Sunday 19 July 2020

#146 THE POLICE - Hatfield Polytechnic 1979 (Flac)

From the presentation notes of BBC Transcription Services

No. 196 In Concert featuring Police

"The Police once described as a 'potent force', are now among the best of the newer bands to hit the headlines in Britain in 1979. They have already made a big impact in America with their first album, 'Outlandos d'Amour', and a top forty single entitled 'Roxanne'.

The trio formed in London during 1977, by expatriate American drummer Stewart Copeland, who had already played with one successful band, Curved Air. Front-man and fretless bassist Sting was playing part-time in a jazz combo in Newcastle in the north of England, while working full-time as a teacher, and guitarist Andy Summers was persuaded to leave the lunatic world of Kevin Coyne and Kevin Ayers to 'go straight' and bring his ex-music college background and rock guitar experience to the band.

The Police first went on the road, around the club circuit at the height of the Punk rock movement in Britain, so it was inevitable that they were labelled 'New Wave'. In fact, they play main-stream rock with an occasional touch of reggae - "because Sting likes it".

Sting is the centre-piece of a Police set; aside from writing all the songs, he performs them with a stage presence of a seasoned campaigner, dominating the stage in a manner reminiscent of Daltry or Plant.

This is In Concert recorded before a student audience at Hatfield Polytechnic and includes songs from their debut album, their debut single and forthcoming single release 'Message in a Bottle' being performed for the first time."

The Police
Hatfield Polytechnic, Hertfordshire, England.
21 February 1979

BBC Rock Hour
Pre- FM source

01. Can't Stand Losing You (5:23)
02. So Lonely (6:07)
03. Fall Out (2:45)
04. Hole In My Life (4:13)
05. Truth Hits Everybody (2:34)
06. Message In A Bottle (4:28)
07. Peanuts (3:49)
08. Roxanne (7:05)
09. Next To You (3:19)
10. Can't Stand Losing You (reprise) (6:46)

Lineage: Original mint- Radio Station BBC Vinyl > REGA Planar2 turntable, SME series III arm, Grado m-2 stylus > StAudio 24/96 card >Wavelab (No processing) >.shn

Live radio broadcast in audiophile quality. This is a really tight and focused performance. The Hatfield Polytechnic show has been booted often and appeared as an early vinyl boot titled 'Vinyl Villians' by the bootleggers, who I assume meant the title to be 'Vinyl Villains'

Rock Goes to College (RGTC) was a BBC series that ran between 1978 and 1981 on British television. A variety of up-coming rock oriented bands were showcased live from small venues and broadcast simultaneously on television and radio during a 40-50 minute live performance.

The original broadcasts were transmitted on television as well as Sight and Sound in Concert; a BBC initiative to provide simultaneous pictures on BBC2 and stereo radio broadcasts on BBC Radio 1, as stereo television broadcasts and receivers did not exist at the time. It allowed rock enthusiasts to enjoy the event with an improved sound quality.

This Hatfield, Polytechnic show on February 21st 1979, was first broadcast on BBC2's "Rock Goes to College" on April 6, 1979 (11.40pm). There was no simultaneous FM broadcast for this show.



  1. I have the Police “Vinyl Villains” bootleg LP, and it claims to be recorded at the Whisky in L.A. So, which is it, L.A. or Hatfield?

    1. It's Hatfield, the BBC recording.

  2. Remember the time period here. This is 4 months after starting their first US tour where they played to empty gigs....21.2.1979. The Hatfield Polytechnic "Rock Goes to College" gig. The band and A&M knew of how important this gig was to the band. This was going out across the BBC. So much so they saved "Message in a Bottle" to play for the very first time at this gig. A&M were so impressed by the recording they memorialized it with it being their 1st LIVE performance to be commercially released on the unique star shaped disc. With the A side being the studio version. This night gets better......Andy Summers would use his '61 Fender Telecaster for the very first time to a live audience with it's all brass 6 point flat bridge. That simple change, that brass bridge changed everything that followed. Making Outlandos THE only album to be recorded with it's original Fender chrome bridge') Notice how tight and PERFECT they are. They knew they had to be, and again IMHO they NAILED it!

    1. Thanks for your very informative comment, Echoes.
      Nail it - they certainly did. (thebasement67)

  3. I was at this gig, they were pretty impressive 'gigging' band. Hatfield overall, was a pretty shabby place, I was staying at the 'awesomely' squalid student digs (a concrete monstrosity) next to the A1. Interested to see the comment about the '61 tele. When (in 1972), I purchased my first electric guitar, there was a '61 tele, for sale, in the rack of guitars. But it cost £50 and I only had £45! So I had too settle for a cheap CSL Les Paul copy. The CSL is now worth zilch, the '61 tele is worth just a bit more :)

  4. This live performance was officially released on CD in the form of "Classic In Concert - 4" (BBC Transcription - TCDC 0004) =>

    1. The BBC transcription Vinyl LP & CDs are made for broadcasting purposes, not just for the BBC but throughout the world. They were not sold to the general public and were used for promotional purposes. I don't class them as official releases because they were not made available to the general public. This may not align strictly with the meaning of a bootleg but for me it's a fluid term.