From Peter Gabriel to XTC to The Police, Hugh Padgham has always been the right man at the right place and time, helping many of the world’s most revered musicians find their own musical magic. With millions of album sales and several mantelpieces buckling under the weight of accolades, the studio legend has continually raised the bar of music production.
After his work with Phil Collins, Hugh found himself called up by Sting and the rest of The Police when the pop group were at their volatile zenith. Hugh remembers their final record Synchronicity as a personal triumph though it was difficult to make at times with all their fighting.
Synchronicity, the final record from The Police, was one of the band’s greatest moments, and was conceived when they were riding high critically and commercially. Hugh was at the helm in the studio and had a unique insight into the growing tensions between the three members.
The results of these sessions were staggering considering the circumstances. The album topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic for weeks on end and was nominated for five Grammys, winning three. “I can’t say it wasn’t stressful,” admits Hugh. “But then making records in any circumstances can be challenging. You can be making a record very harmoniously and suddenly the singer gets flu and can’t sing. You’re meant to be finishing the vocals that week because he’s going off on tour while you mix the record. There were often things out of your control that would make it stressful. You have to do what it takes to overcome them and get the record finished.”
Synchronicity reached number one on both the UK Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200, and sold over eight million copies in the US. The album was widely acclaimed by critics. Praise centered on its cohesive merging of disparate genres and sonic experimentation.
Rolling Stone described “each cut on Synchronicity [as] not simply a song but a miniature, discrete soundtrack”. It has since been included in the magazine’s lists of the “100 Best Albums of the Eighties” and the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”. In 2009, Synchronicity was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Watch the video below to learn more about Hugh’s work with The Police and more iconic bands!