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The Police Live At Hatfield Polytechnic

'Message in a Bottle'
Single by The Police
from the album Reggatta de Blanc
Released21 September 1979
RecordedFebruary 1979
  • The Police
The Police singles chronology
'So Lonely'
'Message in a Bottle'
'Walking on the Moon'
Audio sample
Alternative cover
  1. The Police, Hatfield Polytechnic Auditorium, Rock Goes to College 1978-79 Outlandos de Amour Tour Soundboard Quality Setlist: Can't Stand Losing You So Lonel.
  2. The University of Hertfordshire (UOH) is a public university in Hertfordshire, United Kingdom.The university is based largely in Hatfield, Hertfordshire.Its antecedent institution, Hatfield Technical College, was founded in 1948 and was identified as one of 25 Colleges of Technology in the United Kingdom in 1959. In 1992, Hatfield Polytechnic was granted university status by the British.

'Message in a Bottle' is a song by English rock band The Police. It was released as the lead single from their second studio album, Reggatta de Blanc (1979). Written by the band's lead singer and bassist Sting, the song is ostensibly about a story of a castaway on an island, who sends out a message in a bottle to seek love. A year later, he has not received any sort of response, and despairs, thinking he is destined to be alone. The next day, he sees 'a hundred billion bottles' on the shore, finding out that there are more people like him out there.

Quotations and trivia. This section needs more information. 1979-02-21 (Hatfield Polytechnic concert); The Police 1979: Rock Goes To College; External links. You guys turned UP with the best photo captions last #ThrowbackThursday! Here are some of our favourites.

The song was the first of their five UK number one singles.[4]Rolling Stone ranked it number 65 on its list of the '100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time'.


The song exemplifies the reggae rock/new wave style of early Police. It is composed in the key of C minor with a chord progression of C#m9-Amaj9-B7-F#m.

According to the band's guitarist, Andy Summers, Sting had initially intended the guitar riff that 'Message in a Bottle' is centred around for a different song.[5] Summers said to L'Historia Bandidio in 1981: 'Sting had that riff for a while, but there was another tune with it originally. He'd been fiddling about with it during our first American tour. Finally, he rearranged the riff slightly and came up with the song.' Summers came up with, as Sting described, 'lovely arpeggiated shiver' during the break prior to the third verse.[5] Sting praised this addition saying, 'He'd [Summers] do that – the song would be quite raw and he'd just add these lovely colours.'[5] The song was recorded at Surrey Sound Studios as part of the sessions for the Reggatta de Blanc album. Stewart Copeland's drumming, praised as his 'finest drum track' by Summers, was 'overdubbed [from] about six different parts.'[5]

The song's B-side, 'Landlord', was written by Sting (lyrics) and Copeland (music). Sting said of its inspiration, 'I wrote that after Frances and I were thrown out of the house we were renting in London. I hated the idea of somebody fucking my life up like that. Stewart [Copeland] wrote the music.'[5] The song originally featured lyrics by Copeland, but they were replaced by Sting's.[5]

Live performances[edit]

The Police debuted the song on live television on the BBC's Rock Goes to College, filmed at Hatfield Polytechnic College in Hertfordshire, England.[6] The Police donated all money earned from the show to the college.

The Police performed at Live Earth, a 2007 charity concert to raise awareness of global warming and other environmental hazards, and performed 'Message in a Bottle' as the US finale, with John Mayer playing guitar with Andy Summers and Kanye West performing a rap verse over the chorus of the song.


The song was released as the first single from Reggatta de Blanc in September 1979. The song was a massive success in Britain, becoming The Police's first No. 1 hit in the UK Singles Chart.[7] The song also topped the charts in Ireland and reached No. 5 in Australia. Despite its popularity in the UK, the single only reached No. 74 in the United States. An alternative 'classic rock' mix is available on Every Breath You Take: The Classics.

