Saturday, August 27, 1983

The Police “King of Pain” entered the Hot 100

King of Pain

The Police

Writer(s): Sting (see lyrics here)

Released: August 1983

First Charted: July 9, 1983

Peak: 3 US, 5 CB, 12 RR, 33 AC, 15 AR, 17 UK, 11 UK, 44 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 1.0 radio, 19.8 video, 31.66 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

In their native UK, the Police had landed four #1 songs and another four top-ten hits prior to 1983’s Synchronicity. They’d also had three consecutive #1 albums. In the United States, the band weren’t quite as big but they had landed three top-10 hits and two more top-40 hits. Their last two albums had reached the top 5 on the Billboard album chart.

Still, no one was quite prepared for the blockbuster that was to come in 1983’s Synchronicity. The lead single, “Every Breath You Take,” was a massive hit in the United States, logging eight weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100. Thanks to that song and three more top-20 hits, the album spent a whopping 17 weeks at #1 in the United States and went eight times platinum.

In the United States, “King of Pain” was released as the follow-up to “Every Breath You Take” while “Wrapped Around Your Finger” was the second single in the UK. Both songs entered the Billboard album rock track the same week “Every Breath You Take” landed at #1 on the Hot 100. On August 27, “King of Pain” debuted inside the top 40 on the Billboard charts. On October 1, it leapt from 11 to 6 a week after “Every Breath You Take” had exited the top 10.

The song grew out of lead singer Sting’s separation from his first wife, Frances Tomelty. He said, “I conjured up symbols of pain and related them to my soul.” WK He explained that while on vacation in Jamaica with future wife Trudie Styler he looked at the sun and said, “There’s a little black spot on the sun today…That’s my soul up there.” WK She responded, “There he goes again, the king of pain.” SF Those ended up as lyrics in the song, which was also fueled by his fascination with psychoanalyst Carl Jung and author Arthur Koestler, both of whom had explored the unexplained workings of the mind. WK

Weird Al Yankovic recorded a parody of the song in 1984 called “King of Suede.” Alanis Morissette covered the song in 1999 on her MTV Unplugged album.


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First posted 7/27/2022.

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