Sympathy for the Devil has been often placed among the most popular songs of All Time. Written by Mick Jagger, it is also undoubtedly one of the very best songs the Stones have ever composed and produced.
Less known: the influence the song came from. However Jagger clearly mentions his sources.
Let us him quote about the lyrics: "I think that was taken from an old idea of Baudelaire's, I think, but I could be wrong. Sometimes when I look at my Baudelaire books, I can't see it in there. But it was an idea I got from French writing. »
More surprisingly, the chief inspiration of the song comes from the Russian novel and perhaps one of the greatest book of the twentieth century : The master and Margarita by Mikhaïl Boulgakov.
The lyrics focus on atrocities in the history of mankind from Lucifer's point of view, including the trial and death of Jesus Christ just like in Boulgakov’s Novel.
Also stated in the song’s lyrics : the violence of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the 1918 massacre of the Romanov family ("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"), and World War II ("I rode a tank, held a general's rank when the blitzkrieg raged, and the bodies stank").
If you have enjoyed the music, you certainly can’t miss reading the book. Regarding the music, Jagger admitted he wanted to switch from Rock to jazz and create a hypnotic groove, a jazz Latin feeling in the style of Kenny Clarke would have played on 'A Night in Tunisia.
At the crossroads of several influences :Rock, latin jazz, French and Russian litterature, no doubt Sympathy for the devil remains a kind of classics in the history of rock music and a Masterpiece.