Subscribe to our newsletter

(Credit: Acroterion)


Watch Stewart Copeland's percussion brigade in The Police song 'Wrapped Around Your Finger'


Stewart Copeland was always more than just a drummer. Whether he was adding synthesisers to flesh out the arrangements of The Police’s best songs or writing and recording his own material under the moniker Klark Kent, Copeland always had the ear of a true musician. 

Because of the limitations that came with the band’s live performances during their heyday, Copeland was almost exclusively confined to his drum kit during The Police’s shows in the 1970s and ‘80s. He made it work, expanding his set up to include numerous toms, octobans, synth pads and splash cymbals. The expansive assortment of percussion allowed The Police to integrate sounds beyond their punk roots, and Copeland led the charge as they explored world music, synth-pop, and anything else they felt compelled to try on.

When The Police reunited in 2007, Copeland finally had the ability to go as big as he wanted with his live setup. In fact, he had two completely different areas with which to perform: his traditional drum kit and an entire array of percussion instruments behind him. That set-up included timpani, glockenspiels, crotales, and multiple gongs, among a slew of other cymbals and drums. Copeland was a one-man orchestra, able to keep a rhythm and play a melody all at the same time.

The major showcase for this wild stage plot was during ‘Wrapped Around Your Finger’, the atmospheric cut from The Police’s final album Synchronicity. With the help of a few well-hidden digital samples, Copeland puts his entire backline to use throughout the song’s slow burn. Starting off with a gong swell, Copeland goes into his rack of cymbals punctuated with a few bass drum whacks before bringing in the hook melody on crotales. 

The dexterity and precision shown by Copeland just go to show his versatility as a musician. Each hit is premeditated and purposeful, and Copeland creates an entire arrangement all his own while his bandmates add colour to the moody piece. Despite hitting nearly everything in his arsenal, Copeland never appears chaotic and the song never feels cluttered. It’s all perfectly placed, and when he triumphantly returns to the drum kit to kick into the song’s driving finale, Copeland easily stakes his claim as one of the all-time greats.

Check out Copeland’s performance during ‘Wrapped Around Your Finger’ down below.