Zenyatta Mondatta

Zenyatta Mondatta
Studio album by
Released 3 October 1980
Recorded 7 July–7 August 1980
Studio Wisseloord Studios, Hilversum, Netherlands
Length 38:16
Label A&M

AMLH 64831
The Police chronology
Six Pack

Zenyatta Mondatta

Ghost in the Machine

Singles from Zenyatta Mondatta
  1. "Don't Stand So Close to Me"

    Released: 19 September 1980
  2. "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da"

    Released: 5 December 1980

Zenyatta Mondatta (stylised as Zenyattà Mondatta on the album cover artwork) is the third studio album by English rock band the Police, released in 1980. It was co-produced with Nigel Gray. It features the two hit singles: "Don't Stand So Close to Me" and "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da". It reached number one on the UK Albums Chart.[1]

The album won the Police two Grammy Awards including Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for "Don't Stand So Close to Me" and the Police's second consecutive win for Best Rock Instrumental Performance for "Behind My Camel".[2]

History [ edit ]

The album was written during the band's second tour and recorded in four weeks (minus several days for concerts in the UK – Milton Keynes festival – and Ireland). The band members have often expressed disappointment over it, going so far as to re-record two songs during a brief, unsuccessful reunion in 1986. Drummer Stewart Copeland said about the time pressures: "We had bitten off more than we could chew. ... we finished the album at 4 a.m. on the day we were starting our next world tour. We went to bed for a few hours and then traveled down to Belgium for the first gig. It was cutting it very fine."[3]

The band had wanted to record the album at Surrey Sound, the recording site of their first two albums, but could not record at any British studio for tax reasons.[3] They were, however, able to retain Nigel Gray as their co-producer, bringing him with them to Wisseloord Studios in the Netherlands. Feeling that he'd played a significant part in the Police's first two albums, Gray negotiated for a £25,000 fee, which brought the album's total budget to £35,000 (more than twice the combined budgets of their first two albums, but still exceptionally cheap for a band who were established stars).[4]

As mentioned by Copeland, the Police embarked on a tour of the world the day of the album's completion, beginning in Belgium and finishing in Australia.

The album is the last of the Police's early era, influenced by reggae and punk and featuring few musical elements on top of the core guitar, bass, and drums. The record has two instrumentals, "The Other Way of Stopping" (named from a line in Bob Newhart's "The Driving Instructor" routine) and the Grammy-winning "Behind My Camel". "Behind My Camel" was guitarist Andy Summers' first entirely self-penned composition. As Sting refused to play on it, Summers recorded the bass line himself, overdubbing the guitar parts. According to Sting, "I hated that song so much that, one day when I was in the studio, I found the tape lying on the table. So I took it around the back of the studio and actually buried it in the garden."[5] Nigel Gray believed that the title was an in-joke by Summers: "He didn't tell me this himself but I'm 98% sure the reason is this: what would you find behind a camel? A monumental pile of shit." The song went on to win the 1982 Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.[6] "Bombs Away" was recorded on a tape that Nigel Gray had just used with Siouxsie and the Banshees. Copeland said: "when he first set up his home studio he got hold of a load of second hand tape which included some stuff by Siouxsie and the Banshees. 'Bombs Away' was written on a Siouxsie and the Banshees backing track. I changed the speed and did things to the EQ to change the drum pattern. So with the desk I can get my song playing, then press a switch and there's Siouxsie singing away."[7]

Zenyatta Mondatta also saw the band's lyrics turning towards political events, with Sting's "Driven to Tears" commenting on poverty and Copeland's "Bombs Away" referring to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. These themes became more prevalent in the Police's next album, Ghost in the Machine.

Six years later the band re-recorded "Don't Stand So Close to Me" and "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da". The former was released on Every Breath You Take: The Singles, while the latter was released on the DTS version of Every Breath You Take: The Classics.

A&M Records first remastered the album for release in the United States in 1990, as CD #CD-3720.[8] Frank DeLuna and Marv Bornstein mastered the original 1980 vinyl LP, but it's unclear if they also remastered the compact disc.[9]

Title [ edit ]

Copeland said that the group arrived at the album's title after deciding it should roll off the tongue. Zenyatta Mondatta are invented portmanteau words, hinting at Zen, at Jomo Kenyatta, at the French word for the world ("le monde") and at Reggatta, from the previous album's name, Reggatta de Blanc. As Stewart Copeland explained:

"It means everything. It's the same explanation that applies to the last two. It doesn't have a specific meaning like 'Police Brutality' or 'Police Arrest', or anything predictable like that. Being vague it says a lot more. You can interpret it in a lot of different ways. It's not an attempt to be mysterious, just syllables that sound good together, like the sound of a melody that has no words at all has a meaning. Miles (Stewart Copeland's brother and group manager) came up with "Trimondo Blondomina". Very subtle. Geddit? Like three blondes and the world. Then somebody thought of "Caprido Von Renislam". That rolls off the tongue. It was the address of the studio."[10]

Jerry Moss, co-founder of A&M Records, named the champion racehorse Zenyatta (b. 2004) after this album.[11]

In the Blizzard video game Overwatch one of the playable characters is a robotic (Omnic) monk named Zenyatta, who formerly belonged to a tribe led by an omnic named Mondatta.[12]

In the English localization for the anime JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, two characters appear as brothers, known as Zenyatta and Mondatta. This is in contrast to the original release, where the brothers were named Oingo and Boingo, after the band of the same name.

