Sympathy for the Devil Lyrics

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 Tsar 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

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 reached 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, baby

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
But what's confusing you
Is just the nature of my game, mm yeah

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, mm yeah

Pleased to meet you
Hope you guessed my name, mm yeah

But what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game, mm mean it, get down

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

Oh, right

What's my name
Tell me, baby, what's my name
Tell me, sweetie, what's my name
Song Info
Submitted by
Submitted on
May 16, 2001
242 Meanings
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I think this song is sung in the point of view of the Devil, and is saying to stop blaming the Devil for everything bad. There are alot of references, including the crucifixion of Jesus, world war 2, and the assasination of John F. Kennedy. But who crucified Jesus? Man. Who started WWII? Man. What killed J.F.K? Man. This song is saying that the Devil didn't cause these things, he just "watched" while man did all the work. That's why this song is called "Sympathy for the Devil". It isn't saying to really have sympathy for him, it is saying that maybe we should stop blaming him for all bad things, and maybe start taking a look at ourselves

Song Meaning

Absolutely agree. This song is all about man. Pilot, kings and queens, rulers, politicians, war mongers, you and me. It's all laid out right there in the lyrics. I don't for a second think that Mick Jager / Keith Richards intended any religiosity in any direction, but for me as a Christian and member of the human race I appreciate the song for pointing out the power that man has to destroy. It's easy to blame someone, be it the devil, God or any man, but the fact is we all have power over our actions (free-will) and...

@serg340 That's exactly what I think. It is the evils of mankind that we care calling the devil.

@serg340 I just stumbled upon your comment, good thoughts. Been a while since you posted you comment. I agree, but I would like to expand a little. It is also look into the very nature of nature of evil it self. It boasts of its conquests, power, threatens anything the will try to stand against it and will lie without hesitation. Of course these are all human traits, yet sometimes it seems that evil does take on a life all its own.

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The song taunts us over and over with "What's my name?" even after the narrator tell us to just call him Lucifer.

His name is God. Not Lucifer, not Satan, but God. I used to think this verse was just bad grammar:

 As heads is tales
 Just call me Lucifer

But the anwer is right there--cop is to criminal as God is to Lucifer.

God in a bad mood is Satan. God in a bad mood lays our souls to waste:

 Just call me Lucifer,
 Cause I'm in need of some restraint.

God in a good mood plays games with us:

 What's puzzling you
 Is the nature of my game.

 What's confusing you
 Is just the nature of my game.

What a masterful song!

Song Meaning

I always took the song at face value, but I think you just nailed it.

that is a fascinating take on it

I like this interpretation best.

Also other things that suggest it is God and not Satan:

What's puzzling you is the nature of my game. When bad things appear to happen to religious people, they say God "moves in mysterious ways" or that "we cannot understand his reasons".

And all the sinner saints, The Bible often shows a lot of sympathy for sinners, even seeming to encourage sin sometimes, check out Luke 7: 36-50. Also the Bible is often known for speaking in contradictory terms.

Also, the first verse, "And I was 'round when Jesus Christ Had his moment...

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It's not Lucifer speaking in this song, it's God.

Just as every cop is a criminal And all the sinners saints As heads is tails

This song is saying that God is the real devil. It's a maltheistic song.

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

It's telling you to worship this evil totalitarian or you will suffer. The title "Sympathy for the Devil" is because people generally worship God and sympathize with him despite monstrous deeds. "Devil" is not a literal term.

I don't actually believe God is this, just what I think the song is saying. I don't agree with it, but this is what I think it's saying

What does 'maltheistic' mean?

Basically, it means "God is evil."

lol, you gave such a great explination, but fell short on the last reply. "God is evil" is a bit ridiculous. This might as well be an athiest or agnostic standpoint. Mack Jagger has stated that he was ambivalent to religion.

All polytheistic religions prior to Judeism and Christianity never believed in a god of "Evil" or devil. They worshiped gods for war and hunger and everything else "bad," but they weren't looked at negatively. They were still gods and in their eyes, better than humans. The Monotheistic religions created an evil force that apposed their only, all-mighty...

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I think the meaning of this song is pretty obvious. This is clearly not a Satanic song. It's a cautionary tale.

