.S.).
  4. "Spirits in the Material World" (Sting) – 2:59
  5. "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" (Sting) – 4:22
  6. "Invisible Sun" (Sting) – 3:44
  7. "Hungry for You (J'aurais toujours faim de toi)" (Sting) – 2:53
  8. "Demolition Man" (Sting) – 5:57
  9. "Too Much Information" (Sting) – 3:43
  10. "Rehumanize Yourself" (Copeland, Sting) – 3:10
  11. "One World (Not Three)" (Sting) – 4:47
  12. "Omegaman" (Summers) – 2:48
  13. "Secret Journey" (Sting) – 3:34
  14. "Darkness" (Copeland) – 3:14
  15. "Flexible Strategies" (Sting, Summers, Copeland) * – 3:43
    • B-side of the singles "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" (UK), and "Spirits in the Material World" (U.S.).
  16. "Low Life" * (Sting) – 3:45
    • B-side of the UK single "Spirits in the Material World".
  17. "How Stupid Mr. Bates" (Sting, Summers, Copeland) * – 2:41
  18. "A Kind of Loving" (Sting, Summers, Copeland) * – 2:03

Disc 4[edit]

  1. "Synchronicity I" (Sting) – 3:23
  2. "Walking in Your Footsteps" (Sting) – 3:36
  3. "O My God" (Sting) – 4:02
  4. "Mother" (Summers) – 3:05
  5. "Miss Gradenko" (Copeland) – 1:59
  6. "Synchronicity II" (Sting) – 5:02
  7. "Every Breath You Take" (Sting) – 4:13
  8. "King of Pain" (Sting) – 4:59
  9. "Wrapped Around Your Finger" (Sting) – 5:13
  10. "Tea in the Sahara" (Sting) – 4:19
  11. "Murder by Numbers" (Sting, Summers) – 4:36
    • Not included on original LP release of the album Synchronicity, but was included on CD release.
    • B-side of the single "Every Breath You Take".
  12. "Man in a Suitcase" (Live) (Sting) * – 2:17
    • originally released on the maxi-single "Every Breath You Take" (UK only).
  13. "Someone to Talk To" (Summers) * – 3:08
    • B-side of the singles "Wrapped Around Your Finger" (UK), and "King of Pain" (U.S.).
  14. "Message in a Bottle" (Live) (Sting) * – 4:51
    • Originally released on the maxi-single "Wrapped Around Your Finger" (UK only).
  15. "I Burn for You" (Sting) * – 4:49
    • Originally released on the soundtrack album Brimstone & Treacle in 1982.
    • Also included on the maxi-single "Wrapped Around Your Finger" (UK only) which contributes to its ordering in this collection.
  16. "Once Upon a Daydream" (Sting, Summers) * – 3:31
    • B-side of the single "Synchronicity II".
  17. "Tea in the Sahara" (Live) (Sting)* – 5:06
    • B-side of the singles "King of Pain" (UK), and "Wrapped Around Your Finger" (U.S.).
  18. "Don't Stand So Close to Me '86" (Sting)* – 4:51

NOTE: The German & Australian pressings replace the original version of "Don't Stand So Close to Me '86" with the Dance Mix on this disc (matrix number: 540 154-2 01 & 540 150-2). The Dance Mix clocks in at 6:24, has an extended intro, a different ending, no playground sound effects, and a radically different guitar solo. This version was originally included on the 12" single for the song.

Note: On this box, is not included: "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da" (Spanish Version) - 4:00 / "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da" (Japanese Version) - 4:00 from the 7" AM 25000 on A&M records (U.S.). *

Personnel[edit]

  • Sting - bass guitar, keyboards, saxophone, oboe, lead and backing vocals, harmonica on "So Lonely", drum machine on "Synchronicity I"
  • Andy Summers - guitar, keyboards, bass guitar on "Behind My Camel", backing vocals, piano on "Does Everyone Stare" and "Be My Girl - Sally", spoken word on "Friends", "Dead End Job" and Be My Girl - Sally", lead vocals on "Mother" and "Someone to Talk To"
  • Stewart Copeland - drums, percussion, keyboards, backing vocals, guitar on "Fall Out", "Nothing Achieving", "It's Alright for You" and "A Sermon", lead vocal on "On Any Other Day", spoken word on "Does Everyone Stare"
  • Henri Padovani - guitar on "Fall Out" and "Nothing Achieving"
  • John Sinclair - piano on "Hole in My Life" and "Masoko Tanga"
  • Jean Russell - piano on "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic"
  • Olaf Kubler - saxophone on "Low Life"
  • Suzanna Hamilton - screaming on "A Kind of Loving"

References[edit]