"King Of Pain" as written by and Gordon Matthew Sumner....
There's a little black spot on the sun today
It's the same old thing as yesterday
There's a black hat caught in the high tree top
There's a flag pole rag and the wind won't stop
I have stood here before inside the pouring rain
With the world turning circles running 'round my brain
I guess I'm always hoping that you'll end this reign
But it's my destiny to be the king of pain

There's a little black spot on the sun today, that's my soul up there
It's the same old thing as yesterday, that's my soul up there
There's a black hat caught in a high tree top, that's my soul up there
There's a flag pole rag and the wind won't stop, that's my soul up there
I have stood here before inside the pouring rain
With the world turning circles running 'round my brain
I guess I'm always hoping that you'll end this reign
But it's my destiny to be the king of pain

There's a fossil that's trapped in a high cliff wall, that's my soul up there
There's a dead salmon frozen in a waterfall, that's my soul up there
There's a blue whale beached by a springtide's ebb, that's my soul up there
There's a butterfly trapped in a spider's web, that's my soul up there
I have stood here before inside the pouring rain
With the world turning circles running 'round my brain
I guess I'm always hoping that you'll end this reign
But it's my destiny to be the king of pain

There's a king on a throne with his eyes torn out
There's a blind man looking for a shadow of doubt
There's a rich man sleeping on a golden bed
There's a skeleton choking on a crust of bread

There's a red fox torn by a huntmen's pack, that's my soul up there
There's a black winged gull with a broken back, that's my soul up there
There's a little black spot on the sun today
It's the same old thing as yesterday
I have stood here before inside the pouring rain
With the world turning circles running 'round my brain
I guess I'm always hoping that you'll end this reign
But it's my destiny to be the king of pain
King of pain
King of pain, king of pain, I always be king of pain


Lyrics submitted by Demau Senae

"King of Pain" as written by Gordon Sumner

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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King Of Pain song meanings
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44 Comments

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  • +6
    General CommentIs it not the consensus that Sting is bipolar?

    Whether he is "officially" diagnosed as bipolar or not, he's made reference to being very depressed for long periods of time, and the lyrics in this song paint exactly the kind of bleak and hopeless picture of the world that someone in the midst of a depressive episode would experience. I was long ago diagnosed as bipolar, so have been there, have experienced these lyrics... and I'd like to offer what is perhaps a different twist on them, an interpretation that is, to me, maybe slightly more illuminating as to the state of mind of someone who's "in it."

    First, I think it's important to note that the imagery he creates relates not just to the suffering of the living, but to a kind of randomness in the world that effects all things. Beyond the fox, the gull, the whale, etc., (the living things), there's also a hat in a tree and a rag on a flagpole... not to mention the sunspots themselves. All of these, together, suggest a kind of negative, naturalistic view of the world (and universe), a view where things "just happen" and traits "just are," all of it out of anyone's control. In this world-view, pain and suffering and death are simply part of a meaningless lottery. What I think Sting is saying, in a nutshell, is, "Well, if nature can be so random and so indifferent to things like these (the fox, whale, etc.), then why in the world would I expect nature to be any more kind to *ME*? I'm no more entitled than the whale, the fox, or the butterfly."

    Alnother neat thing: like any chaotic system, sunspots are paradoxically both random, and predictable. Each spot ("soul") is random as to where specifically it appears and the course of its "life." Still, when they're viewed collectively, sunspots are cyclical, following an 11 year pattern. This is interesting because, in a similar way, bipolar disorder is cyclical when viewed on longer time scales (years, or a lifetime), and yet it is often completely random as to when any one episode will arrive. It's an interesting parallel, though I'm not sure it was intended by Sting.
    scottp1182002on July 15, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General CommentYeah... basically it is a guy saying how depressed he is... but it's a surprisingly beautiful song if you really listen. It's about a man saying he's destined to always be hurting, that the pain will never go away no matter what he does or where he goes. He's asking for someone to help him but ultimately knows they can't.
    Chrsitianaon February 16, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentHopefully shauncreaney has chilled and found a bit of tolerance in his life. It’s not enough to just dislike the song—he’s got to roll into go-to-hell-bastard. Hope he manages to exorcize his jealousy demons …

    This is a very creative song with loads of well constructed imagery. I dismiss any references to Satan and think this is a song about depression. The black spot on the sun is a day that starts out good but is destined to tank and he knows it. The owner of the hat might also have felt his day tanked.

    And this has happened often. It’s the same old thing as yesterday. The rain is pouring, the wind won’t stop, the world is doing circles—life sucks. The end of the reign refers to a desire for this crappola to stop and the destiny is his doubt that it will.

    The remaining images are examples of having a piss-ass frustrating day. We all have them. Songwriters can immortalize feelings that do not necessarily continue in a steady, daily flow.

    I didn’t know Iran had Nazi prisons and I’m sorry—I shouldn’t have said that—but I couldn’t resist.
    sillybunnyon July 20, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI wasn't aware that anyone was ever tortured in a Nazi prison camp in Iran.
    Daivdon July 29, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentHey, there's a little black spot on the sun today....
    42 stepson June 05, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI don't see the link to Jung. There could definitely be one, though. Sting's a well-read guy.
    I love this song, by the way. The instrumetation isn't whiny, and Sting's voice isn't, either, but the words carry a lot of weight.
    innermasterpeaceon November 14, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love this song. It is about being depressed, but the morbid things you notice when you are depressed. Also how difficult it is to come out of depression.
    dengeiston February 26, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentshauncreaney - the song 'de do do do" is pointing at you!

    Now wonder i like this song so much when i'm depressed!
    sixedhearton June 03, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentBTW I thing that the line "there's a little black spot on the sun today; it's the same old thing as yesterday"

    Is a powerful analogy of paradoxical self-destruction; every day looking directly at the sun, the little black spot on it, in the hope of understanding it,seeing the black spot grow which is possibly a spot of blindness from staring at the sun?
    King of pain.
    Sting is deeper than some of you think.
    HUDATon September 12, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Commentshut yer hole...it has something to do with Carl Jung...i'm not sure what.

    any ideas, parapsychologists?
    juvenilecokefiendon April 27, 2003   Link

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