Throwback Thursday: Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil”

Lizzy Partsch, Staff Writer

The Rolling Stone are one of the most popular and widely known rock bands of the ’60s and ’70s, who produced thousands of hits, that were not only popular back then, but are even listened to in today’s generation.

Although they have produced a lot of songs, one of their most controversial and catchy songs is “Sympathy for the Devil” released in 1968.

“Sympathy for the Devil” was written by band members Mick Jagger, lead vocals, and Kieth Richards, lead guitar and backing vocals.

One of the most significant and interesting facts about the song is that it was written in first person narrative, portrayed by the devil.

In the song, the devil talks about various points in history where tragic events have occurred and how it was his doing.

For example, “And I was ’round when Jesus Christ / Had his moment of doubt and pain / Made d*** sure that Pilate / Washed his hands and sealed his fate,” refers to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

The lyrics, “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,” refers to the assassination of Czar Nicolas II of Russia, when his entire family and himself were murdered.

Many more events in history are displayed throughout the song, such WWII in the lines, “I rode a tank / Held a general’s rank / When the blitzkrieg raged / And the bodies stank” and the assassination of the Kennedy’s in the lines, “I shouted out, / Who killed the Kennedys? / When after all / It was you and me.”

The song’s chorus also has a major effect on the meaning of the song: “Pleased to meet you / “Hope you guessed my name / But what’s puzzling you / Is the nature of my game.”

After the song was published, lots of rumors were floating around saying that the Rolling Stones was a devil worshiping band and people even proceeded to shout, “They’re evil, They’re evil!”

Even more interesting, one person was actually killed at one of their concerts, during the song “Under my Thumb,” which was only a few songs after “Sympathy for the Devil” was played.

Mick Jagger even stated that, “We’re always having—something very funny happens when we start that number.”

Despite the dark memories, no one can argue that “Sympathy for the Devil” is surely a fantastically written song, in which some would even say is one of their favorites.

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