Andy Summers

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Andy Summers
1982 AndySummers AdrianButtigieg.jpg
Andy Summers at Hamilton Arts Gallery in London in 1982 - copyright by Adrian Buttigieg
Basic information
Birth name: Andrew James Somers
Birth date: 1942-12-31
Origin: Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire, England
Occupation(s): Musician, songwriter, producer, photographer, author
Associated acts: The Police, Eric Burdon And The Animals, Kevin Ayers, John Etheridge, Robert Fripp
Official website:

Andy Summers, born Andrew James Somers on 1942-12-31 in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire, England, is known most widely for his work as the guitarist for The Police. His career as a musician has encompassed a wide variety of styles and musical genres including classical, jazz, new wave and rock, and he is also well-known for his photography work which has been featured in a number of books and exhibitions.


Andy Summers grew up in Bournemouth, Dorset, England. As a teenager, he began playing jazz guitar in local clubs. He left Summerbee Secondary School in 1959.

Andy worked in a music shop and performed with the Alan Kay Quintet and at the Majestic Hotel in Bournemouth - a job Robert Fripp took over when Andy moved to London.


Summers is primarily a self-taught guitarist, although he studied classical guitar at the California State University at Northridge for four years, up until 1973.

Early musical career

Summers early recording career began with his involvement as the guitarist in the 1960s for

and its later incarnation as the psychedlic rock act

In Can't Stand Losing You: Surviving The Police Andy mentions that he joined Zoot Money's Big Roll Band in 1965, but a press clipping in the same movie proves that he was definitely a member in early September 1964.

Both bands were popular acts on the London club scene but did not achieve more widespread success or attention. As Dantalian's Chariot was coming to an end, Summers briefly toured the USA with the jazz-fusion band

He later joined

For most of the mid-seventies, Summers did session work for numerous artists including

Joan Armatrading, Tim Rose, Jon Lord, and others. It was when brought in for a session with Mike Howlett's project Strontium 90 that he first worked with Sting and Stewart Copeland.

The Police

Main article: The Police

Summers initially became the fourth member of The Police, as a second guitarist to Henry Padovani. However, the quartet line-up did not last very long as the plan for the band was for it to be a trio, and Sting felt he could write more interesting material for the more technically-skilled Summers than Padovani. With the final line-up for the band settled upon, The Police continued on to international stardom and success. Summers' contribution to the band is often identified as his atmospheric depth of sound, utilizing numerous effects of modulation, delay, and his highly customized trademark Fender Telecaster. He contributed a number of songs to the Police catalog including the Grammy Award winning "Behind My Camel", "Mother", "Someone To Talk To", and "Omegaman", a track which Summers reveals in his autobiography One Train Later was the track which record company executives pushed to be the first single off Ghost In The Machine.

Solo music career

Summers' first solo project after The Police was 1987's XYZ. Continuing in the pop/rock tradition of his previous band, Summers tried to take on the role of band frontman, writing all material and taking on vocal duties as well. Many critics and fans alike, however, noted that the album suffered from the quality of Summers vocals and the use of drum machines in lieu of live percussion. Summers briefly toured South America in 1987 with Stewart Copeland's new project with Stanley Clarke and Deborah Holland, known at the time as Rush Hour but would then become Animal Logic. After the tour, however, Summers would decide to depart from the band, concerns being cited at having the act compared too closely to The Police and wanting to pursue his own interests instead.

Summers subsequent albums released on the Private Music label, beginning with 1988's Mysterious Barricades, would venture in an entirely different direction of predominantly intrumental, ambient tracks, featuring elements of jazz and world music and more similar in tone to his previous work with Robert Fripp.

1993's Invisible Threads, recorded on the Mesa label with John Etheridge, was a change of pace as a collection of accoustic guitar duets. In 1995 Summers would recorded the ambitious Synaesthesia album for CMP, which featured a wild blend of styles from jazz to surf rock, a harder-edged collection than had been heard from the guitarist in some time. 1997's The Last Dance Of Mr. X also features the work of bassist Tony Levin and drummer Gregg Bissonette. Recorded swiftly through one week of sessions in January of 1997, the album features new compositions as well as reinterpretations of older works.

Film and television work

In the post-Police years, Summers would also dabble in television and film work, both as a musician and as an actor. He would guest star in an episode of The Hitchhiker and have a bit part in the film Another You. He also made a cameo appearance in Stewart Copeland's Horse Opera, and served as band leader an composer for Dennis Miller's short-lived late night talk show. His soundtrack work would include the scores for the films Down And Out In Beverly Hills and Weekend At Bernie's.


Summers' photography was first published in the collection Throb, which featured numerous images of life on the road with The Police.


This section needs more information.

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, in 1973 and they had one daughter in 1978, Layla Zoe Summers. Summers' years with The Police would take its toll on their marraige, however, leading them to divorce in 1981 although they would then re-marry in 1985. In 1987, Kate and Andy's twin sons Maurice X and Anton Y were born. Summers currently resides in the Los Angeles area with his wife and family.


Main article: Discography (Andy Summers)

Studio albums


Main article: Bibliography (Andy Summers)

Awards, nominations and other notable achievements


See also

External links