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Strange Things Happen: A Life with The Police, Polo and Pygmies [Hardcover]

Stewart Copeland
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Oct 2009

A remarkable memoir from the legendary drummer with The Police.

Stewart Copeland is a genuine rock legend. As the drummer with The Police he was part of the biggest rock band in the world. They sold over 50 million records, won 2 Brits and 5 Grammys and were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. When they reformed in 2007 they played to nearly 4 million fans on a record-breaking world tour which grossed over $400m.

But his time with The Police is just a tiny part of his story.

Growing up in Lebanon, unaware that his dad was a major US spy. Being best friends with Kim Philby’s son. Singing in the choir in Wells Cathedral. Performing arts college in San Diego. Drumming with prog-rock gods Curved Air. Appearing on TOTP as Klark Kent in full camoflage make-up. Spray painting The Police logos around London at night. Rock stardom and fan obsessions. Filming experimental movies with a pygmy tribe. Playing polo against Prince Charles. Recording the score to Rumblefish with Francis Ford Coppola looking on. Composing operas. Reforming the band. Arguing with Sting. Embarking on one of the biggest tours of all time as he approaches sixty.

These are just a few of the episodes covered in this revelatory autobiography. It is destined to be a must-read for thousands of Police fans and music enthusiasts.

Strange Things Happen is an unforgettable memoir from a musician who has earned his place in rock history.



Product details

  • Hardcover: 329 pages
  • Publisher: The Friday Project; 1st edition (1 Oct 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007339399
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007339396
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 465,720 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Stewart Copeland was a founder member of The Police, one of the most successful rock bands of all time. Before The Police he enjoyed chart success as the mysterious masked pop star Klark Kent. Since the band broke up in the early 80s he has enjoyed a successful career as a composer, working on operas, ballets and film music - most notably the score to Rumblefish. In 2007, The Police reformed and staged the biggest grossing tour in recent years.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars set the table 4 Oct 2009
Format:Hardcover
If you were a massive fan of the police as i was then you may be thinking whats the point in buying this book , heard it all before in music papers ,police story books, heard the interviews on radio ,seen every documentary on tv . many years down the line after the band folded we had sting with his moving autobigraphy broken music , andy summers took us on a magical journey with his one train later and now its stewarts turn with strange things happen .

Some might say do we need yet another account of the police story , they gave us great music , they are all brilliant talented musicians and also in my opinion great wordsmiths , after reading all three autobiographies its easy to understand how they they managed to create one of the best bands in the history of music .

stewarts book is no exception in the first two pages he manages to ecapsulate his life story in the first chapter ''letter to a friend '' a true master stoke , but then he moves on to provide the reader with truely amazing , rivetting stories of his journey through life so far which makes for a cracking read , i particularly like the opening chapters when one morning after retiring from the police stewart looks in his wardrobe and wonders just what the hell does he wear now .

laced with great stories , rich in vocabulary from an articulate , acute observer , a feast of a book , enjoyed it immensely .
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By Annabel Gaskell VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
The emphasis is on fun in this memoir - for Copeland is a hyperactive sort, workaholic but easily bored, loving a challenge, never playing anything quite the same way twice, liking to be boss, and he's also much more than a mere drummer.

Jumping about in time with flashes back and forward, the book opens with pages about his childhood in Beirut, where he played with Harry Philby - yes, son of that Philby, and where his Dad was big in the CIA, through moving to boarding school in England, learning the drums and then in 1975 joining his first professional band Curved Air where he must have broken many a boy's heart by marrying the elfinly beautiful lead singer Sonja Kristina. Then - The Police - the band that made him world famous. Copeland deals with their initial years in just ten pages. It's clear that our mission, should we choose to accept it, is really to read about what Stewart did next ...

The next big chunk of the book takes us up to 2007, and there's a lot to tell. Playing polo against Prince Charles, making a film in Africa, playing with many other bands, and developing a love for the pizzica music of Salento in Southern Italy, meeting his second wife Fiona, and having a ball being a judge on the BBC celebrity duet show 'It takes two' ... all great fun. Then, there's the main day job as a composer. Copeland studied composition at college, and post Police, he composed an opera - not a rock one, a proper, grand one - with a plot based on the crusades; it was staged in Cleveland to a largely enthusiastic response. Following this is a long career, in between all these adventures, as a film and TV composer, having composed scores for many movies and lots of TV work, notably starting with Coppola's Rumblefish.

