The Police: “Fall Out” (1977)

The first lineup of The Police posing as punks and doing a Damned good job of it.  

Kronomyth 0.1: Never mind the dropped bollocks, it’s the police.

In May 1977, punk rock was just starting to catch fire. You had The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Damned and precious little else to burn at your turntable altar. So, when The Police came knocking with a new single, they were in the right place at the right time. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Stewart and brother Miles Copeland had their own record label to distribute it.

Written by Stewart Copeland, Fall Out is two minutes of rock/punk adrenalin that one Sounds reviewer compared to a cross between The Sex Pistols and Deep Purple. The Damned would be a better reference point than the Pistols, but the Purple comparisons hold. Original guitarist Henry Padovani was no Ritchie Blackmore, but the song has the same rush of energy that listeners would have experienced on a “Speed King.” The closest comparison in the classic Police lineup would be “Peanuts” or “Truth Hits Everybody.”

The B side, Nothing Achieving, is even louder and heavier. This time with brother Ian cowriting the track with Stewart, Sting belts out the lyrics at maximum speed/volume, Padovani channels Steve Jones at his most aggressive and Stewart does his best to break his drumkit. All in all, an incendiary piece of plastic more likely to cause a riot than keep the peace. In 1979, the single was re-issued to capitalize on the band’s breakthrough, though it seemed a long way removed from “Walking on the Moon.”

Original 7-inch single version

A1. Fall Out (Stewart Copeland) (2:01)
B1. Nothing Achieving (Stewart Copeland/Ian Copeland) (1:55)

The Players

Stewart Copeland (drums, guitar), Henry Padovani (guitar), Sting (bass, vocals). Produced by Stewart Copeland and Bazza.

The Pictures

Photo by Lawrence Impey.

The Product

Released on 7-inch single in May 1977 in the UK (Illegal, IL 001) with picture sleeve.

  1. Re-issued on 7-inch single on November 2, 1979 in the UK (Illegal, IL 001) with different picture sleeve in green, red or blue variation.

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