Über The Police
The Police's sound evolved from non-descript Punk ("Nothing Achieving") to Reggae-infused pretend-Punk-Pop ("Can't Stand Losing You") to horn-driven Funk ("Demolition Man") to mature, produced-to-the-last-note stadium rock ("King of Pain") in a mere six years. Although you could count the number of chords in "Fall Out" (their debut DIY single) on one hand, the herculean musicianship of Sting, Andy Summers, and Stewart Copeland, not to mention Sting's nonpareil songwriting and ear for the almighty radio-ready hook, made the trio global superstars by the time they disbanded in the mid-1980s. Sting's sparse basslines combined with Summers' alternately liquid/jagged guitar tones and Copeland's impossibly complex polyrhythms to yield a rhythmic elasticity that could be hypnotic ("I Burn For You," "Tea in the Sahara"), methodical ("Walking on the Moon"), or driving ("Peanuts," "Message in a Bottle") -- or even all three at once ("Every Breath You Take"). As the soundtrack to the Atari/Rubik's Cube generation's upbringing, perhaps no other band, aside from the Beatles and '60s-era Rolling Stones, was as successful in their unparalleled conquering of both the album and single format.