Ghost in the Machine

From Academic Kids

For other uses, please see Ghost in the Machine (disambiguation)

Ghost in the Machine
Album cover
Album by The Police
Released October 1981
Recorded ???
Genre New Wave
Length 41 min 8 sec
Label A&M
Producers The Police,
Hugh Padgham
Professional reviews
AMG 3.5/5 link (
The Police Chronology
Zenyatta Mondatta
Ghost in the Machine

Ghost in the Machine is the fourth album by The Police, released in 1981 (see 1981 in music). Much of the material in this album was inspired by Arthur Koestler's The Ghost in the Machine, which also donated the title. The cover art for Ghost in the Machine features an LED graphic that depicts the heads of the three band members each with a distinctive hair style (from left to right, Andy Summers, Sting with spiky hair, and Stewart Copeland with a bang).

The album was the first Police record to feature heavy use of keyboards and saxophones. "Spirits in the Material World" used a synthesizer to mask the song's reggae influence, and the middle twenty minutes of the record ("Hungry for You" through "One World") has a great deal of brass. As Andy Summers recollects:

"I have to say I was getting disappointed with the musical direction around the time of Ghost in the Machine. With the horns and synth coming in, the fantastic raw-trio feel--all the really creative and dynamic stuff--was being lost. We were ending up backing a singer doing his pop songs."

The LP opens with "Spirits in the Material World", a dark pop song with keyboards dubbed over Summers' original guitar line. Following that is "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic", which features piano and a strong Caribbean vibe. "Invisible Sun" refers to troubles in Northern Ireland, and "Hungry For You (J'Aurais Toujours Faim de Toil)" is sung mostly in French. "Demolition Man" is one of the band's longest songs, at almost six minutes in length, and is very jazzy with a strong bass line and saxophone. "Too Much Information", "Rehumanize Yourself", and "One World (Not Three)" all concern various political themes. The final three songs return to the darker sound which opens the album: "Omegaman" features lyrics dealing with personal pressure and features an interesting guitar riff by its writer, Andy Summers, "Secret Journey" is a moody song about inner strength and enlightenment, and "Darkness", the album's Stewart Copeland-penned closer, is a ballad about the pressures of being a rock star.

"Invisible Sun", released as a single before the album, was a large success in the U.K., making it to #2 even though the video was reportedly banned by the BBC for its references to Northern Ireland. Later, "Every Little Thing She Does" made it to #3 in the U.S. and #1 in Britain, and "Spirits in the Material World" made it to the U.S. Top 20.

Arthur Koestler's reaction to the album is said to have been muted. He knew little about the burgeoning New Wave scene, and is alleged to have said:

"Look at this. Did you ever see a magazine called the New Musical Express? It turns out there is a pop group called The Police - I don't know why they are called that, presumably to distinguish them from the punks - and they've made an album of my essay The Ghost in the Machine. I didn't know anything about it until my clipping agency sent me a review of the record."

In his younger days, the singer Sting was an avid reader of Koestler. Another of The Police's albums Synchronicity was also inspired by Koestler's The Roots of Coincidence, which mentions Carl Jung's theory of synchronicity.


Track listing

  1. "Spirits in the Material World" (Sting) - 2:59
  2. "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" (Sting) - 4:22
  3. "Invisible Sun" (Sting) - 3:44
  4. "Hungry for You (J'Aurais Toujours Faim de Toil)" (Sting) - 2:53
  5. "Demolition Man" (Sting) - 5:57
  6. "Too Much Information" (Sting) - 3:43
  7. "Rehumanize Yourself" (Copeland, Sting) - 3:10
  8. "One World (Not Three)" (Sting) - 4:47
  9. "Omegaman" (Summers) - 2:48
  10. "Secret Journey" (Sting) - 3:34
  11. "Darkness" (Copeland) - 3:14


The Police

Additional personnel


  • Producers: The Police, Hugh Padgham
  • Mastering: Bob Ludwig
  • Art direction: Jeffrey Kent Ayeroff, Mick Haggerty
  • Design: Mick Haggerty
  • Artwork: Mick Haggerty


Album - Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1981 Pop Albums 2
1983 The Billboard 200 111
1983 The Billboard 200 118

Singles - Billboard (North America)

Year Single Chart Position
1981 "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" Mainstream Rock 1
1981 "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" Pop Singles 3
1981 "One World (Not Three)/Too Much Information/Every Little thing She Does Is M" Club Play Singles 60
1982 "Secret Journey" Mainstream Rock 29
1982 "Secret Journey" Pop Singles 46
1982 "Spirits In The Material World" Mainstream Rock 7
1982 "Spirits In The Material World" Pop Singles 11

hu:Ghost in the Machine

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