Andy Summers

Andrew James Somers (born 31 December 1942), known professionally as Andy Summers, is an English guitarist who was a member of the rock band the Police. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the band in 2003.[1] Summers has recorded solo albums, collaborated with other musicians, composed film scores, and exhibited his photography in galleries.

Andy Summers
Summers in 2015
Background information
Birth nameAndrew James Somers
Born (1942-12-31) 31 December 1942
Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire, England
GenresRock, jazz, jazz fusion, new wave, new-age, avant-garde
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, photographer
Years active1959–present
LabelsA&M, Private Music, RCA Victor
Associated actsZoot Money's Big Roll Band, Dantalian's Chariot, Soft Machine, the Police, Robert Fripp, Circa Zero, Gustavo Cerati, The Animals

Early life

Andrew James Summers was born in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire.[2] During Summers' childhood, his family moved to Bournemouth, then in Hampshire, England. After several years of piano lessons, he took up the guitar.[3] At an early age he played jazz guitar. In his teens he saw a concert by Thelonious Monk and Dizzy Gillespie in London that left a lasting impression.[4] By sixteen he was playing in local clubs and by nineteen he had moved to London with his friend Zoot Money to form Zoot Money's Big Roll Band.[3]

Musical career

Pre-Police career

Summers' professional career began in the mid-1960s in London as guitarist for the British rhythm and blues band Zoot Money's Big Roll Band, which eventually came under the influence of the psychedelic scene and evolved into the acid rock group Dantalian's Chariot.[5] In September 1966, Summers was the first guitarist encountered by Jimi Hendrix after landing in the UK.[6] The young Summers is portrayed in fiction as one of the "two main love interests" in Jenny Fabian and Johnny Byrne's 1969 book Groupie, in which he is given the pseudonym "Davey".[7]

After the demise of Dantalion's Chariot, Summers joined Soft Machine for three months and toured the United States. For a brief time in 1968, he was a member of the Animals, then known as Eric Burdon and the Animals, with whom he recorded one album, Love Is. The album features a recording of Traffic's "Coloured Rain", which includes a 4 minute and 15 second guitar solo by Summers. The LP also included a reworked version of Dantalion's Chariot's sole single "Madman Running Through the Fields".

After five years in Los Angeles, mostly spent studying classical guitar and composition at California State University, Northridge, he returned to London with his American girlfriend Kate Lunken.

In London, Summers recorded and toured with acts including Kevin Coyne, Jon Lord, Joan Armatrading, David Essex, Neil Sedaka and Kevin Ayers. In October 1975 he participated in an orchestral rendition of Mike Oldfield's seminal "Tubular Bells".

In 1977, Summers was invited by ex-Gong bassist Mike Howlett to join his band Strontium 90, but was soon coaxed away by future Police bandmates Sting and Stewart Copeland.

The Police

Summers achieved international fame as the guitarist for the Police, which he joined in 1977, eventually replacing original guitarist Henry Padovani. Emerging from London's punk scene, the Police gained international renown with many hit songs, including "Message in a Bottle", "Roxanne", "Don't Stand So Close to Me", "Every Breath You Take", and "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic". During his time with the band, Summers twice won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance, first in 1979 for "Reggatta de Blanc" (written with Copeland and Sting) and in 1980 for "Behind My Camel".

Although Sting was the lead singer of the band, Summers occasionally contributed lead vocals, as in "Be My Girl/Sally" (1978), "Friends" (1980), "Mother" (1983), and "Someone to Talk To" (1983). Other notable Summers compositions from this period are "Omegaman" (which would have been released as the debut single from the 1981 Ghost in the Machine album had Sting not objected), "Shambelle" (1981), "Once Upon a Daydream", and "Murder by Numbers" both co-written with Sting (both 1983). In early 1984, after seven years together and record sales around eighty million, the Police disbanded.[8]

Though not given songwriting credit, Summers wrote the guitar riff for "Every Breath You Take". It was recorded in one take with his 1961 Fender Stratocaster during the Synchronicity sessions. The song was number one for eight weeks. Sting won the 1983 Grammy Award for Song of the Year, and the Police won Best Pop Performance by a Duo Or Group With Vocal for this song. Summers provides an account of the session in his memoir, One Train Later.[9]


Summers' solo career has included recording, touring, composing for films (including 2010, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, The Wild Life and Weekend at Bernie's), and exhibiting his photography in art galleries around the world.

