Message in a Box: The Complete Recordings

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Message in a Box:
The Complete Recordings
Message in a Box - The Complete Recordings.jpg
Box set by The Police
Released September 28, 1993
Recorded 1977–1986
Genre New wave
Label A&M
Producer The Police, Nigel Gray, Hugh Padgham
The Police chronology
Greatest Hits
(1992)Greatest Hits1992
Message in a Box: The Complete Recordings
(1993)
Live!
(1995)Live!1995

Message in a Box: The Complete Recordings is a four-CD box set by The Police, containing all five of their studio albums in chronological order, as well as non-album singles, non-album B-sides, and tracks from various compilation albums and the Brimstone & Treacle soundtrack (1982). The box set also comes with a 68-page booklet.

While the box set does contain every original song released by the band, these are not the complete recordings up to 1986, contrary to the box set's title. The following are not included in the box set:

Disc one 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 three has a live version of "Driven to Tears" which was recorded live at Les Arenes, Frejus, France, 28 August 1980 and is featured on the Urgh! A Music War soundtrack album (1982).

"Shambelle", an instrumental written by Andy Summers, that is a B-side both of the singles "Invisible Sun" (UK) and "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" (US), was presented incorrectly, missing the hi-hat introduction played by Stewart Copeland. This error has never been corrected, and the original 45's is the only place to get the full-length versions.[1] It should also be noted that the versions of "Shambelle" on the "Invisible Sun" and "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" singles have different track times, clocking 5:42 on the former and 5:10 on the latter. The version on this box set clocks in just about five minutes.

The U.S. version of the box set 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 (1986). 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 box set and includes a different guitar solo from Andy Summers. There is no edition of the box set that includes both versions of the song.

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 and that "Roxanne" had pitch issues due to tape drag and possible damage to the master tape used.[1]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[2]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[3]

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 box set.[2]

Track listing[edit]

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

Disc one[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
  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 two[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
  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
  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 three[edit]

  1. "A Sermon" (Copeland) * – 2:33
  2. "Driven to Tears" (Live) (Sting) * – 3:29
  3. "Shambelle" (Summers) * – 5:00
  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
  16. "Low Life" * (Sting) – 3:45
  17. "How Stupid Mr. Bates" (Sting, Summers, Copeland) * – 2:41
  18. "A Kind of Loving" (Sting, Summers, Copeland) * – 2:03

Disc four[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
  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
  17. "Tea in the Sahara" (Live) (Sting) * – 5:06
  18. "Don't Stand So Close to Me '86" (Sting) * – 4:51

Personnel[edit]

The Police

  • 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"

Additional

  • 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 Kübler - saxophone on "Low Life"
  • Suzanna Hamilton - screaming on "A Kind of Loving"

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "The Police on CD". Steve Hoffman Music Forums. 
  2. ^ a b Message in a Box: The Complete Recordings at AllMusic
  3. ^ "The Police: Album Guide". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-05-28.