Covers and remixes [ edit ]

  • "When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around" was remixed in 2000 and released as a single under the moniker "Different Gear vs. The Police". It reached number 28 in the UK Singles Chart,[1] but it does not feature on any of the Police albums.
  • Sting would later perform his own version of "Shadows in the Rain" on his debut solo album The Dream of the Blue Turtles.

Critical reception [ edit ]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars [13]
Chicago Tribune 3.5/4 stars [14]
Christgau's Record Guide B[15]
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars [16]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4.5/5 stars [17]
Smash Hits 8/10[18]
The Daily Vault A-[19]

Zenyatta Mondatta reached #1 in both Australia and the U.K.[1] In the U.S., the album spent almost three years on the charts and peaked at #5.[20]

In a contemporary review of the album, David Fricke of Rolling Stone favorably described its offering of "near-perfect pop by a band that bends all the rules and sometimes makes musical mountains out of molehill-size ideas" and complimented the band's "elastic" interplay.[21] It would later receive glowing reviews from re-assessments in Rolling Stone and Q, among others. Despite being the only Police album not to obtain a spot on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, it is also the only one of their albums to be rated five out of five stars by AllMusic.

Accolades [ edit ]

Grammy Awards
Year Winner Category
1981 "Behind My Camel" Best Rock Instrumental Performance
1981 "Don't Stand So Close to Me" Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal

Track listing [ edit ]

All tracks written by Sting, except where noted.

Side one[22][23]
No. Title Length
1. "Don't Stand So Close to Me" 4:04
2. "Driven to Tears" 3:20
3. "When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around" 3:38
4. "Canary in a Coalmine" 2:26
5. "Voices Inside My Head" 3:53
6. "Bombs Away" (writer: Stewart Copeland) 3:06
Side two
No. Title Length
7. "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da" 4:09
8. "Behind My Camel" (writer: Andy Summers) 2:54
9. "Man in a Suitcase" 2:19
10. "Shadows in the Rain" 5:04
11. "The Other Way of Stopping" (writer: Copeland) 3:22

Personnel [ edit ]

The Police

Production [ edit ]

  • Producers – The Police and Nigel Gray
  • Engineer – Nigel Gray
  • Mastered by Marv Bornstein and Frank DeLuna at A&M Studios (Hollywood, CA).
  • Front Cover Photos – Janette Beckman
  • Back Cover Photos – Watal Asanuma, Miles Copeland and Danny Quatrochi.
  • Inner Sleeve Photos – Watal Asanuma, Janette Beckman, Adrian Boot, Miles Copeland, Anton Corbijn, Danny Quatrochi, Michael Ross, Gabor Scott, Ahlkiro Takayama and Kim Turner.
  • Art Direction – Michael Ross
  • Design – Michael Ross and Simon Ryan
  • Producer – Bill Levinson
  • Coordinator – Margaret Goldfarb
  • Art Direction – Vartan
  • Design – Meire Murakami
  • Remastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering (Portland, ME).

Charts and certifications [ edit ]

Singles [ edit ]

Year Single Chart Peak position
1980 "Don't Stand So Close to Me" UK Singles Chart 1[34]
"De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da" UK Singles Chart 5[34]
Billboard Pop Singles 10 [43]
1981 "Don't Stand So Close to Me" Billboard Mainstream Rock tracks 11[35]
Billboard Pop Singles 10 [35]
"Driven to Tears" Billboard Mainstream Rock tracks 35 [35]
"Voices Inside My Head"/

"When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around"
Billboard Club Play Singles 3 [35]

Certifications [ edit ]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia 100,000+[44]
Canada (Music Canada)[45] Platinum 100,000^
France (SNEP)[47] Platinum 603,900[46]
Germany (BVMI)[48] Gold 250,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[49] Platinum 15,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[50] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[51] 2× Platinum 2,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

References [ edit ]