He recorded the duet albums I Advance Masked (1982) and Bewitched (1984) with guitarist Robert Fripp of King Crimson, as well as duet albums with Victor Biglione, John Etheridge, and Benjamin Verdery. His solo debut album, XYZ, was released in 1987 and is the only non-instrumental album in his catalogue. Although it included pop material, such as the single "Love is the Strangest Way", it failed to dent the charts. In 1987 Sting invited Summers to perform on his second album ...Nothing Like the Sun, a favour the singer returned by playing bass on Charming Snakes (1990) and later contributing vocals to "'Round Midnight" on Summers' tribute album to Thelonious Monk, Green Chimneys, in 1999. In the mid-1990s Summers briefly returned to a more rock-oriented sound with Synesthesia (1995) and The Last Dance of Mr X (1997) before recording a string of jazz albums.

The Police reunion

During the 2007 Grammys Award show, the Police appeared, playing "Roxanne" and subsequently announcing that they would be going on tour. The Police Reunion Tour began in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on 28 May 2007, and continued until August 2008, becoming the third highest-grossing tour of all time.[10]

Circa Zero

In August 2013, Summers announced he had formed a new band, Circa Zero, with Rob Giles from the Rescues.[11] Originally, drummer Emmanuelle Caplette was also a member of the band.[12] Their debut show was 25 July 2013 at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles.[13] The band's debut album, Circus Hero, was released 25 March 2014.[14] It is titled after a malapropism of the band's name made by a radio disc jockey during an interview of Summers.[15][16] The first single, "Levitation," was released to US adult album alternative radio on 3 March 2014;[17] and reached number 36 on the Japan Hot 100 chart.[18]

Call the Police

In March 2017, Summers announced he had formed Call the Police, a Police tribute band, with two Brazilian musicians, Rodrigo Santos (Barão Vermelho aka Red Baron) on bass guitar and vocals and Joao Barone (Os Paralamas do Sucesso) on drums.

Material loss

On 25 June 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Andy Summers among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.[19]

Personal life

Summers was married to his first wife, Robin Lane, in 1968. They divorced two years later in 1970. He married his second wife, Kate Lunken, in 1973 and they had one daughter in 1978, Layla Zoe Summers. They divorced in 1981 although they would then remarry in 1985. In 1987, Kate and Andy's twin sons Maurice X and Anton Y were born.

Awards and honours

  • Grammy Award, Best Rock Instrumental, "Reggatta de Blanc", 1979
  • Grammy Award, Best Rock Instrumental, "Behind My Camel", 1980
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction with the Police, 2003[20]
  • Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, with the Police, 2007[21]
  • Honorary doctorate, Bournemouth University, 2008[22]
  • Hall of Fame, Guitar Player magazine[9]
  • Vote number one pop guitarist, five years, Guitar Player magazine[9]
  • Guiding Light Award, Progressive Music Awards, 2016[23]
  • 85th guitarist of all time, Rolling Stone magazine[24]
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Gibson Guitar Awards, 2000[25]
  • Lifetime Achievement Award, Roland and BOSS, 2017[26]
  • His autobiography One Train Later (2006) was voted music book of the year by Mojo and was turned into the 2012 documentary Can't Stand Losing You: Surviving The Police.[27] The documentary was released on DVD in July 2015.[28]


The Police years




The above is a list of equipment used by Summers from the 1980s. Since that time he has built a collection of 200+ guitars and uses a wide variety of amplifiers and electronic equipment.


