Reggatta de Blanc

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Reggatta de Blanc
Police-album-reggattadeblanc.jpg
Studio album by
Released2 October 1979 (1979-10-02)
Recorded1978 ("No Time This Time"), February – August 1979
StudioSurrey Sound (Leatherhead)
Genre
Length41:52
LabelA&M
Producer
The Police chronology
Outlandos d'Amour
(1978)
Reggatta de Blanc
(1979)
Six Pack
(1980)
Singles from Reggatta de Blanc
  1. "Message in a Bottle"
    Released: 21 September 1979
  2. "Walking on the Moon"
    Released: 4 November 1979
  3. "Bring On the Night"
    Released: 22 November 1979 (US only)
  4. "The Bed's Too Big Without You"
    Released: 8 June 1980

Reggatta de Blanc is the second studio album by English rock band the Police, released on 2 October 1979 by A&M Records. It was the band's first release to top the UK Albums Chart and features their first two UK number-one singles: "Message in a Bottle" and "Walking on the Moon". In early 1980, the album was reissued in the United States on two 10" discs, one album side per disc, and as a collector's edition with a poster of the band.

The music features the Police's distinctive appropriation of reggae and frontman Sting's Caribbean vocal inflections. The album's title loosely translates in French to "White Reggae".[1] It was the band's second album to bear a Franglais title, after their 1978 debut album Outlandos d'Amour. Reggatta de Blanc proved both more popular and successful than its predecessor. The title track earned the band their first Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.

In 2003, Reggatta de Blanc was ranked at number 369 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Background[edit]

Reggatta de Blanc took four weeks to record, spaced over several months.[2] Unlike its successor, Zenyatta Mondatta, there was no pressure on the band. Of the sessions, drummer Stewart Copeland said, "We just went into the studio and said, 'Right, who's got the first song?' We hadn't even rehearsed them before we went in."[3]

Against the wishes of A&M Records, who had wanted to equip the promising band with a bigger studio and more famous producer, the Police opted to again record at Surrey Sound with Nigel Gray.[4] The small budget (between £6,000 and £9,000) was easily covered by the profits of their previous album, Outlandos d'Amour,[5] further ensuring that the record label would have no control over the actual creation of the band's music.

Whereas Outlandos d'Amour had benefited from one of the most prolific songwriting periods of Sting's life, the recording sessions for Reggatta de Blanc were so short on new material that the band even considered re-recording "Fall Out" at one point.[5] To fill in the gaps, Sting and Copeland dug up old songs they had written and used elements of them to create new songs. Much of the lyrics to "Bring On the Night" were recycled from Sting's Last Exit song "Carrion Prince (O Ye of Little Hope)" and "The Bed's Too Big Without You" similarly started as a Last Exit tune,[6] while "Does Everyone Stare" originates from a piano piece Copeland wrote in college.[7] The closing track "No Time This Time" was previously the B-side to "So Lonely" in November 1978, and was added to pad out the album's running time.

Music and lyrics[edit]

As on the band's first album, Reggatta de Blanc features the Police's original fusion of hard rock, British pop, Jamaican reggae, and new wave music.[8] The instrumental "Reggatta de Blanc", one of the few songs written by the Police as a group, was developed from an extended instrumental piece that the band would typically work into their live performances of "Can't Stand Losing You".[9] "Bring On the Night" was written three years earlier as "Carrion Prince", the title taken from Ted Hughes's poem "King of Carrion", and is about Pontius Pilate; however, after reading The Executioner's Song, Sting felt that the words fitted Gary Gilmore's death wish, and says that since then, "I sing it with him in mind."[6] "The Bed's Too Big Without You" was covered by reggae singer Sheila Hylton in 1981, and became a UK Top 40 hit.[10]

Reception and legacy[edit]

Retrospective professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3/5 stars[11]
Chicago Tribune2.5/4 stars[12]
Christgau's Record GuideB−[13]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[14]
The Great Rock Discography7/10[15]
MusicHound Rock4/5[15]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4/5 stars[16]
The Sacramento Bee3/4 stars[17]
Spin Alternative Record Guide7/10[18]
Uncut5/5 stars[19]

Reggatta de Blanc continued to build on the success of Outlandos d'Amour, hitting number one on the British, Australian, and Dutch album charts upon its release in October 1979.[20][21][22] "Message in a Bottle" and "Walking on the Moon" were released as singles and both reached number one in the UK, the band's first singles to do so.[20] According to rock journalist Tim Peacock, with its success, the album transformed the Police "into one of the post-punk era's defining bands".[23]

