The Police: Outlandos d'Amour Production Notes

Production Notes

Outlandos d'Amour was recorded from January to September 1978 at Surrey Sound Studios in Leatherhead, Surrey – a converted community hall with the control room in the former stage area and the recording space in what had been the auditorium. It was a low budget affair undertaken at night at a cheap rate, the group using a secondhand multi-track tape found in Miles Copeland's garage.

Surrey Sound Studios in Leatherhead pictured in 1984 after having been upgraded with a Harrison MR4 console and Sony digital recorders

The studio had been established in 1974 by Nigel Gray as a demoing and rehearsal facility with a four-track machine. But in 1977 Gray had installed a 16-track Alice desk and an Ampex MM1000 16-track tape machine. The mics used for the sessions were a Valve Neumann U-67, a couple of C-451s as overheads, an AKG D-12 for the bass drum and some Beyer Dynamic microphones for the toms. Gray would use two mics on Summers' guitar amp, one close up and one further away to pick up the room sound. The drums were usually put on eight tracks with one track for bass, two for guitar and one or two tracks for Sting's vocals, leaving spare tracks for Summers' and Copeland's backing vocals.

The Police recorded their backing tracks live with a guide vocal. Sting was in the monitoring room with Gray, his bass sound achieved by a mix of one line DI'd into the desk and a mic going through a wall to pick up his bass amp in another space. The room was not the largest, and laughter heard at the start of 'Roxanne' is because Sting slipped and accidentally sat on the piano.

After 'Roxanne' was released as a one-off single in April 1978, attempts were made to remix 'Can't Stand Losing You' at another studio, but the band were unable to improve on the originals made at Surrey Sound. Finally A&M approved the release of the album in its original form.