Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Album: SynchronicityReleased: 1983Charted:
This is a very personal song written by Sting. He had recently separated from his first wife, actress Frances Tomelty, and was not getting along with the other two members of the band.
Sting wrote this in Jamaica at the house where Ian Fleming wrote the James Bond books.
Sting: "I conjured up symbols of pain and related them to my soul. A black spot on the sun struck me as being a very painful image."
He recalled the specific incident and how future wife Trudie Styler inspired the song's title in Lyrics By Sting: "I was sitting moping under a tree in the garden, and as the sun was sinking toward the western horizon, I noticed that there was a lot of sunspot activity.
I turned to Trudie. 'There's a little black spot on the sun today.'
She waited expectantly, not really indulging my mood but tolerant.
'That's my soul up there,' I added gratuitously.
Trudie discreetly raised her eyes to the heavens. 'There he goes again, the king of pain.'"
This was a tough song to record. Sting didn't accept most of the suggestions from Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland.
The Police recorded this on the Caribbean Island of Monserrat. There was a great deal of tension in the band, and this was their last album.
Weird Al Yankovic recorded a parody of this song called "King of Suede." It's about a guy who is really good at selling suede. (thanks, Cliff - Burkesville, KY)
A 2004 episode of Degrassi: The Next Generation is named for this song. Most of the show's episodes borrow titles from '80s hits.
Alanis Morissette covered this for her MTV: Unplugged album in 1999. It was released as a single but failed to chart in the US or UK (though it was a minor hit in Brazil and the Netherlands).