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Leper Messiah



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

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
Metallica Artistfacts
More Metallica songs
More songs about spirituality or religion

Comments (9):

According to James, Cliff named this song.
- Nick, Brantford, ON
"Spineless from the start, sucked into the part" Leper Messiah was a spineless creature
Which they worship
- Dennis, Steinbach, MB
I always thought it was representing Jesus as a disease (leprosy), and that the "send me money, send me green, Heaven you will meet" was the collection plates passed out during the Lord's Supper. Maybe, maybe not.
- Jacob, Jackson, TN
An issue of Guitar World (I forget which one) interprets the song, especially the line "Chain, chain, join the endless chain, taken by his glamour" as being about the disgusting amount of glam metal and hair metal oozing about in 80's LA. I personally think the line "stinking drunk with power" is one of the greatest lines James Hetfield ever wrote.
- Aki, Sunrise, FL
it's really funny to see people put religon and science together...for over 400 years that the church has against science.
- Nick, Las Vegas, NV
"Like a leper messiah" comes from Ziggy Stardust
- G, Potomac, MD
I hate people like Benny Hinn who make money off bsing people into giving him money to give them salvation, its horrible. makes the real believers who just want to help people look really bad, "I am the way the truth and the light, no one comes to my Father but through me" (I cant remember the exact verse but its in the Book of John of the bible) those televangelists cannot be considered christian
- Bryce, San Diego, CA
It's about time they added this song to the list of Metallica songs!!!! I sort of already knew what it was about, but yea...kick-rectum song. I wouldn't say its the fastest one on the album (I believe that goes to Battery =P), but still fast and...did I mention awesome?
- Evan, Otway, OH
I agree. I"m suprised that they finally added all of this, I'm so flattered, lol
- JT, Tullahoma, TN
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