“King of Pain” by The Police
Most of the imagery used in The Police’s “King of Pain” portrays sorrow, darkness and pain, contradicting the beautiful and peaceful view of nature. The writer, who uses these natural images to describe his mood appears to be in a vicious cycle of pain and hurt, thus enthroning himself as the king of pain.
The first lines which talk about a black spot in the bright sun and being the same as yesterday implies his moodiness and the fact that he has already experienced a similar loss in the past. He further uses various elements of nature such as treetops, wind, rain, waterfalls, cliffs, spring tides and spider webs, with each having an attached darkness to signify his state of mind.
As he continues, he reveals that his soul is that dark thing stuck in all these natural elements. His soul is dark because it is filled with sadness after experiencing another loss. In the chorus, he emphasizes on his hopes to meet someone who’ll put an end to his sorrow. However, he concludes that it just might be his destiny to experience all the painful emotions in the world.
Sting talks about “King of Pain”
Sting, who explained the song in an interview with Musician Magazine said it was written during the period shortly after his separation from first wife Frances Tomelty. At that point, he was also not on good terms with his band.
He views himself in the light of sorrow and darkness, while crowning himself king in these areas.
“King of Pain” Facts
Production: Hugh Padgham in conjunction with Sting and The Police
Album: “Synchronicity” (which holds the distinction of being the band’s final album)
Release: June, 1983
Was “King of Pain” a single?
Yes. It was the last of four singles The Police released from their “Synchronicity” album. It was preceded by the following singles (which all became massive hits):
A Chart Success
“King of Pain” (just like the aforementioned singles) was a chart success. On the Hot 100, for example, it peaked at position 3. It even went on to top America’s “Mainstream Rock” chart compiled by Billboard.
It also achieved significant success in the band’s home country of Britain, where it got to No. 17 on the coveted UK Singles Chart.
Covers of “King of Pain”
Since The Police released this classic in the early 1980s, many prominent singers have released numerous cover versions of it. One of these covers worth mentioning is that of Alanis Morissette. Alanis recorded and released her version in 1999 to critically acclaim.