At Death Ensemble, “Sympathy for the Devil” is the go-to Stones tune, but it’s not the only one that suits our horror ears to sweet perfection. I covered “Sympathy” a long time back, but it’s just the peak in a number of the band’s songs that look at the dark underbelly of our mortal existence. For those of you who only associate the Rolling Stones with “Satisfaction” or “Start Me Up,” I’d like to introduce you to “Dancing with Mr. D.”
The opening song off the Stones’ Goats Head Soup album, it starts off with Mick Jagger singing about a rather unpleasant trip to a graveyard. While there, he meets the titular character, and based on Mick’s description it’s not hard to figure out the “D” stands for Death. Mick then questions which of a number of methods will bring about his end. In the third verse, a ghastly woman enters the mix, but she may be just as lethal as Mr. D.
What really hooked me on this song was the slow, groovy music that backs up Jagger’s vocals. This is a funky blues affair that didn’t at first suggest to me the horrors involved in the lyrics. Jagger sells the narrator’s fear of Mr. D, but also the inevitability of our dance with him. We’re all going out eventually, and this song embraces that, all the while trying to flee it.
Ages ago, I found a whacked out video of the song, with Jagger dressed up like it was Rolling Stones Halloween. It was a funky clip that matched the funky tune. Youtube didn’t seem to have it anymore, so I dug it up on another site. The tune itself is a little different from the album version, so I’ve included both for you to check out.
“Dancing with Mr. D” is right up there with “Sympathy” and “The Midnight Rambler” when it comes to dark songs. Jagger and Keith Richards laid down a wicked track, which is why I’m adding the song to the Dead Man’s Party.