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Sympathy for the Devil
Song

Sympathy for the Devil

The Rolling Stones
Album:

Song Meaning and Background of Sympathy For The Devil by The Rolling Stones


The Master and Margarita, a book by Soviet author Mikhail Bulgakov that depicts Satan having his way in 1930s Moscow, served as the source of inspiration for this hellish diversion. The lyrics centre on historical crimes from Satan's perspective, such as the trial and crucifixion of Jesus Christ, religious conflicts in Europe, the bloody 1917 Russian Revolution, the 1918 execution of the Romanov family during World War I, and World War II. The song's first line asked "Who shot Kennedy?" but was modified to refer to both assassinations following the death of Robert F. Kennedy on June 6, 1968.


Mick Jagger's ominous Dylan-like lyrics were a challenge for Keith Richards, who was confused "whether it should be a samba or a goddamn folk song," he later recounted.


As a result, the Stones gave the devil one of their best grooves, constructed on Rocky Dijon's congas and Bill Wyman's Maracas in the style of Bo Diddley. "Before, [the media] said, 'They're evil, they're evil,' when we were just innocent kids having fun," Richards recalled. "So that makes you begin to consider evil... Everyone is a Lucifer.


Lyrics of 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 and faith

 

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 Tzar 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

But what's puzzling you

Is the nature of my game, oh yeah

 

I watched with glee

While your kings and queens

Fought for ten decades

For the gods they made

 

I shouted out,

"Who killed the Kennedys?"

When after all

It was you and me

 

Let me please introduce myself

I'm a man of wealth and taste

And I laid traps for troubadours

Who get killed before they reach Bombay

 

Pleased to meet you

Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah

But what's puzzling you

Is the nature of my game, oh yeah, get down, hit it

 

Pleased to meet you

Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah

But what's confusing you

Is just the nature of my game

 

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

 

So if you meet me

Have some courtesy

Have some sympathy, and some taste

Use all your well-learned politesse

Or I'll lay your soul to waste

 

Um yeah

Pleased to meet you

Hope you guessed my name, um yeah

But what's puzzling you

Is the nature of my game

 

Um mean it, get down

 

Woo, who

Oh yeah, get on down

 

Oh yeah

Oh yeah!

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

Ooo, who

Ooo, who

 

Ooo, who

Ooo, who, who

Ooo, who, who

Ooo, who, who

 

Ooo, who, who

Oh, yeah

What's my name

Tell me, baby, what's my name

 

Tell me, sweetie, what's my name

Ooo, who, who

Ooo, who, who

Ooo, who, who

 

Ooo, who, who

Ooo, who, who

Ooo, who, who

Ooo, who, who

 

Oh, yeah

Release Date

1968

Songwriter/s

Jagger–Richards

Producer/s

Jimmy Miller

Label/s

Decca

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