What does Sympathy for the Devil mean?

The Rolling Stones: Sympathy for the Devil Meaning

Album cover for Sympathy for the Devil album cover

Song Released: 1969

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 and faith

And I was 'round when Jesus Christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Nov 6th 2017 !⃝

    Devil lore describes his ability to take any shape that will seduce his victim to follow him. Pontius Pilate was lured to follow the people who clamored for Christ's execution; Marxist/Leninism lured the communists into their bloody revolution; the power of murder and high rank lured the Nazis to destroy their own country; each section cites a lure and a fish that swallowed a hook and suffered.
    That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Oct 16th 2016 !⃝

    There's 2 meanings for this song. The first being that Lucifer the devil is telling about what he's done throughout history. Wars, deaths, assassinations, and other evil things. He's telling you that you don't have to like him but you should at least respect him or else. The second possible meaning is that YOU the listener are the "devil". That god and the devil don't exist that we the human race alone did those things. "Just as every cop is a criminal and all the sinners saints" refers to that no matter how "good/holy" we think we are we're still have the possibility to become a evil monster. We still can become the devil.


    #3 top rated interpretation:
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    Oct 16th 2016 !⃝

    The song is basically saying that people blame the Devil for all the bad stuff in the world, but in reality, it's the people themselves.

  4. anonymous
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    Apr 14th 2023 !⃝

    There is no devil. Christ asked God while dying on the cross "why did he forsaken him'. Jesus knew that crucifixion would be his fate. Hence, this could only mean that God has a dark side. Which in turn is mislead to be the devil. Essentially, a devil would be a mathematical impossibility in a God's world. Lucifer is God's dark side! There cannot be another mathematical possibility!!!

  5. anonymous
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    Aug 20th 2021 !⃝

    The best verse....

    I rode a tank
    Held a general's rank
    When the blitzkrieg raged
    And the bodies stank

  6. anonymous
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    Nov 28th 2020 !⃝

    Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
    John 3:19-20

    You think the devil and man are good for the interpretation for this song?

  7. anonymous
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    Aug 9th 2020 !⃝

    Just as God is not a God afar off, Devil/Lucifer/Satan is not a "god" afar off either. Both are two sides of the same coin and both are WITHIN you. Two sides of your own soul. They live in you, as you, and ARE YOU. The Devil in scripture is allegory for the human ego. It's who you BELIEVE yourself to be when in fact it is a lie.

    Devil/Satan/Ego is the great deceiver. But Christ IN YOU is the hope of glory and your true Divine identity. Christ, which is the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24)... God/Source itself... is who you really are, the very breath and spirit of your life. There is only God. There is nothing BUT God/Source in the entire universe. But the Devil/Ego, the great deceiver, wants to keep you in bondage to the lie of who you believe yourself to be. Imperfect. Mortal. Flesh and blood. Prideful. Powerful. In control.

    But when the truth and remembrance of who you really are begins to resurrect in you, as it will eventually for all humankind, you will make the great Exodus out of the land of Egypt (ignorance/darkness) into the Promised Land of light and understanding and truth. The TRUTH of who you really are, a Divine spark of God. That will set you free from the lie of who you once believed yourself to be.

    Brilliant song and lyrics, way ahead of it's time and definitely took balls to put out there as another posted above. The world at large would rather lay blame for the atrocities of history - past, present, and future history - on some Devil or entity outside of themselves. When in fact "it was you and me" all along. It's all symbolism and allegory. And until mankind comes to the understanding that we are all literally ONE appearing as the many in legions of forms and expressions, and that when we destroy another we always destroy our own self as well, it will continue ad infinitum.

  8. anonymous
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    Apr 10th 2020 !⃝

    Just would like to add... When Lucifer got expelled from heaven God changed his name from Lucifer to Satan... I'm sure the author of the lyrics knew this... It's a brilliant track and serious balls are needed to produce something like this, especially for its time... Funny how the gestapo tripped on classical music... and our hero bands of today like Metallica and Guns and Roses are often labeled as satanic? I love truth, God , and Rock & Roll!! Praise God for our wise musicians (prophets according to me...)