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The Police Live At Hatfield Polytechnic (1979) Dvd

'Message in a Bottle' is also a personal favourite of the members of the band. In addition to saying it was his favourite song in an interview with Jools Holland of the BBC, Sting described it as a 'good song', and also said that he was 'very proud' of it.[5][8] Copeland said it was 'one of our [The Police's] best moments in the studio and always great on stage.'[5] Summers described the track as a personal favourite in his book One Train Later, and said, 'For me, it's still the best song Sting ever came up with and the best Police track.'[5]


'Message in a Bottle' is a good song. That can move me. I like the idea that while it's about loneliness and alienation it's also about finding solace and other people going through the same thing. The guy's on a desert island and throws a bottle out to sea saying he's alone and all these millions of bottles come back saying, So what So am I! I like the fact that the whole deal is clinched by the third verse. It makes a journey.

— Sting, Q, November 1993[5]

According to Billboard Magazine, 'Message in a Bottle' has an 'irresistible' hook.[9]

The police live at hatfield polytechnic (1979) dvd


  • Stewart Copeland – drums
  • Sting – bass guitar, lead and backing vocals
  • Andy Summers – guitar, synthesizer

Track listing[edit]

A&M / AMS 7474
  1. 'Message in a Bottle' (edit) – 3:50 (This edit has yet to appear on CD anywhere)
  2. 'Landlord' – 3:09

Chart performance[edit]


Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1979–80)Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[10]5
Austrian Top 40[11]24
Belgium (Ultratop Top 50)5
The Netherlands2
New Zealand[11]11
South Africa5
RT Singles Chart1
US Billboard Hot 100[13]74
US Cash Box Top 100[14]62

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1979)Rank
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)37
UK [15]11
Chart (1980)Rank
Chart (2019)Position
Portugal (AFP)[18]2194

Decade-end charts[edit]

Chart (1980)Rank
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[19]83


The police live at hatfield polytechnic

American crossover thrash band Excel recorded a cover for their 1989 album The Joke's On You.

American groove metal band Machine Head recorded a cover of the song for their 1999 album The Burning Red.

American rock band American Hi-Fi performed a cover of the song for the 2003 film Rugrats Go Wild.

American reggae artist Matisyahu recorded a cover, originally released on Yahoo! Music. It was then available in his 2006 album No Place to Be.

The Police Live At Hatfield Polytechnic

On April 14, 2020, Sting recorded a duet cover of Message in a Bottle with the quartet All Saints.[20]


  1. ^Kitchener, Heather (17 February 2015). 'Paul Simon and Sting review – well-worn classics from two songwriting giants'. The Guardian. ISSN0261-3077. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  2. ^True, Chris. 'Message in a Bottle - The Police Song Info'. AllMusic. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  3. ^DiVita, Joe (29 April 2019). 'The 55 Best Metal Covers of Classic Rock Hits'. Loudwire. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  4. ^'The Police UK chart history'. Official 20 October 2016.
  5. ^ abcdefghij''Message in a Bottle' / 'Landlord''.
  6. ^Shaun Keaveny (2010). R2D2 Lives in Preston: The Best of BBC 6 Music's Toast the Nation!. p. 125. Pan Macmillan,
  7. ^ ab'POLICE Artist'. Official Charts. Archived from the original on 26 October 2011. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  8. ^Robinson, Joe. 'Top 10 Police Songs'. Ultimate Classic Rock.
  9. ^'Top Single Picks'(PDF). Billboard Magazine. 27 October 1979. p. 88. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  10. ^Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 235. ISBN0-646-11917-6.
  11. ^ abcdSteffen Hung. 'The Police – Message in a Bottle'. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  12. ^'Item Display – RPM – Library and Archives Canada'. Archived from the original on 24 February 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  13. ^'The Police Chart History (Hot 100)'. Billboard.
  14. ^'Top 100 1979-12-29'. Cashbox Magazine. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  15. ^'Top 100 Singles of 1979'(PDF). Record Mirror. London: Spotlight Publications. 5 January 1980. p. 30. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  16. ^'Archived copy'. Archived from the original on 25 April 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^'Archived copy'. Archived from the original on 7 April 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^'Top AFP - Audiogest - Top 3000 Singles + EPs Digitais'(PDF) (in Portuguese). Associação Fonográfica Portuguesa. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  19. ^'Top 100 Singles of the Decade'(PDF). Record Mirror. 5 January 1980. p. 2. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
  20. ^Sting & all saints message in the bottle on

External links[edit]

  • ''Message in a Bottle' entry at Songfacts'.
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