The Police: Reggatta de Blanc – [Record 107]
Reggatta de Blanc is the second album by The Police, released in 1979. It features the band’s first two UK #1 hits: “Message in a Bottle” and “Walking on the Moon”. It was their second album to bear a foreign language title after the band’s 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 1980.
1, Message in a Bottle.
2, Reggatta de Blanc.
3, It’s Alright for You.
4, Bring on the Night.
6, Walking on the Moon.
7, On Any Other Day.
8, The Bed’s Too Big Without You.
10, Does Everyone Stare.
11, No Time This Time.
Background: Reggatta de Blanc took four weeks to record, spaced over several months. Unlike its successor, Zenyatta Mondatta, there was no pressure on the band. Stewart Copeland described it, “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.”
Against the wishes of A&M, 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. The small budget (between £6,000 and £9,000) was easily covered by the profits of their previous album, Outlandos d’Amour, 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. To fill in the gaps, Sting and Copeland dug up old songs they’d 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, while “Does Everyone Stare” originates from a piano piece Copeland wrote in college. 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.
The album’s title is a pseudo-French translation of “white reggae”.
Songs: The instrumental “Reggatta de Blanc”, one of the few songs written by the Police as a group, came from the long instrumental break in the live performance of “Can’t Stand Losing You” and earned the band the 1980 Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. “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 that the words fitted Gary Gilmore’s death wish, and says that since then, “I sing it with him in mind.” “The Bed’s Too Big Without You” was covered by reggae singer Sheila Hylton in 1981, and became a UK Top 40 hit.
Reception: Reggatta de Blanc continued to build on the success of the band’s previous record[clarification needed], hitting #1 on the UK and Australian album charts upon its release in October 1979. “Message in a Bottle” and “Walking on the Moon” were released as singles and both reached #1 in the UK. In 2012, the album was ranked #372 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.