Come To Mama!

In an historic GRAMMY moment, The Police (Sting, Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers) will reunite and perform together for the first time on the GRAMMYs when they open the 49th Annual GRAMMY Awards telecast on Feb. 11. The winners of five GRAMMY Awards, the Police created a purely original sound by infusing reggae with pop and rock, growing into one of the most popular and innovative acts of the '80s.

The 49th Annual GRAMMY Awards will take place live on Sunday, Feb. 11, at Staples Center in Los Angeles and will be broadcast in HDTV and 5.1 surround sound on the CBS Television Network at 8 p.m. (ET/PT)

This is about as massive as it gets. The Police were the world's biggest band, selling out stadiums and dominating the global pop charts, upon their 1984 split. The trio's long refusal to bite the reunion bait has only made public appetite grow.

At first glance, the payoff seems great all around. Longtime fans get entertained again, young fans get their first glimpse, the band makes its cash, the tour industry gets a boost.

But just how wise is the act of the rock 'n' roll reunion? Old hands know it's fraught with a less visible peril: When you step back out to dust off your legacy, you risk getting it dirty in new ways. After years of letting things lie, that's apparently a chance The Police are willing to take.

One thing is certain: The band's reappearance means we're running out of untapped blockbuster comebacks.

Beyond Pink Floyd -- abandoned by Roger Waters in 1983 -- The Police were the most significant holdouts still prowling the hallowed halls of rock mythology. Or at least right near the top: Billboard reported last week that Van Halen -- with original vocalist David Lee Roth -- also will be heading out for a summer tour.

In the world of rock, 2007 is shaping up as Year of the Reunion. It's not just the quantity that stands out; remobilized old bands have dominated the summer concert circuit for years. It's the star power.

Beyond The Police and Van Halen, major reunion projects are on the way from such names as Rage Against the Machine, Genesis, Smashing Pumpkins and The Stooges.

The attendant hype for such comeback blitzes could be chalked up as another sign of contemporary rock's troubled times. Sure, a Police or Van Halen reunion would have been big news at any point the past two decades, but in 2007, their likely domination of the pop-music conversation will starkly reveal a modern scene that can't match such wide-scale excitement.

In an age of entertainment-on-demand, summoning old favorites back into action has become just another public expectation.

The music annals are teeming, of course, with the magical reunions that can never happen in full: groups such as Led Zeppelin, The Allman Brothers and Nirvana, whose classic lineups have been splintered by death. That's what makes The Police a special case -- one of the few larger-than-life bands whose members aren't just alive and kicking, but remain creatively active.

There aren't a whole lot of candidates left. On the pop side are ABBA and the '60s-era Supremes. Alternative rock has The Smiths and The Talking Heads. In classic rock are The Kinks, maybe Journey with Steve Perry.

Recurring rumors of a Police reunion had become a standard feature in recent years, getting extra fuel when the trio temporarily re-formed for its 2003 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

For years we'd heard of the lingering animosity among Sting, Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers. The three had seemed intent on sticking to their guns, letting history be history after the breakup that made The Police one of those pop-culture rarities: an act that went out on top.

And that gets right to that dim danger lurking at the core of the rock reunion: screwing up the legacy. The trio's defiance in the face of what had surely been tremendous temptation -- financial and otherwise -- is one reason the band's credibility held up strong over time. Hitting the road means taking that reputation out for a spin, too.

Bret Burnette, 29, is OK with that risk. An avid Police fan from Flint, Mich., he's never seen the band, but he's devoured the concert videos.

"It won't be like it was when they were younger. Maybe the energy level won't be as high," Burnette says. "But to see all those classics played live is pretty awesome. The idea of them getting back together -- I'm waiting for the day tickets go on sale."

Material: grammy.com & Detroit Free Press