Rock T-Shirt Hall of Fame

Is The Police the Greatest Rock T-Shirt of All Time?

by Brendon Snyder

What exactly is The Ghost in the Machine for Sting & The Police fans? An album that was a change of direction for the band, a mammoth 100-stop world tour, a journey into philosophical psychology? It’s a bit of all of the above, some British cool from the 80’s and this contrast vintage-style raglan top – it’s in our Bestseller collection and the latest inductee to TheSocietees Rock T-Shirt Hall of Fame™. So why is this shirt in demand?


The Police Ghost In The Machine

The Police were one of the biggest bands around in the 1980’s, The Ghost in the Machine was their 4th studio album (released October 1981) and was a huge commercial success – rising to the top of the charts around the world. GITM featuring some of the band’s best known songs like Spirits In The Material World, Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, and Demolition Man. These hits helping to propel the album to triple platinum certification in the U.S. and it set up for a spectacular tour to follow.

Fun Fact:
The album was inspired by Arthur Koestler’s The Ghost in the Machine – a book about philosophical psychology. In his younger days Sting was an avid reader of Koestler and philosophy.

The Police Ghost In The Machine World Tour 1981-82

The same day the The Ghost in the Machine Album was released Sting & The Police embarked on a crazy 100 date world tour, starting in Germany and the finale in New Mexico. 68 of those 100 dates were in the US with the band performing no less than 6 songs from the album each night during the 100 date worldwide tour. Opening acts included The Go-Go’s, The Spoons, A Flock of Seagulls, and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, also featuring Bono in the UK legs of the Tour.

The Police Ghost In The Machine Album Artwork

Unable to decide on a band photo for the album cover like their previous 3 albums, they went with a digital graphic designed by Mick Haggerty that depicts the heads of each member with their distinctive hair style (once you see it you can’t unsee it). Simple, Futuristic, Epic – so good the album’s cover is ranked at number 45 on VH1’s “50 Greatest Album Covers“. The digital graphic gave it a very modern feel for the new era of the 80’s, tying in well with the graphics for the 1981-82 tour.


The Police Ghost In The Machine Tour Men’s Raglan Shirt

In difference to the album cover, this concert tee uses a band photo, resembling the actual concert merch from the UK leg of the tour. The digital graphic is used in the lettering to denote the 81/82 tour carrying over the theme. The cotton blend crew neck shirt is black heather with charcoal heather sleeves setting up a subtle contrast bridging the gap between street fashion and concert merch. If the ghost is in the machine then the devil is in the details because this shirt also features contrast stitching at the collar.

Its no surprise then, that The Police Ghost In The Machine Men’s Raglan tee is one of our bestselling t-shirts and worthy of being the ninth inductee on The SocieTees Rock T-Shirt Hall of Fame™.

The Police Ghost in the Machine Tour 1981-82 Mens Raglan Shirt
The Police Ghost in the Machine Tour 1981-82 Mens Raglan Shirt
Color: Black Heather with contrast Gray Heather


The Origin of The Raglan Shirt

The origin of the raglan tee is an interesting one dating all the way back to the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. The style is characterized by sleeves extending all the way to the collar, rather than stopping at the shoulder. This came about when Lord Raglan had a coat made like this to provide unrestricted movement during battle. The fashion statement has lived on – most notably for its use in baseball jerseys for the unrestricted movement. Additionally, the sleeves are three-quarter length and generally a different color than the rest of the shirt.


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