Drummer Stewart Copeland has revealed the shock he experienced the first time heard his bandmate Sting sing.

It was the early years of the Police, and the group was still a decidedly punk outfit. The trio was performing in Germany, part of a unique variety show which also included “lasers, ballet dancing, a jazz saxophonist, all these different elements.”

“One of the elements was ‘jazz singer lady’ and she was sort of the Sade of her day,” Copeland recalled during an appearance on the Broken Record podcast. “And one day she made the mistake of walking away from the microphone.”

That’s when Sting decided to try something his bandmates hadn’t heard before.

“Young Stingo walks up to the microphone and starts this keening wailing,” Copeland recalled. “I don't know how to describe it, just yodeling. Anybody who ever came to a Police show knows exactly what I'm talking about. You know, when Sting goes off, he just starts some repetitive vocalization combined with the bassline that we'd never heard before.”

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It was at that moment that Copeland heard the full potential of Sting’s vocals.

“Every heart is broken. The birds stop their song,” the drummer declared. “Andy and I are in the shadows next to him going, ‘Holy gopher fuck! Where did that come from?’ And he just like he takes flight right there in front of us, and we're going, ‘Jesus Christ.’”

Copeland Had Only Previously Heard Sting Yell

Though Copeland had been Sting’s bandmate for some time, the Police’s early material didn’t showcase the frontman's full vocal capabilities. As such, the drummer listened to his bandmate awestruck.

“We'd only ever heard him yelling, you know, because that was his brief in the punk band,” Copeland explained. “But to just hear him soaring with that kind of melodic invention, none of that would have been allowed in London. We would have been torn apart by the New Musical Express and by Melody Maker and so on for such musicality.”

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Gallery Credit: Michael Gallucci

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