Then it all comes round again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars mmm....not sure about this one 5 Sep 2011
By Joe
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am still halfway through this and to be honest it's a bit of a weird one.
clearly the guy is a genius, and he had an interesting life, but the problem is that this book is difficult to read.
each chapter is quite disconnected from the previous and this makes you feel like you are just told small episodes rather than a nice entertaining story.
I read a lot of rock bios, and I wouldn't put this in my top 5, not even top 10.
An example of an excellent one is Andy Summer's one, fellow Police member: it sits on a different league altogether.

anyway, a good read (at times), not SO focused on music and the Police but hey...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars really dull 2 Feb 2011
Format:Hardcover
I too got this book based on my love of the police and stewart Copelands drumming. Basically if your looking for a unique insight into the Police then don't by this book as he barely touches on his time in one the biggest bands in the world, this is mainly because he wants us to know that there are lots of other things in his life, he talks for ages about Polo for instance. If you want an insight into the Police then forget this book and get the "Everybody Stares" doco out on dvd.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Was this the same Stewart Copeland?? 21 Sep 2010
Format:Hardcover
The claim on the cover of this book that it is " .... a life with The Police" is seriously misleading. There is almost nothing in the book about the time that, as an excellent drummer, Stewart Copeland spent with the Police between 1978 (Outlandos d'Amour) and 1983 (Synchronicity) - the period summarised on page 306 of the paperback edition. There is some bitter material about the period from 2000 by when Mr Copeland and Sting had ceased to be on good terms, for those that like those kind of accounts. Very sad!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Boring stuff 28 Jun 2010
By saloon
Format:Hardcover
Love the Police, Love Stewart Copelands Drumming, as a drummer myself thought id give this book a go. Extremely boring book, mainly due to the constant repetition of how great he is. Early large stages of book are based on how he takes up POLO, Am i reading the right book?? We are constantly reminded of how he relaxes after a gig by taking a shower. Very little insight into police, except that he has a major chip on his shoulder with Sting. I Have read many music biographys over the years and have usually ended finding some redeming features of the artist, sorry to say none in this one.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars As a massive Police fan this was an excellent read. It covered much...
As a massive Police fan this was an excellent read. It covered much more than the years with Sting and Andy Summers. He's a talented guy.
Published 1 month ago by gordon macleod
4.0 out of 5 stars Nearly brilliant...
All credit to SC who appears to have written this without assistance. Interesting stories about The Police on tour and their relationship with each other. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Chazz
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected . .
Although I enjoyed the second half of this book it wasn't quite what I hoped it would be.
If you are looking for Copeland's thoughts on the story of The Police don't buy this... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Jonny84
2.0 out of 5 stars Not what you expect
He writes well, but you read these biographies for inside stories on the band, and the Police period is just skimmed over. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Dara Monahan
5.0 out of 5 stars Stewart Copeland's fans, you don't want to miss this!
I have enjoyed this book so much, it is great to have the artist's point of view and knowing some personal experiences.
Published 15 months ago by Laura_Young
5.0 out of 5 stars A drummers must have
Totally hooked on the book from cover to cover , what a facinating life he has had - he writes with such humour. from a drummers perspective it is very intreaging
Published 17 months ago by Rich
3.0 out of 5 stars Not an easy read with words not found in everyday literature.
Having read the other two band members books, I was really hoping that 'the mighty bold' Stewart would have been as entertaining as Andy was in his book, unfortunately this was... Read more
Published 19 months ago by jonni
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Price
A good product that comes with a good price (as this book was published 2011). A great buy for any fan of The Police as there are a few chapters regarding his years in the group. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Brams71
3.0 out of 5 stars OK read
Bought for my husband who is a Police fan. He quite liked the book but preferred, Andy Summers biography. (his words -not a very exciting review really is it !)
Published on 8 Aug 2011 by Esdale21
5.0 out of 5 stars Drumming away!
After reading both Sting and Andy's autobiographies I just had to complete the collection by reading Stewarts too! Read more
Published on 18 Jun 2011 by Matt182
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