Recorded at Olympic Studios in London in June 1968, Sympathy For The Devil is one of those songs that everyone knows instantly from the opening notes, or in this case, the percussion that opens the song. It could only be The Rolling Stones.
The vocal track, aside from Keith’s roaring guitar solo, is the best of the isolated tracks. At a time where automated vocals were non-existant it just shows what a great singer Mick Jagger was and still is. At just over the 2 minute mark of the isolated vocal track, the “woo woo” backing vocals come in but you’re still able to hear Mick making noises in the background which aren’t audible in the final studio version. The high pitched singing at the end of the track is wonderful too, take a listen for yourself:
The piano and guitar parts are together in one track, Nicky Hopkins on piano duties and Keith taking the incredible guitar solo. What’s special about the guitar part in particular is that you’re able to hear small imperfections and little things like fingers being dragged up and down the strings, all of which can’t be heard in the studio version.
The bass and drum parts are pretty simple but great to hear nonetheless, with the bass containing imperfections just like the guitar part does.
Brian Jones also played an acoustic guitar during this song but it ended up being turned right down in the final mix of the song to the point where you can’t even hear it. However the addition of an acoustic guitar would have given the song a different feel so I can understand why it was turned down.
Just like the isolated vocal track of Gimme Shelter I posted recently, these tracks from Sympathy For The Devil are absolutely fantastic. The song itself is a masterpiece so it’s great to hear each of the separate instruments on their own without anything else. It gives you the ability to appreciate the song even more and adds to the overall greatness of the song.