  9. anonymous
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    Feb 13th 2020 !⃝

    Lucifer is bragging that all the horror mankind has brought on to itself was his influence that made men turn from god. Since god only banished him and let him loose on mankind its like a competition with god for souls. We better get a clue cause it seems he is actually going to be front and center sooner than we realize. So much hate has consumed us for as long as god gave us free will.i have met lucifer and was easily influenced to the darkness.thankfully becoming close to dying from self inflicted disease I saw the truth and got back to god. If and when I meet lucifer again I will treat him like I would treat anyone cause I know his tricks

  10. anonymous
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    Jul 13th 2018 !⃝

    I agree with the previous, The Screwtape Letters to a T

  11. anonymous
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    Jun 14th 2016 !⃝

    I' am trying to think from a brotherly CHRIST like conscious perspective that part of this song was[is] about understanding and feeling sorry for the sinner with patience, love and sympathy, while we should be on guard and hateing the sin committed who has been influenced by evil programming of his ego mind by the evil sins of the Elite Racists to use ''RE-LEGION'' on the fragile sheep like minds to crack and divide us to even kill ourselves. Then go figure out why and ''Who killed the Kennedys? When after all it was you and me'' Anotherwords ''we are all responsible'', meaning the wealthy Elite and down to the average poor, if we with whoever wants to win this world ''without responsibillity'' for how the other person[s] is[are] being influenced spiritually and psychologically, especially by the ones that have the ''power of information'' to express opinions and laws on this world to one another that to many times influences us to act unnaturally evil and deadly towards eachother for whatever ungodly reasons, if we don't think and act more with the loving God before we act and think tank with or like a poor little Devil to give us fame and fortune for a illuminated death.

  12. anonymous
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    Jun 10th 2016 !⃝

    Behold, for we are not His children, we are but His crops. Rejoice, and lest we destroy ourselves, bear Him fruit!

  13. anonymous
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    May 2nd 2015 !⃝

    It is simply yin and yang. We ALL consist of dark and brightness. Hope you guess my name??? Doug. That's me.

  14. Jevjango
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    Oct 9th 2014 !⃝

    I thought it was common knowledge that the song was influenced by 'The Master and Margarita' by Bulgakov. If you read it you will see what I mean and the lyrics will become abundantly clear. Also, you will find that the song has referenced the book. It is a fantastic book too with several layers, worth reading. BTW the book also influenced The Eagles when they wrote Hotel California.

  15. anonymous
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    Jun 8th 2014 !⃝

    I have to agree "after all, it was you and me".

    It's not the devil, it's not the demagogues. It's the average everyday citizen that allows these atrocities since the beginning of time. What Sinclair Lewis called the "Doremus Jessup"

  16. anonymous
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    Oct 6th 2013 !⃝

    The song is titled sympathy for the devil and yet over and over again in the chorus the charactee challenges you to guess his name. The final verse goes through a series of characters by nameing them the opposite of whom they are (cops=criminals, sinners=saints) and then follows with "as heads is tails (another opposite) just call me lucifer"..... So if heads = tails, then Lucifer = God. He tells you he is lucifer but repeatedly challenges you to guess his name implying that the name he's giving you usnt the right one. Thats because it isnt lucifer its god.

  17. anonymous
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    Aug 25th 2013 !⃝

    OK, It's 'Satan'- (it's name). The lyrics are saying 'it' (I don't believe it's a he or she) has been around at least 2000 years and performing/causing/instigating countless crimes against humanity. If you are looking at it through the lens of the Judeo-Christian programing you would assume I am talking in terms of 'Satan' or 'The Devil' being an evil spirit. To me they are obviously cryptically (because they aren't stupid) talking about the 'Illuminati conspiracy'. If you would consider that 'Satan' or 'the Beast' maybe as referred to in THE BIBLE, is this same conspiracy. I am not a Cristian but I do believe THE BIBLE gives us many clues to what is going on. We are warned, 'SATAN will deceive you'. It makes SO much more sense if 'SATAN' is a CULT than a supernatural being.

    One more thing, if as it says in Revelations, 'the Devil sends The Beast with wrath, then we have multiple entities here, so what is what? Maybe that should have called 'Sympathy with THE BEAST'.

    Take a look at these and see if it makes any more sense.

    IRON MAIDEN 'Revelations'
    RUSH 'Distant Early Warning'

  18. anonymous
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    Feb 2nd 2013 !⃝

    Who's to blame? What's my name? Whats the nature of my game? You're to blame. You should know your own name. In a way we are the devil,and caused everything you consider evil, or, if you're religious I guess another answer would be: We fall under the devils influence.

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