Ep. #69 Featuring Chris Pierce
"Sympathy for the Devil"
When The Rolling Stones released Beggars Banquet with “Sympathy For The Devil” as the opening track, the world was shaken to hear Mick Jagger refer to himself in the first-person as the devil. Rumors of The Stones and “devil worship” were rife and attention-grabbing. So much so that even mere hearsay spurred other rockers of influence to lean into the image of alleged Satanism including contemporaries Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath.
Far from being a song of worship to Lucifer, “Sympathy...” was inspired by the poetry of Charles Baudelaire and Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel “The Master And The Margarita”. Jagger’s lyrics use the themes and techniques of both Baudelaire and Bulgakov to comment on the social upheaval and atrocities that were accruing in the late 1960s. As society emerged from the flower power movement earlier in the decade, with “Sympathy...” The Stones seemed to herald the darker turn the world would take as it entered the 1970s.
Getting its start in Jagger’s notebook as a Bob Dylanesque poetry piece, it eventually blossomed into the samba beat-driven rock classic that we all know today through the inventiveness of band leader Keith Richards. With its far-reaching influence and political overtones, “Sympathy For The Devil” is not only one of the most popular songs in The Stones’ repertoire but one of the most influential Rock & Roll pieces of all time.
Paraphrasing Mr. Jagger, please allow us to introduce another man of wealth and taste, Mr. Chris Pierce.