King For A Day

Album: Here's to Future Days (1985)
Charted: 22 8
Play Video


  • This song finds Thompson Twins frontman Tom Bailey singing about a disillusioned girlfriend that he loves so much, that he would give up all the riches and power in the world to make her happy.

    The song nicks a line from The Beatles "All You Need Is Love" when Bailey sings, "Love is all we need to get us through." Explaining how this line is key to the song, Bailey told us: "The message was curiously derived from the '60s, that love is all you need, and despite all these problems, that's what we should emphasize."
  • Here's To Future Days was originally produced by Alex Sadkin, who had helmed the band's previous two albums. However after vocalist/guitarist Tom Bailey was diagnosed with nervous exhaustion and ordered to rest by doctors, the Thompsons reconsidered the entire project, and scrapped most of the material. Once Bailey was better, they recruited Chic's Nile Rodgers to take over production.

    Two different recordings of "King For A Day" were released: The UK single version featured the band's older, more synth-based sound, whilst the American and album versions was the guitar-led Rodgers production and featured some axe work from the Chic leader himself.
  • This was the second US single from the LP Here's To Future Days. It was the last Thompson Twins song to break the Top 10 in America, although they scored minor hits with "Get That Love" (#31, 1987) and "Sugar Daddy" (#28, 1989).

    Here's To Future Days marked the last album for the group as a trio, as Joe Leeway departed, leaving just Tom Bailey and Alannah Currie, who were a romantic couple and would get married in 1991.
  • Tom Bailey stopped performing Thompson Twins songs in 1987, and didn't play them again until 2014 when he headlined the Retro Futura tour with Howard Jones. Bailey took a fresh look at his classic hits and decided that this one was key to the setlist, as it helped explain his absence.

    "In a way, 'King For A Day' is a song that explains why I've been missing for 30 years," Bailey told us. "It kind of says the whole fame and fortune game doesn't ultimately satisfy me, and I got distracted by other things. So although I'm glad to be back and sorry about being away for so long, this is my excuse."

    On the tour, Tom played a new arrangement of the song, which was slower and considerably longer than the original.

Comments: 1

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 12th 1986, "King for a Day" by the Thompson Twins entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #52; and nine weeks later on March 16th, 1986 it peaked at #8 for one week...
    It reached #4 in New Zealand and #10 in Sweden...
    Between 1982 and 1989 the trio had eleven Top 100 records; with three reaching the Top 10, their two other Top 10 records were "Hold Me Now" {#3 in 1983} and "Lay Your Hands On Me" {#6 in 1985}...
    They just missed having a fourth Top 10 record when "Doctor! Doctor!" peaked at #11 in 1984.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Rock Revenge Songs

Rock Revenge SongsMusic Quiz

John Lennon, Paul Simon and Lynyrd Skynyrd are some of the artists who have written revenge songs. Do you know who they wrote them about?

The Untold Story Of Fiona Apple's Extraordinary Machine

The Untold Story Of Fiona Apple's Extraordinary MachineSong Writing

Fiona's highly-anticipated third album almost didn't make it. Here's how it finally came together after two years and a leak.

Vanessa Carlton

Vanessa CarltonSongwriter Interviews

The "A Thousand Miles" singer on what she thinks of her song being used in White Chicks and how she captured a song from a dream.

Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde

Johnette Napolitano of Concrete BlondeSongwriter Interviews

The singer/bassist for Concrete Blonde talks about how her songs come from clairvoyance, and takes us through the making of their hit "Joey."

The Real Nick Drake

The Real Nick DrakeSong Writing

The head of Drake's estate shares his insights on the late folk singer's life and music.

Pete Anderson

Pete AndersonSongwriter Interviews

Pete produced Dwight Yoakam, Michelle Shocked, Meat Puppets, and a very memorable track for Roy Orbison.