His photography has been on display at art galleries around the world, such as

  • Leica Gallery, Los Angeles (2013)
  • Paris LA Independent Photo Show (2014)
  • photokina, Cologne (2014)
  • Shanghai Kunst-Licht Gallery2014 C-C-C Gallery, Beijing (2014)
  • Leica Gallery, Sao Paulo (2015)
  • Etherton Gallery, Tucson, Arizona (2015)


Solo albums

  • XYZ (MCA, 1987)
  • Mysterious Barricades (Private Music, 1988)
  • The Golden Wire (Private, 1989)
  • Charming Snakes (Private, 1990)
  • World Gone Strange (Private, 1991)
  • Synaesthesia (CMP, 1995)
  • The Last Dance of Mr. X (BMG/RCA Victor, 1997)
  • Green Chimneys: The Music of Thelonious Monk (BMG Classics/RCA Victor, 1999)
  • Peggy's Blue Skylight (BMG Classics/RCA Victor, 2000)
  • Earth + Sky (Golden Wire, 2003)
  • Metal Dog (Flickering Shadow, 2015)
  • Triboluminescence (Flickering Shadow, 2017)


Film soundtracks


  • "Parade"/"Train" with Robert Fripp (1984)
  • "2010"/"To Hal and Back" (1984)
  • "Love is the Strangest Way"/"Nowhere" (1987)

As band member

With The Police

With Eric Burdon and the Animals

With Kevin Ayers

  • First Show in the Appearance Business (1996)
  • Too Old to Die Young (1998)
  • Yes We Have No Mananas, So Get Your Mananas Today (EMI/Harvest, 2009)

With Kevin Coyne

  • Matching Head and Feet (Virgin, 1975)
  • Heartburn (Virgin, 1976)
  • In Living Black and White (Virgin, 1976)
  • Sign of the Times (Virgin, 1994)
  • On Air (Tradition & Moderne, 2008)

With Dantalian's Chariot

  • Chariot Rising (Wooden Hill, 1996)

With Eberhard Schoener

  • The Book (Ariola 1977)
  • Trance-Formation (Harvest/EMI Electrola 1977)
  • Video-Flashback (Harvest, 1979)
  • Video Magic (Harvest, 1978)

With Strontium 90

  • Police Academy (Pangaea, 1997)

With Zoot Money's Big Roll Band

  • It Should Have Been Me (1965)
  • Zoot! (Columbia, 1966)
  • Transition (1968)
  • Were You There? (Indigo, 1999)
  • Fully Clothed & Naked (Indigo, 2000)