Evil is everywhere. It's a constant. Those who try to just go along with everything and ignore the fact that evil exists and do nothing about it are going to be consumed by the devil (Have some sympathy, and some taste/Use all your well-learned politeness/Or I'll lay your soul to waste). He is out to destroy us. To take us over. To remove our good. If we are apathetic to it or if we go along with it to save ourselves in the natural world, he will destroy our souls. We have to learn to recognize him (hope you guessed my name). He puts on a great disguise. We must sift through all the B.S. if we want to outsmart him.

so well said

i don't think its obvious to tell the meaning of the song is because songs could have different meanings to people in different situations but i do agree that it is definitely not a satanic song. i do like your interpretation though

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I understand this as an admonishment that evil is nothing new and can disguise itself in many forms, as it has thru history.Even Christ faced this dilemma (of course, HE recognized it for what it was) Sympathy is thinking like the devil, the ultimate enemy, to effectively recognize and resist. It's a warning to those who are naive and accept everything at face value. Writing this in the first person further drives home the point of entering the mind of the ultimate enemy. I find this song almost too profound for a robot, take- everything-literally Christian to comprehend.Few ever get past the knee-jerk reaction because it portrays the devil in the first person. mmmmmm......... makes ya think, huh?

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The man who wrote the article that a link was given to in the previous comment is a false prophet. The man is proclaiming hate, telling people to condemn these songs and singers for their lyrics, calling them prophets of Satan. The author of the article is saying that we are all weak minded and able to be swayed by these "satanic" lyrics if we listen to them. He says we should listen to christian songs only.

The author is wrong. We sould be able to listen to whatever we want. We shouldn't be limited to only Christian music. This author is a prime example of why people are driven from Christianity. The author used misquoted lyrics in his article, the System of a Down lyrics read this:

Father, Father, Father, Father, Father/ Into your hands/I/commend my spirit, Father, into your hands,

Why have you forsaken me, In your eyes forsaken me, In your thoughts forsaken me, In your heart forsaken, me oh,

not:

Father (**) Brother (**) Father/ Into your hands/I/commend my spirit, Father, into your hands,

Why have you forsaken me, In your eyes forsaken me, In your thoughts forsaken me, In your heart forsaken, me oh,

In closing, I do not believe you should listen to this false prophet. Christ taught compassion, not hate.

@Gilthanis There's a problem with this post and others like it there is NO GOD. Nothing means anything until we as people give it meaning

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i really think that the line about the troubadours is a metephore - the lost of young musicians to drugs, alcohol, ect. before they really meet their potential. and it is possible that everyone is just reading too much into it.

i set traps for the troubadors to get killed before they reach Bombay is obviously a reference to the Beatles going to India.

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This song is a direct shot at people with religious beliefs. It was meant for certain people not to get. In short, it is saying, to blame all the bad things in the world on a "character", is naive and uneducated. The only thing that would be more rediculous than this belief, would be the actual belief that Mick Jagger is actually the devil. This song, not only is extremely cleverly written, and disguised, but has some of the best guitar licks, and rolls along with the best r&b ever written. For those who still don't get it, I'm sure think Ozzy Osbourne is the prince of darkness, Alice Cooper is the Devil's son, and Marilyn Manson is, well "mister scary". What these artists all have in common, is they get to travel world, and see first hand the atrocities caused by religion. All were brought up very religious, and began to mock this belief, after worldly education. For all you young music listeners, I was like you, and at 15 took the words to this song literally, after learning about popular music extensively, and the different bands, I was able to see through the simple lyrics of alot of songs, but believe this one is one of the most important. "Who killed the Kennedy's?" after all it was you and me, and the russian's, and the mafia, and the.................. Not some dude in a red cape.The end lyrics give it away, "I tell you one more time baby, your to blame". Meaning us, people. It's a shame that alot of people weren't sharp enough at the time to get it, and for those who didn't, John Lennon had to write a song with no hidden tongue in cheek meanings. The shame is, when he wrote that song , people got it, but stuck their heads in the sand. Though it doesn't rock like "Sympathy", it's just as important, and 200 years from now ,people will know , "Imagine ", was sending the exact same message to an ignorant and confused society.

@viper67 I might agree with you about most of these guys, but for the record, Alice Cooper is still a hardcore Christian, who sees his edgier stuff as sort of an ironic advertisement for the straight and narrow. (And it's entirely to Alice's credit that this atheist is still a huge fan.)

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Troubadours were people in the middle ages who would travel from France trying to reach out to Europe and Asia of Gods true message but were often killed by Church officials or others before they could finish their journey.

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This song is clearly about God being responsible for what goes on.

"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"

"I shouted out "who killed the Kennedy's?" when after all it was you and me"

"Tell me baby, what's my name I tell you one time, you're to blame"

it's as simple as that. People like to blame the worlds problems on a "devil" or "evil" when it is Man himself to blame.

lol, I put God at the top... meant to put Man.

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