The Rolling Stones have released rare archival footage online for the first time, a clip of the band performing their now-iconic 1968 track ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ live in concert for the first time ever.
The footage, which has been officially shared through the YouTube channel of US label ABCKO, is part of a previously unreleased cut from the band’s 1996 Rock and Roll Circus concert which didn’t make it into the final finished project.
‘Sympathy for the Devil’, considered to be one of the Rolling Stones’ greatest creations, was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richard and arrived is the opening track on their 1968 album Beggars Banquet. Although the song is officially credited to The Glimmer Twins, it is widely believed that Jagger wrote most of the song on his own through its original incarnations as ‘The Devil Is My Name’ and ‘Fallen Angels’, before settling on the song’s title.
In a 1995 interview with Rolling Stone, Jagger said: “I think that was taken from an old idea of Baudelaire’s, I think, but I could be wrong.”
The ‘Brown Sugar’ singer added: “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.” It was Richards and his nous for a riff who suggested changing the tempo and using additional percussion, turning the folk song into a subterranean samba.
“It has a very hypnotic groove, a samba, which has a tremendous hypnotic power, rather like good dance music. It doesn’t speed up or slow down. It keeps this constant groove. Plus, the actual samba rhythm is a great one to sing on, but it is also got some other suggestions in it, an undercurrent of being primitive—because it is a primitive African, South American, Afro-whatever-you-call-that rhythm (candomblé). So to white people, it has a very sinister thing about it.”
See the band performing it live for the first time, below