Sympathy for the Devil (Rolling Stones) lyrics question

Rolling Stones fans/experts/historians…
We’ve all heard the song a million times, but I actually checked out the lyrics for the first time at my wife’s urging.
The Devil is listing off the historical events he has witnessed/participated/presided over and includes:
“…I lay traps for troubadours who get killed before they reach Bombay…”
I understand the troubadours were French medieval romantic poets/songwriters who had no interest in travel/exploration/searching for riches etc in India at all.
Is Old Mick (Old Nick!?!) using this as a metaphor for something else? Any takers?

Cheers Mike30

I have been under the impression that it’s “I laid tracks for troubadors who get killed before they reach my face.” I may be wrong, but it makes sense to me: these poets (in my mind all these years, anyway) were sort of doing the devil’s work and died in the process, so he welcomed them with open arms, so to speak.

I’m probably wrong, and my interpretation of the lyrics is probably one of those “mondegreens” you hear about. :slight_smile:

My reading of “Sympathy” is actually a combination of the first two posters: “I laid tracks for troubadours who get killed before they reach Bombay.” I too always wondered about the reference …

And on a related note, I have a friend who still insists the correct line from “Satisfaction” is “I can’t get no girlie action.” :rolleyes: Jeez, everybody knows it’s “I can’t get no girl reaction”!

We’ve been around this before, to no particular conclusion:

I don’t like the reference to the Maharishi because:

1 - the other references are clearly historical, not pop cultural - the Blitzkrieg, the Kennedy assasinations, etc.

2 - they appear to be in chronological order in the verse in question.

However, I spent some time trying to dig up a historical reference involving Bombay that this could refer to, with no luck. Somebody else may do better.

And my brain always insisted on hearing it as “before they reach home base”.

Oops engage brain or take another look before posting. The line about Bombay does come AFTER the Kennedies.

The lyrics:

I still don’t like the Beatles/Maharishi explanation, as the other references are historical and more literal than metaphorical. I would also note that “I watched with glee” / “While your Kings and Queens” / “Fought for ten decades” / “for the gods they made” tends to bugger up the chronological progression coming where it does.

Thanks folks for trying… it will remain one of those unsolved mysteries in my tiny little mind.
BTW Minty Green, the interpretation “girly action” is from the Devo version of Satisfaction.
Cheers Mike30

For me, it always meant that he enticed hippies to go to India (from Europe, you can drive or hitchike, or whatever) and killed them, either physically or spiritually on the way there. Remember, it is a 60’s song after all.

From the miniseries "The Stand"

Randall Flagg: Pleased to meet you, Lloyd. Hope you guess my name.
Lloyd Henreid: What?
Randall Flagg: Just a classical reference.