Three top songs emerging after punk rock
Let's not worry about the definitions too much though. Here’s my top three tracks from an amazingly long list of potential contenders. There was so much great new music around at that time to choose from.
“Roxanne” - The Police - 1978/79
Unusually set up as a trio, Stewart Copeland on drums, Sting on vocals and bass, with guitarist Andy Summers, made up The Police. Described at times as new wave, post punk or reggae pop they were another band crossing over the labels and categories. They of course went on to be huge across the world, but were just starting out back in April 1978 when “Roxanne” was released as a single. It preceded their debut album Outlandos d’Amour which came out later that same year.
As an opening single for the album and a debut release “Roxanne” was quite astonishing to listen to. Sting's vocals were superb and the song had that very distinctive rhythm and chopped guitar sound. In a clue to why The Police were different from the punk scene, there was an acceptance by Sting that his initial writing of the song in a bossa nova beat was bettered by Copeland adjusting it to be tango based instead. Added musicality indeed!
The single flopped initially in the UK though and was rescued by airplay for it on US radio stations, which led to a record deal there. When re-released in 1979 it reached number 12 in the UK and number 32 in the Billboard Hot 100 charts. “Roxanne” is still a regular play these days and was reissued as a Puff Daddy remix again in 1997.