Man Of Sorrows

Album: Accident of Birth (1997)

Songfacts®:

  • Dickinson: "'Man of Sorrows' was about the young Aleister Crowley, Aleister Crowley as a boy. And what kind of feelings turn a twelve year old boy into, basically what inspires a twelve year old boy to make a life choice: 'Hey, what do you want to be when you grow up?' 'I want to be the Antichrist.'"
  • Aleister Crowley was a Victorian alchemist, sorcerer, and writer. He declared himself to be the Antichrist 666 as predicted in the Book of Revelation in the Bible. He was a heavy influence on bands like the Beatles and Led Zeppelin. His famous line, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law," has been called the "motto" of the 1960s. It is quoted in this song.
  • Aleisteir Crowley is also the subject of Ozzy Osbourne's early hit "Mr. Crowley." Ozzy's album Diary of a Madman got its title from Crowley's autobiography. Also, Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page had a pet symbol, the word "Zoso" in an elaborate, somewhat Gothic style that was taken from the sentence "So is O" in Crowley's book The Equniox of the Gods. Page once owned Crowley's mansion.
  • This featured Richard Baker on piano. Roy Z (real name: Roy Ramirez) played piano on the rest of the album, as well as guitar and mellotron.
  • Derek Riggs designed the cover for the single. It depicted Edison, the deranged British jack-in-the-box, crucified with a spider web behind him. "Man of Sorrows" was a title assigned to Jesus in Isaiah 53 (according to Christians), and Dickinson considered it wonderful irony that a title of Christ should be used to describe the AntiChrist. The single featured the radio edit, the orchestral version, and the Spanish version of the song (as well as demos of "Darkside of Aquarius" and "Arc of Space"). >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Brett - Edmonton, Canada, for all above

Comments: 3

  • Nurdyguy from Dallas Tx"Man of sorrows" was originally a reference to the Jewish messiah written in the book of Isaiah (Chapter 53). Christians believe that Jesus was/is the one fulfilling those prophecies which is why he is called Christ, the Greek version of the word messiah. Interestingly, the prefix "anti" in Classical Greek means "instead of". Thus the Antichrist is a sort of impostor who pretends/proclaims to be the Christ. As such, the true Antichrist would never proclaim to be such as it would contradict his claim of being the true christ.
  • Deidre from Somewhere, FlMan of Sorrows was also a writing by Crowley concerning his friend and mentor in magic, Allan Bennett who suffered from painful illness, when he left to study Buddhism. When Bennett was gone Crowley wrote, "O man of sorrows: brother unto Grief! O pale with suffering, and dumb hours of pain! Oh worn with Thought! Thy purpose springs again. The Soul of Resurrection: thou art chief. And lord of all they mind: O patient thief. Of God's own fire! What mysteries find fane. In the white shrine of thy white spirit's reign, Thou man of Sorrows: O, beyond belief!
  • Dave from Melbourne, AustraliaI love this song. It's very moving.
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