All This Time (Sting song)

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"All This Time"
All This Time Sting single.jpg
Single by Sting
from the album The Soul Cages
B-side ""I Miss You Kate"
"King of Pain" (live)
Released 8 January 1991
Format CD maxi, 7" single
12" maxi, Cassette
Recorded 1990
Genre Pop rock, Rock, Soft rock
Length 4:55
Label A&M
Songwriter(s) Sting
Producer(s) Hugh Padgham
Sting singles chronology
"They Dance Alone"
"All This Time"
"Mad About You"

"They Dance Alone"
"All This Time"
"Mad About You"

"All This Time" is a 1991 single by Sting. It was the first single from his 1991 album The Soul Cages.[1] Being the album's most radio friendly track, the song was a chart success, especially on the American charts, where it reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped both the Mainstream and Modern Rock Tracks charts.[1]


The lyrics provide a reference to the death of Sting's father, symbolized by the image of a young boy, Billy, who, at the death of his father, wishes to bury him at sea instead of going through the Catholic rites:

"Two priests are at Billy's father's deathbed—he's been injured in a shipyard accident—and Billy doesn't want the ritual that's being served up, he wants to take his father and bury him at sea."

— Sting, Q, 2/91 [2]

Despite the dark lyrics, the uptempo tune of the song foils their macabre undertone:[2]

"It's about the death of my father, so it's pretty dark as a record but on this song the words are foiled by this fairly jolly tune. That's something I like to do quite a lot, combine dark subject matter with up music. No, it's not based on a dream. The lyrics seem surreal, but they are all images I remembered from my home town: ferries, priests, shire horses. I grew up by the shipyards. I just wanted to escape. I suppose it was quite a surreal place, though. It is the landscape of my dreams"

— Sting, Independent On Sunday, 11/94 [2]

The imaginary character, Billy, is also referred to in the lyrics to the opening song on The Soul Cages, "Island Of Souls".[3]


"All This Time" opened the set on The Soul Cages tour. After this, the song was not performed again until 2000 during the Brand New Day tour.[1] The song lent its name to the ...All This Time live album which was recorded on September 11, 2001, at Sting's villa in Tuscany.

The music video depicts the wry, black humour of the song. It featured Melanie Griffith as a manicurist and Sting's wife Trudie Styler dressed as a French maid, and recreated the overcrowded stateroom scene from the Marx Brothers' 1935 film A Night at the Opera.[1]

Track listings[edit]

7" single / Cassette
  1. "All This Time" — 3:59
  2. "I Miss You Kate" — 3:48
12" maxi
  1. "All This Time"
  2. "King of Pain" (live)
CD maxi
  1. "All This Time" — 4:02
  2. "I Miss You Kate" — 3:44
  3. "King of Pain" (live) — 7:14


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Song details for All This Time: Description
  2. ^ a b c Song details for All This Time: Artist Comments
  3. ^ Song details for Island Of Souls: Lyrics
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "All This Time", in various singles charts (Retrieved January 12, 2009)
  5. ^ Irish Single Chart Archived 2009-06-03 at WebCite (Retrieved January 12, 2009)
  6. ^ "All This Time", UK Singles Chart (Retrieved January 12, 2009)
  7. ^ a b c d Billboard (Retrieved January 12, 2009)
  8. ^ "RPM 100 Hit Tracks of 1991". RPM. Retrieved November 23, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1991". Archived from the original on 2009-07-07. Retrieved 2009-09-15.