Sympathy for the Devil is the name of a well known The Rolling Stones song, which appeared as the first track on the 1968 album: Beggars Banquet. The song was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, although most of it was composed by Jagger. There were early inspirations that led the Rolling Stones to a folk sound. Talking about it Jagger said in an interview in 1995:
"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. And I just took a couple of lines and expanded on it. I wrote it as sort of like a Bob Dylan song."The truth is that the lyrics were inspired by a novel named The Master and Margarita, written by Mikhail Bulgakov. Keith Richards also suggested to Mick Jagger that they add backing percussion, thus transforming Sympathy for the Devil in a samba from a folk song.
Sympathy for the Devil is sung by Mick Jagger in the first person narrative as if he was Lucifer: "Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and taste;". These are the opening words of the sung and show the direct inspiration Jagger had from The Master and Margarita. The song is backed by a rock arrangement and the singer tells the exploits he had over the course of history, warning the listener: "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" .
The problem with Sympathy for the Devil was that religious groups started to think that the Rolling Stones were devil worshipers, together with corrupting the youth. On the other hand, you can interpret Sympathy for the Devil as the Devil being man. The song actually provides a brief history of atrocities committed by man against man. Wars of religion are mentioned, the Russian Revolution of 1917, the purported survival of Anastasia, World War 2 and more. Sympathy of the Devil is considered by most as a criticism towards human kind immorality. We can also think that the song says that it was the Devil that caused man to do all the bad deeds of the past. Sympathy for the Devil also comes with references to the deaths of Robert and John Kennedy.
There was also a Remix album of Sympathy For the Devil by The Rolling Stones, which featured:
1. "Sympathy for the Devil" - The Neptunes radio edit
2. "Sympathy for the Devil" - The Neptunes extended remix
3. "Sympathy for the Devil" - Fatboy Slim radio edit
4. "Sympathy for the Devil" - Fatboy Slim extended remix
5. "Sympathy for the Devil" - Full Phatt radio edit
6. "Sympathy for the Devil" - Full Phatt extended remix
7. "Sympathy for the Devil" - Original Rolling Stones version