As guest



  1. Savage, Mark (30 January 2007). "The arresting case of The Police". BBC News. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  2. Welch, Chris. The Complete Guide to the Music of The Police and Sting. London: Omnibus Press. p. xii. ISBN 978-0-7119-5302-4. Andy Summers was born Andrew James Summers on December 31, 1942, in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire
  3. Huey, Steve. "Andy Summers". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  4. Maxwell, Jackson (26 October 2018). "Andy Summers Talks Echoplex Pedals, Recording with the Police and Jamming with Jimi Hendrix". guitarworld. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  5. Bennett, Graham (2005). Soft machine. London: SAF. p. 141. ISBN 978-0-946719-84-6.
  6. Hepworth, David (2017). Uncommon People: The Rise and Fall of the Rock Stars. London: Bantam Press/Transworld. p. 101. ISBN 978-0-593-07762-7.
  7. Wilkinson, Roy (July 1997). ""All I ever got asked was, Which band is which, did you really do it, can I have a blow-job?"". Select: 115.
  8. Welch, Chris (1996). The complete guide to the music of The Police and Sting. London: Omnibus Press. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-7119-5302-4.
  9. Summers, Andy (2007). One Train Later: A Memoir. Macmillan. ISBN 978-1429909297. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
  10. Leeds, Jeff (30 January 2007). "The Police Will Kick Off the Grammys". The New York Times.
  11. Baltin, Steve (13 August 2013). "The Police's Andy Summers Goes Back to Basics With Circa Zero". Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  12. Ragogna, Mike (26 March 2014). "Silver Rails and Circus Hero: Conversations With Jack Bruce and Andy Summers". Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  13. "CIRCA ZERO DEBUT SHOW EL REY THEATRE LOS ANGELES". 25 June 2013. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  14. "Circa Zero's Circus Hero March 25, 2014 Release Date". 7 February 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  15. Ragogna, Mike (26 March 2014). "Silver Rails and Circus Hero: Conversations With Jack Bruce and Andy Summers". Retrieved 1 May 2014. I was on this early morning radio station and the guy said, "Yeah, here he is with the new record from Circus Hero!" and I went, "Oh, god. It's Circa. Zero." But anyway I told Rob and he said, "Yeah, we should call the album that." Just to be a little bit weird. I thought about the early Police albums where we had all these weird titles that kind of got people's attention. Might as well have fun with it.
  16. Summers, Andy and Kerr, Jim (12 November 2012). Andy Summers Interview Promo Movie & Circa Zero. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  17. "Future Releases on Triple A (AAA) Radio Stations". All Access Music Group. Archived from the original on 27 February 2014.
  18. "allmusic ((( Circa Zero > Awards > Japan Hot 100 Singles )))". Billboard. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  19. Rosen, Jody (25 June 2019). "Here Are Hundreds More Artists Whose Tapes Were Destroyed in the UMG Fire". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  20. "The Police: inducted in 2003 | The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum". Retrieved 7 December 2011.
  21. "Cérémonie de remise des insignes de Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres à Sting, Stewart Copeland, Andy Summers, du groupe The Police". 1 October 2007. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  22. "2008 Graduates – Graduation Ceremony – Bournemouth University". Retrieved 7 December 2011.
  23. Beaudin, Jon (2 September 2016). "Jon Anderson & Andy Summers Big Winners at Prog Magazine's Progressive Music Awards - Smooth Jazz Now". Smooth Jazz Now. Archived from the original on 8 January 2017. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  24. Browne, Davis; Doyle, Patrick; Fricke, Davis (23 November 2011). "100 Greatest Guitarists". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
  25. Basham, David (23 February 2000). "Andy Summers, Jeff Beck, Sheryl Crow Win Guitar Awards". MTV News. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  26. "Roland and BOSS Present Lifetime Achievement Awards to Andy Summers and Jean-Michel Jarre". 17 February 2017. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  27. Frank W. Hoffmann, Howard Ferstle (2005). Encyclopedia of recorded sound. New York, NY: Routledge. p. 845. ISBN 978-0-415-93835-8.
  28. "2015 Theatrical Movies". Retrieved 29 June 2015.
  29. fendermusical (15 April 2008). "Andy Summers Tribute Telecaster guitar demonstration video". Retrieved 7 December 2011.
  30. "The Unofficial Andy Summers Website". Retrieved 7 December 2011.
  31. Guitar, Vintage (30 May 2002). "The History of Hamer, Part One". Vintage Guitar® magazine. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  32. "Andy Summers Discography". Retrieved 9 August 2016.
  33. Summers, Andy (1983). Throb. William Morrow. ISBN 0-688-02339-8.
  34. Summers, Andy (2004). Light Strings. Chronicle Books. ISBN 978-0-8118-4324-9.
  35. Summers, Andy (2007). One Train Later: A Memoir. Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-312-37481-5.
  36. Summers, Andy (2007). I'll Be Watching You: Inside the Police 1980–83. Taschen America LLC. ISBN 978-3-8228-2764-2.
  37. Summers, Andy (2009). Throb. Nazraeli. ISBN 978-1-59005-256-3.
  38. Summers, Andy (2018). The Bones of Chuang Tzu. Steidl. ISBN 978-3-95829-403-5.
  39. Summers, Andy (2019). A Certain Strangeness. University of Texas Press. ISBN 978-1-47731-890-4.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.