From my summer driving playlist, Sympathy For The Devil is a song best heard loud, windows down, with the reverberation of surround sound echoing in the night.
This Rolling Stones rock-samba number from the 1968 Beggars Banquet album is one of many of their mega tracks. As you may recall, its been used endlessly in pop culture scenes over the years, including the film adaptation of Interview With A Vampire (performed by Guns ‘n’ Roses), the movie Apocalypse Now, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, both the book and the film. It never seems to lose its luster, no matter how much I hear it.
The Stones received negative attention over Sympathy For The Devil’s release, as critics accused them of dabbling in Satanism and being ‘evil’. Mick Jagger found this a curious thing, as it was only just the one song touching on the topic. Regardless of the fears of the devout, the song lives on, while the entire album, for me, is a masterpiece of blues, rock, politics, and 100 % heart.
Jean-Luc Godard’s celebrated documentary Sympathy For The Devil, digitally remastered for its 50th Anniversary a few years ago, is a treat for Stones fans and should not be missed. Clips of the new version are available to be enjoyed on the various video-sharing sites, but I think it is worth watching in its entirety. The 4K quality is stunning, and I continue to be dazzled by the excellence in picture resolution. Where does it end?
Please allow me to introduce myself I'm a man of wealth and taste I've been around for a long, long years Stole million man's soul an faith 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 Stuck around St. Petersburg When I saw it was a time for a change Killed 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 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 politeness 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 Woo, who Oh yeah, get on down Oh yeah Aah 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 What's my name Tell me, baby, what's my name? Tell me, sweetie, what's my name?
Take a minute to watch this clip from the remastered doc, as the whoo-whoo’s are being rehearsed behind the scenes.
I like to think everybody has a favourite Rolling Stones song, what’s yours?