If you take away the extra noise provided by the band of demons when the devil is playing, you can see that the Devil plays much more complicated piece than the repetitive tune played by...
The devil went down to Georgia
He was lookin' for a soul to steal
He was in a bind
'Cause he was way behind
And he was willin' to make a deal

When he came upon this young man
Sawin' on a fiddle and playin' it hot
And the devil jumped
Up on a hickory stump
And said, "boy, let me tell you what

I guess you didn't know it
But I'm a fiddle player too
And if you'd care to take a dare, I'll make a bet with you

Now you play a pretty good fiddle, boy
But give the devil his due
I'll bet a fiddle of gold
Against your soul
'Cause I think I'm better than you."

The boy said, "my name's Johnny
And it might be a sin
But I'll take your bet
And you're gonna regret
'Cause I'm the best there's ever been."

Johnny, rosin up your bow and play your fiddle hard
'Cause hell's broke loose in Georgia, and the devil deals the cards
And if you win, you get this shiny fiddle made of gold
But if you lose, the devil gets your soul

The devil opened up his case
And he said, "I'll start this show."
And fire flew from his fingertips
As he rosined up his bow

Then he pulled the bow across the strings
And it made an evil hiss
And a band of demons joined in
And it sounded something like this

When the devil finished
Johnny said, "well, you're pretty good, old son
But sit down in that chair right there
And let me show you how it's done."

He played Fire on the Mountain run boys, run
The devil's in the House of the Rising Sun
Chicken in a bread pan pickin' out dough
Granny, does your dog bite? No child, no

The devil bowed his head
Because he knew that he'd been beat
And he laid that golden fiddle
On the ground at Johnny's feet

Johnny said, "Devil, just come on back
If you ever want to try again
I done told you once you son of a bitch
I'm the best that's ever been."

He played Fire on the Mountain run boys, run
The devil's in the House of the Rising Sun
Chicken in a bread pan pickin' out dough
Granny, does your dog bite? No child, no


Lyrics submitted by ninjakitty1

"The Devil Went Down to Georgia" as written by Charlie Daniels Charles Fred Hayward

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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The Devil Went Down to Georgia song meanings
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54 Comments

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  • +5
    My InterpretationEveryone gets this one wrong. Johnny lost his soul. In the very first verse, the song tells us that the devil was "looking for a soul to steal". Not "a soul to win fairly in a fiddling contest", a soul to STEAL. Of course the devil isn't exactly the honorable sort and shouldn't be expected to honor a bargain anyway. He's spent thousands of years perfecting the art of tricking men. He offers Johnny a deal. The "deal" is crafted such that it appeals to johnny's pride (one of the 7 deadly sins), and dangles a golden fiddle before Johnny to appeal to his greed (another deadly sin) in case his pride wasn't enough. Johnny acknowledges that "it might be a sin" before issuing the brash, prideful statement "I'm the best there's ever been" and accepts the deal. Sure, Johnny wins the fiddling contest, but the contest was never the devil's true interest. The devil lost on purpose, just to further inflate Johnny's pride. The devil's true interest was to STEAL Johnny's soul by tricking Johnny into agreeing to the deal at all, and our poor Johnny's soul was doomed from the moment he fell into the devil's trap and accepted the deal.
    Volponion October 06, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOK let me tell you what this is really about. It's about Charlie Daniels' inner struggle between his rock and roll spirit and his country boy roots. Back when Charlie was young, rock was still called the "Devil's Music", and what's the first thing you hear when the devil "starts this show"? An electric guitar! The very symbol of rock and roll. And the devils' fiddle solo sounds like if AC/DC played the fiddle. Then comes Johnny's solo and what do we hear? "Chicken in the bread pan pickin out dough Granny will your dog bite no child no" I'm from East Tennessee and trust me, it just don't get anymore country than that. So the devil represents rock and roll and Johnny represents hillbilly mountain music. Ultimately, Charlie decides he can't turn his back on his roots and Johnny wins out. Great story-song. One of my favorites.
    Crush Hiveon May 11, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI just want to point out one thing... The devil was "lookin' for a soul to steal," but it looks to me like he offered Johnny a legitimate bet, lost it, and then held up his end of the deal honestly. No stealin' involved. It's not like Johnny was coerced or the devil tried to cheat!
    kreniighon October 11, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentjust cool
    HivesFanCCon June 05, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti can't believe this song wasn't added sooner...but definitely a cool song...
    daz_spazon June 05, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is great.
    egut521on June 11, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentA great story
    GrijzeVoson June 13, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentprimus did a good job covering it....listen to it you wouldn't be able to tell the difference.
    blind_rockstaron August 27, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwow and haha...what else is there to say?
    sicslyksteron September 22, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is timeless, it's about loving something.....i reckon anyway, lots of good covers, one by weird al "the devil went down to jamaica" (i think) one by the toy dolls called "the devil went down to georgia
    Bulkyoneon March 09, 2003   Link

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