The Rolling Stones Sympathy for the Devil

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The Rolling Stones Sympathy for the Devil

Rock

The song was written by Stones members Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The inspiration came, Jagger says, from Beaudelaire’s poetry and the book The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, which Marianne Faithfull had given to him. “Sympathy for the Devil” was released as the opening track of their 1968 album Beggars Banquet. Rolling Stone magazine has the song on their “500 Greatest Songs of All time.”

This song helped to keep maintain the image of the Stones as bad boys — as opposed to those nice chaps, The Beatles. However, Mick Jagger says that this song is not about the occult or Satanism, but rather the dark side of man. Keith Richards has said regarding the meaning: “You might as well accept the fact that evil is there and deal with it any way you can. ‘Sympathy for the Devil is a song that says, ‘Don’t forget him. If you confront him, then he’s out of a job.'”

The beat is based on a Samba rhythm. Richards says: “‘Sympathy for the Devil’ started as sort of a folk song with acoustics, and ended up as a kind of mad samba, with me playing bass and overdubbing the guitar later.” On the track were Mick Jagger (lead vocals), Keith Richards (electric guitar, bass guitar, backing vocals), Brian Jones (backing vocals), Bill Wyman (maracas, backing vocals), Charlie Watts (percussion, backing vocals), Nicky Hopkins (piano, backing vocals), Ricky Dijon (congas), Anita Pallenberg (backing vocals), and Marianne Faithfull (backing vocals).

The song is also featured for in the 1968 film Sympathy for the Devil (originally titled One Plus One) by director Jean-Luc Godard. The film shows the Rolling Stones in the studio recording the song.

There have been numerous covers of the song, including Guns N’ roses for 1994 film Interview with The Vampire, Sandie Shaw, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Jane’s Addiction, Laibach, Ozzy Osbourne, The Attack, Incubus Succubs, and Motörhead, to mention a few.

Here are the lyrics to “Sympathy for the Devil” by The Rolling Stones:

Please allow me to introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth and taste
I’ve been around for a long, long year
Stole many a man’s soul to waste

And I was ’round when Jesus Christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game

I stuck around St. Petersburg
When I saw it was a time for a change
Killed the czar and his ministers
Anastasia screamed in vain

I rode a tank
Held a general’s rank
When the blitzkrieg raged
And the bodies stank

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name, oh yeah
Ah, what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah
(Woo woo, woo woo)

I watched with glee
While your kings and queens
Fought for ten decades
For the gods they made
(Woo woo, woo woo)

I shouted out,
Who killed the Kennedys?
When after all It was you and me
(Who who, who who)

Let me please introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth and taste
And I laid traps for troubadours
Who get killed before they reached Bombay
(Woo woo, who who)

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
(Who who)
But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, oh yeah, get down, baby
(Who who, who who)

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But what’s confusing you
Is just the nature of my game
(Woo woo, who who)

Just as every cop is a criminal
And all the sinners saints
As heads is tails
Just call me Lucifer
‘Cause I’m in need of some restraint
(Who who, who who)

So if you meet me
Have some courtesy
Have some sympathy, and some taste
(Woo woo)
Use all your well-learned politesse
Or I’ll lay your soul to waste, mm yeah
(Woo woo, woo woo)

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, mm yeah
(Who who)
But what’s puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, mm mean it, get down
(Woo woo, woo woo)

Woo, who
Oh yeah, get on down
Oh yeah
Oh yeah!
(Woo woo)

Tell me baby, what’s my name
Tell me honey, can ya guess my name
Tell me baby, what’s my name
I tell you one time, you’re to blame

Oh, who
Woo, woo
Woo, who
Woo, woo
Woo, who, who
Woo, who, who
Oh, yeah

What’s my name
Tell me, baby, what’s my name
Tell me, sweetie, what’s my name

Woo, who, who
Woo, who, who
Woo, who, who
Woo, who, who
Woo, who, who
Woo, who, who
Oh, yeah
Woo woo
Woo woo

The Rolling Stones have quite a repertoire. For other songs by them: “Paint it Black,” “Mother’s Little Helper,” “Satisfaction,” and “Gimme Shelter.”

Check Out The Groove Pad for More 1960s Music

The Pass the Paisley Groove Pad is a resting stop, a place to chill out and listen to the featured song on the stereo. If the mood strikes you, click on the juke box to access and listen to the 50+ free online songs there. The TV has several channels, with selections updated twice a week. Every now and then, Pass the Paisley hosts an all-request of 1960s and 1970s songs for a Be-In at the juke box in the Groove Pad. Keep on truckin’. Hope you enjoyed “Sympathy for the Devil” by The Rolling Stones.

2 Comments

  1. […] For more songs by The Rolling Stones: “Satisfaction,” “Mother’s Little Helper,” “Paint it Black,” “Gimme Shelter,” “Get Off of My Cloud,” and “Sympathy for the Devil.” […]

  2. […] If you are interested in reading about and listening to other songs by The Rolling Stones: “Paint it Black,” “Satisfaction,” “Gimme Shelter,” “Get Off of My Cloud,” and “Sympathy for the Devil.” […]

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