Stewart Copeland Remembers Euphoric First Time Hearing Sting Sing: “Holy Gopher F**k”

Starting his career back in the 1970s, Stewart Copeland is not only a drummer but composer. Throughout the decades, he helped compose films like Wall Street, Men at Work, and even Good Burger. But besides his work on the silver screen, he also found himself a member of the rock band The Police. First performing with the Police in 1977, the legendary drummer recalled hearing Sting sing and how it impacted the future. 

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Appearing on the Broken Record podcast, Copeland remembered the early years of the Police and how they were part of a variety show in Germany. The featured acts included ballet dancing, lasers, and even a saxophonist with a love for jazz. “One of the elements was ‘jazz singer lady’ and she was sort of the Sade of her day. And one day she made the mistake of walking away from the microphone.” That moment would change the future as Sting approached center stage. 

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While reliving the moment, Copeland recalled the experience of hearing Sting for the first time. “Young Stingo walks up to the microphone and starts this keening wailing. 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.”

Stewart Copeland Discusses How Sting’s Voice Was Ahead Of Its Time

Hearing the full range of Sting’s voice, Copeland admitted at that moment, “Every heart is broken. The birds stop their song.” He continued, “Andy and I are in the shadows next to him going, ‘Holy gopher f**k! Where did that come from?’ And he just like he takes flight right there in front of us, and we’re going, ‘Jesus Christ.’”

While awestruck by what he heard, Copeland explained how such a sound would have been criticized in London at the time. “We’d only ever heard him yelling, you know, because that was his brief in the punk band. 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.”

(Photo by Fin Costello/Redferns/Getty Images)

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