  1. ^ a b c "The Police Chart history". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 28 November 2014
  2. ^ "The Police > Discography".
  3. ^ a b Sutcliffe, Phil & Fielder, Hugh (1981). L'Historia Bandido. London and New York: Proteus Books. ISBN 0-906071-66-6. Page 77.
  4. ^ Sutcliffe, Phil & Fielder, Hugh (1981). L'Historia Bandido. London and New York: Proteus Books. ISBN 0-906071-66-6. Page 79.
  5. ^ Garbarini, Vic (Spring 2000). "I think if we came back ...", Revolver.
  6. ^ Campion, Chris, 'Walking on the Moon: The Untold Story of the Police and the Rise of New Wave Rock, Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley, 2009 ISBN 978-0-470-28240-3
  7. ^ Welch, Chris, "There's nobody between us and the Beatles now!", Musician's Only (October 1980)
  8. ^ Discogs Mondatta, All Versions.
  9. ^ CD back cover insert, A&M CD-3720 / DIDX 583
  10. ^ Interview with Stewart Copeland, Chris Welch, Musicians Only, October 1980.
  11. ^ DeRosa, Ed (February 8, 2011). "Driven To Tears suggested as name for Bernardini-Zenyatta foal" Archived June 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, Thoroughbred Times.
  12. ^ "Zenyatta - Heroes - Overwatch". Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  13. ^ Prato, Greg. "Zenyatta Mondatta – The Police". AllMusic. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  14. ^ Kot, Greg (7 March 1993). "Feeling A Sting". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  15. ^ Christgau, Robert (1990). "The Police: Zenyatta Mondatta". Christgau's Record Guide: The '80s. Pantheon Books. ISBN 0-679-73015-X. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  16. ^ "The Police: Zenyatta Mondatta". Rolling Stone. 22 January 1997. Archived from the original on 17 March 2007. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  17. ^ Considine, J. D. (2004). "The Police". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 644–45. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  18. ^ Hepworth, David (2–15 October 1980). "The Police: Zenyatta Mondatta". Smash Hits: 29.
  19. ^ Warburg, Jason (2019). "The Daily Vault Music Reviews : Zenyatta Mondatta". Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  20. ^ Whitburn, Joel. The Billboard Book of Top Pop Albums 1955–1985, Record Research Inc., 1985, p. 290, 493.
  21. ^ Fricke, David (25 December 1980). "Zenyatta Mondatta". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
  22. ^ The Police. Zenyatta Mondatta. A&M Records, 1980.
  23. ^ "Police, The - Zenyatta Mondatta (Vinyl, LP, Album)". Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  24. ^ a b c Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  25. ^ "The Police – Zenyatta Mondatta –"(ASP). Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  26. ^ "Top Albums/CDs – Volume 34, No. 7". RPM. 24 January 1981. Archived from the original on 7 June 2013. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
  27. ^ " The Police – Zenyatta Mondatta"(ASP). MegaCharts. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  28. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste". Archived from the original(PHP) on 30 March 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2014. Note: user must select 'the POLICE' from drop-down.
  29. ^ a b "Hit Parade Italia – Gli album più venduti del 1980" (in Italian). Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  30. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970–2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9.
  31. ^ " The Police – Zenyatta Mondatta"(ASP). Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  32. ^ " The Police – Zenyatta Mondatta"(ASP). Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  33. ^ " The Police – Zenyatta Mondatta"(ASP). Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  34. ^ a b c "The Police > Artists > Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Archived from the original on 26 October 2011. Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  35. ^ a b c d e "Allmusic: Zenyatta Mondatta: Chart & Awards". Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  36. ^ "Album Search: The Police – Zenyatta Mondatta"(ASP) (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
  37. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1980". RPM. 20 December 1980. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2 May 2010.
  38. ^ "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1980"(ASP) (in Dutch). Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  39. ^ "Les Albums (CD) de 1980 par InfoDisc" (in French). Archived from the original (PHP) on January 9, 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  40. ^ " UK Year-End Album Charts". Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  41. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1981". RPM. 26 December 1981. Retrieved 8 May 2011.
  42. ^ "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1981"(ASP) (in Dutch). Retrieved 1 May 2014.
  43. ^ The Police Billboard Charts History,
  44. ^ "Major fight economics with quirky rock originals". Billboard. 12 June 1982. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  45. ^ "Canadian album certifications – The Police – Zenyatta Mondatta". Music Canada.
  46. ^ "Les Albums Platine" (in French). Archived from the original on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2011.
  47. ^ "French album certifications – The Police – Zenyatta Mondatta" (in French). InfoDisc.Select THE POLICE and click OK. 
  48. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (The Police; 'Zenyatta Mondatta')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
  49. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – The Police – Zenyatta Mondatta". Recorded Music NZ.
  50. ^ "British album certifications – The Police – Zenyatta Mondatta". British Phonographic Industry.Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type Zenyatta Mondatta in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  51. ^ "American album certifications – The Police – Zenyatta Mondatta". Recording Industry Association of America.If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 
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