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James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich wrote this. It's a song dealing with Christian televangelists who use a person's guilt to con them into paying money. By promising people their safety with donations, televangelists keep the money for themselves. Another interpretation is that religion does not deliver everything it promises and ends up manipulating and controlling them, keeping with the overall theme of the album Master Of Puppets.
This song, along with "The God That Failed" on The Black Album, may be a reference to the death of James Hetfield's mother. She died of untreated cancer because her Christian Scientist beliefs went against the methods of treatment that would save her.
Former Metallica guitarist Dave Mustaine claimed to have written the main riff to this, but this was later refuted by Kirk Hammet in Guitar World magazine in February of 2006. Mustaine isn't credited on the track, and claims the band used his work without giving him credit so they could rip him off. (thanks, JT - Tullahoma, TN, for all above)
Metallica once chartered a 727 owned by a wealthy televangelist. Filmmaker Joe Berlinger followed the band for the 2004 documentary Some Kind of Monster and remembered going onboard. "Besides a full bar, there were CD players and large TVs for every swivel leather seat," he said.
David Bowie referenced a "leper Messiah" in his 1972 song "Ziggy Stardust
Ziggy sucked up into his mind
Like a leper Messiah
When the kids had killed the man I had to break up the band
You may not recognize his name, but you will certainly recognize Peter Lord's songs. He wrote the bevy of hits from Paula Abdul's second album, Spellbound
, plus a collection of other classics for the likes of Aftershock, Ali and Goodfellaz.
Mark Arm of Mudhoney
When he was asked to write a song for the Singles
soundtrack, Mark thought the Seattle grunge scene was already overblown, so that's what he wrote about.