The album was met with positive reviews from magazines such as Smash Hits,[24] People,[25] and Rolling Stone. Writing for the latter in December 1979, Debra Rae Cohen said that objections to the band's stylistic appropriations of new wave and reggae are "rendered moot by the sheer energy of the band's rhythmic counter-punching".[26] In The Village Voice's year-end Pazz & Jop poll of American critics nationwide, Reggatta de Blanc was voted the 35th best album of 1979.[27] Robert Christgau, the poll's creator and the Voice's chief critic, was lukewarm about the album in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981): "The idea is to fuse Sting's ringing rock voice and the trio's aggressive, hard-edged rock attack with a less eccentric version of reggae's groove and a saner version of reggae's mix. To me the result sounds half-assed. And though I suppose I might find the 'synthesis' innovative if I heard as much reggae as they do in England, it's more likely I'd find it infuriating."[13] In 1981, the album's title track earned the band a Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.[28] In a retrospective review for AllMusic, Greg Prato said that the band's intense touring schedule leading up to the album had made their unique reggae rock fusion sharper, leading to a work that was "much more polished production-wise and fully developed from a songwriting standpoint", but also "more sedate" than their first album.[11]

Reggatta de Blanc has appeared frequently on professional listings of the greatest albums.[15] In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked the record at number 369 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time;[29] on an updated version of the list published in 2012, it placed at number 372.[30] In 2006, it was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[31] In 2014, Spin cited it as one of the most major moments in the history of white reggae.[1] Based on such rankings, the aggregate website Acclaimed Music lists Reggatta de Blanc as the 109th most acclaimed album from the 1970s and the 365th most acclaimed album in history.[15] In an interview with 'Modern Drummer (PDF)', Stewart Copeland named it his favourite Police album.[32]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Message in a Bottle"Sting4:51
2."Reggatta de Blanc"3:06
3."It's Alright for You"
  • Sting
  • Copeland
3:13
4."Bring on the Night"Sting4:15
5."Deathwish"
  • Summers
  • Sting
  • Copeland
4:13
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
6."Walking on the Moon"Sting5:02
7."On Any Other Day"Copeland2:57
8."The Bed's Too Big Without You"Sting4:26
9."Contact"Copeland2:38
10."Does Everyone Stare"Copeland3:52
11."No Time This Time"Sting3:17

Personnel[edit]

Credits are adapted from the album's liner notes.[33]

The Police

  • Sting – bass guitar, lead vocals (all but 2 and 7), backing vocals, double bass, bass synthesizer (9), arrangements
  • Andy Summers – guitar, synthesizer (1, 6, 9), piano (10), arrangements
  • Stewart Copeland – drums, backing vocals, guitar (3), lead vocals (7, 10), arrangements

Production

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[47] Platinum 50,000^
Belgium (BEA)[47] Gold 25,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[48] Platinum 100,000^
France (SNEP)[49] Platinum 400,000*
Germany (BVMI)[50] Gold 250,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[51] Platinum 100,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[52] Platinum 15,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[53] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[54] Platinum 1,000,000^

