Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil" question
Mar 21, 2006 at 1:54 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 21

Ahriman4891

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Hi all,

in this song, there is a verse:

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


Can anyone enlighten me as to what the highlighted words stand for? All the other allusions are obvious, but I can't crack this one. Thanks!
 
Mar 21, 2006 at 1:59 AM Post #2 of 21

Vicious Tyrant

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I'll be glad to help you here.

You see, Bombay is a brand of whiskey and killed refers to getting drunk. Now, a "Troubador" is like a doorman, but he's drunk, see? So the guy, who's like, the devil, is laying a "trap", which is a way of saying he's trying to get through the door. So its like a "trap" that the guy's drunk - not the devil guy, the doorman guy, except he's more like a sneaky trash man than a doorman, as such. So, anyway, the guy can't get through the door, but that's really a cockney slang way of saying he's trying to drink the whiskey, which is, of course, made by Bombay.

Hope that helps....
 
Mar 21, 2006 at 2:21 AM Post #3 of 21

Ahriman4891

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Ahh...

And I was trying to somehow connect this to medieval bards/ministrels
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Is it just cockney slang or general term in English-speaking countries? Edit: I mean 'troubadours' referring to doormen?

Thanks a lot, btw!!!
 
Mar 21, 2006 at 2:40 AM Post #4 of 21

dknightd

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I've heard of Bombay gin, but never bombay wiskey.

Anyway, the two interpretations of that line that I am familar with are:

Troubadours were travelling musicians in the middle ages who would travel from France trying to reach out to Europe and Asia of Gods true message but were often killed by Church officials or others before they could finish thier journey.

or,

Some say troubadours refer to The Beatles. They became mystical in their song writing after going to India, losing touch with reality and the commom man.

I don't what, if anything, they meant. I assume it was some allusion to something the devil did somewhere sometime... Good song though
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Mar 21, 2006 at 3:03 AM Post #5 of 21

elan

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I could be way off base here, but it could be a reference to the Thuggee religious cult in India. The Thuggees would ritually strangle travellers they caught in the Indian countryside. It is believed that they were responsible for millions of deaths. The Thuggees believed that each death would prevent the goddess Kali from returning for 1000 years. I'd guess that keeping her away would be a good thing! The British suffered their share of deaths, and by the end of the 19th century, had crushed the movement.

Maybe I missed it. The European involvement in India goes back a long way!

Edit: European involvement in India does go back a long way, but Bombay was a creation of the British, so it had to be during the time of the Raj.
 
Mar 22, 2006 at 5:02 AM Post #6 of 21

Ahriman4891

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Thank you everyone!

I actually needed it for a class... prof said he was looking for the answer for some years now. I'll present him with all these (very plausible) theories. If anyone else has stuff to add, I'll be grateful
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Mar 22, 2006 at 3:03 PM Post #7 of 21

zotjen

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Vicious Tyrant
I'll be glad to help you here.

You see, Bombay is a brand of whiskey and killed refers to getting drunk. Now, a "Troubador" is like a doorman, but he's drunk, see? So the guy, who's like, the devil, is laying a "trap", which is a way of saying he's trying to get through the door. So its like a "trap" that the guy's drunk - not the devil guy, the doorman guy, except he's more like a sneaky trash man than a doorman, as such. So, anyway, the guy can't get through the door, but that's really a cockney slang way of saying he's trying to drink the whiskey, which is, of course, made by Bombay.

Hope that helps....



No offense, but you're kidding, right? As far as I know there is no such thing as Bombay whiskey and a troubadour is certainly not like a doorman.
 
Mar 22, 2006 at 3:10 PM Post #8 of 21

Rock&Roll Ninja

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Also, when he rode a tank, did the devil hold a generous rank, or a general's rank?
 
Mar 22, 2006 at 3:10 PM Post #9 of 21

viator122

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Quote:

Originally Posted by dknightd
Troubadours were travelling musicians in the middle ages who would travel from France trying to reach out to Europe and Asia of Gods true message but were often killed by Church officials or others before they could finish thier journey.


Any idea why Church officials would want to prevent the spread of Christianity to Asia?
 
Mar 22, 2006 at 3:32 PM Post #10 of 21

sTisTi

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Quote:

Originally Posted by viator122
Any idea why Church officials would want to prevent the spread of Christianity to Asia?


Maybe because the troubadour's understanding of "God's true message" was in contradiction to the official party line represented by the church authorities
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Mar 22, 2006 at 4:30 PM Post #11 of 21

Ahriman4891

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Quote:

Originally Posted by zotjen
No offense, but you're kidding, right? As far as I know there is no such thing as Bombay whiskey and a troubadour is certainly not like a doorman.


Well there is Bombay gin (Wikipedia has it). The troubadour = doorman bit is a bit puzzling, hence I asked again (maybe I'm just not smelling sarcasm or something
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)
 
Mar 22, 2006 at 7:02 PM Post #12 of 21

Vicious Tyrant

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Ahriman4891
Thank you everyone!

I actually needed it for a class... prof said he was looking for the answer for some years now. I'll present him with all these (very plausible) theories. If anyone else has stuff to add, I'll be grateful
smily_headphones1.gif



Oh, hey, dude - please don't add my answer to your college paper. I was totally kidding, its all gibberish. I should have added a smiley. I'm an ass.
 
Mar 22, 2006 at 7:04 PM Post #13 of 21

Vicious Tyrant

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Quote:

Originally Posted by zotjen
No offense, but you're kidding, right? As far as I know there is no such thing as Bombay whiskey and a troubadour is certainly not like a doorman.


No offense taken and yes, totally kidding.

There is no Bombay whiskey (that I know of) and troubador is, indeed, nothing like a doorman or a sneaky trash man, whatever that means. I was shooting for a humorous Jim Anchower-kind of loser, stoner sounding response. It seemed funny to me until I realized the OP was doing research for his college paper.
 
Mar 22, 2006 at 7:14 PM Post #14 of 21

Glod

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Such a great Stone's number - perhaps the best in my taste. Brings a lot of memories back.
 
Mar 23, 2006 at 2:17 AM Post #15 of 21

sno1man

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One other theory. Christianity was often spread by traveling groups who had musicians in them who would literally sing gods praises. (the revivals in the american south are a direct descendent of that)

Well certainly the christians face some resistance in a country like India with hindus and so forth.

So literally it could be another group offing the christians in the name of religion
 

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