In Sting and The Police: Walking in Their Footsteps, Aaron J. West explores the cultural and musical impact of Stewart Copeland, Andy Summers, and Sting. West details the distinctive hybrid character of The Police’s musical output, which would also characterize Sting’s post-Police development as a musician.
Historian and musician West's book is an excellent look at how the Police accomplished success by synthesizing disparate influences into "marketable, mainstream music, which has remained viable for generations." The band combined Stewart Copeland's reggae-influenced drumming, Andy Summer's progressive rock style rhythm guitar, and the punk-inspired bass and literary pretensions of primary songwriter Sting. West's musical biography consists of a series of essays that examine Sting and the Police within larger cultural and musical contexts, from early songs such as "Bring on the Night" ("a colorful mosaic of musical styles like dub, classical guitar, ska, and even psychedelic rock") to Sting's later solo work. West is especially good at examining how the band used the nascent MTV to define themselves through videos filmed at exotic locations around the world: "The image of the Police as international travelers certainly reinforced their equally multicultural music." He also insightfully analyses how Sting's musical mission to have a global appeal dovetailed perfectly with various activist movements, observing that "the cultural gravitas of Band Aid set the stage for his more mature persona."