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Martins, Chris (19 December 2014). "Rude Awakening: 25 Major Moments in White Reggae History". Spin. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  2. ^ Sutcliffe, Phil (1993). "Outlandos at the Regatta". Message in a Box: The Complete Recordings (box set booklet). The Police. A&M Records. pp. 32–35.
  3. ^ Sounds magazine, January 1980.
  4. ^ Summers, Andy (2006). One Train Later. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-35914-0.
  5. ^ a b Sutcliffe, Phil; Fielder, Hugh (1981). L'Historia Bandido. Proteus Books. p. 61. ISBN 0-906071-66-6.
  6. ^ a b Sutcliffe, Phil; Fielder, Hugh (1981). L'Historia Bandido. Proteus Books. p. 36. ISBN 0-906071-66-6.
  7. ^ Copeland, Stewart (2009). Strange Things Happen: A Life with the Police, Polo and Pygmies. HarperCollins. pp. 21–22. ISBN 978-0-00-733940-2.
  8. ^ LaBlanc, Michael, ed. (1989). Contemporary Musicians. Gale Research. p. 222. ISBN 0-8103-2213-7.
  9. ^ Garbarini, Vic (Spring 2000). "'I think if we came back ...'". Revolver. Archived from the original on 30 August 2018. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  10. ^ "Sheila Hylton". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  11. ^ a b Prato, Greg. "Reggatta de Blanc – The Police". AllMusic. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  12. ^ Kot, Greg (7 March 1993). "Feeling A Sting". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  13. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1981). "The Police: Reggatta de Blanc". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor and Fields. ISBN 0-89919-026-X. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  14. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). "Police". The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.
  15. ^ a b c d "The Police: Reggatta de Blanc". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved 4 July 2020.
  16. ^ Considine, J. D. (2004). "The Police". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 644–45. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  17. ^ Macias, Chris; Barton, David (30 July 2000). "On the Sting beat: The Police and beyond". The Sacramento Bee.
  18. ^ Sheffield, Rob (1995). "Police". In Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig (eds.). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. p. 306. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  19. ^ "Toppermost of the coppermost". Uncut. No. 71. April 2003.
  20. ^ a b "Police". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  21. ^ a b c Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. pp. 235–36, 432. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  22. ^ a b "Dutchcharts.nl – The Police – Reggatta de Blanc" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  23. ^ Peacock, Tim (2 October 2019). "'Reggatta De Blanc': How The Police Hit Pay Dirt With Their Second Album". uDiscoverMusic. Retrieved 4 July 2020.
  24. ^ Hepworth, David (4–17 October 1979). "Albums". Smash Hits. Vol. 1 no. 22. p. 29.
  25. ^ "Picks and Pans Review: Reggatta De Blanc". People. Vol. 12 no. 25. 13 December 1979. Retrieved 31 October 2020.
  26. ^ Cohen, Debra Rae (13 December 1979). "Reggatta De Blanc". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 31 October 2020.
  27. ^ "The 1979 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice. 28 January 1980. Retrieved 4 July 2020.
  28. ^ "Police". The Recording Academy. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  29. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time: Reggatta de Blanc – The Police". Rolling Stone. 18 November 2003. Archived from the original on 20 December 2010. Retrieved 30 November 2020.
  30. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. 31 May 2012. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  31. ^ Dimery, Robert, ed. (2006). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die (revised and updated ed.). Universe Publishing. ISBN 0-7893-1371-5.
  32. ^ Bonar, Ted (November 2001). "Stewart Copeland: Top of the Pecking Order". Modern Drummer. Vol. 25 no. 11. pp. 70–86.
  33. ^ Reggatta de Blanc (liner notes). The Police. A&M Records. 1979. AMLH 64792.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  34. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 9481a". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  35. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – The Police – Reggatta de Blanc" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  36. ^ Okamoto, Satoshi (2006). Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Oricon. ISBN 978-4-87131-077-2.
  37. ^ "Charts.nz – The Police – Reggatta de Blanc". Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  38. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – The Police – Reggatta de Blanc". Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  39. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – The Police – Reggatta de Blanc". Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  40. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  41. ^ "The Police Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  42. ^ "1979 Top 100 Albums". RPM. Vol. 32 no. 13. 22 December 1979. Archived from the original on 6 June 2013. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  43. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Jaaroverzichten – Album 1979" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  44. ^ "Top 100 Albums". RPM. Vol. 34 no. 6. 20 December 1980. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  45. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Jaaroverzichten – Album 1980" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  46. ^ "Top 100 Album-Jahrescharts" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  47. ^ a b "International Certifications" (PDF). Cashbox. Vol. 42 no. 11. 26 July 1980. p. 32. Retrieved 20 February 2020 – via World Radio History.
  48. ^ "Canadian album certifications – The Police – Regatta de Blanc". Music Canada. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  49. ^ "French album certifications – The Police – Reggatta de Blanc" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved 11 December 2019. Select THE POLICE and click OK. 
  50. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (The Police; 'Regatta de Blanc')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  51. ^ "Dutch album certifications – The Police – Reggatta de Blanc" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Retrieved 11 December 2019. Enter Reggatta de Blanc in the "Artiest of titel" box.
  52. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – The Police – Regatta de Blanc". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  53. ^ "British album certifications – The Police – Regatta de Blanc". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 11 December 2019.Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type Regatta de Blanc in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  54. ^ "American album certifications – The Police – Regatta de Blanc". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 11 December 2019. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]