Sword of Damocles

Album: Redeemer of Souls (2014)
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • Damocles was a flatterer in the court of Dionysius II of Syracuse, a 4th-century BC tyrant of Syracuse, Sicily. The courtier exclaimed to the king that, as a great man of power and authority surrounded by magnificence, he was truly extremely fortunate. Damocles was invited by the tyrant to switch places with him during a sumptuous banquet and was seated in Dionysius' throne. The fawning courtier was surrounded by every luxury, but a huge sword was suspended by a horse's hair above the throne. Damocles was afraid to stir and the banquet was a torment to him, as he came to the realization that the king's great fortune and power also came with great peril and anxiety.
  • Judas Priest vocalist Rob Halford explained the song's meaning to Classic Rock Revisited: "The story of Damocles goes back a long ways. It's a fable. It talks about a guy who is a king; he's a very powerful dude. He has all this food and all of this wine and women and everything. His buddy comes and visits him and says, 'You've got the best life.' He tells him, 'Look above me.' The guy looks up and sees the sword, which is held together by this little thread. He goes 'That thread could break at any moment, or at any point of my life, and then all of this will be gone.' That is the message that we're trying to relay. You need to live the life you have the best you can every day, as it is all you've got."
Please sign in or register to post comments.


Be the first to comment...

Dr. JohnSongwriter Interviews

The good doctor shares some candid insights on recording with Phil Spector and The Black Keys.

John Doe of XSongwriter Interviews

With his X-wife Exene, John fronts the band X and writes their songs.

Rosanne CashSongwriter Interviews

Rosanne talks about the journey that inspired her songs on her album The River & the Thread, including a stop at the Tallahatchie Bridge.

Curt Kirkwood of Meat PuppetsSongwriter Interviews

The (Meat)puppetmaster takes us through songs like "Lake Of Fire" and "Backwater," and talks about performing with Kurt Cobain on MTV Unplugged.

Does Jimmy Page Worship The Devil? A Look at Satanism in RockSong Writing

We ring the Hell's Bells to see what songs and rockers are sincere in their Satanism, and how much of it is an act.

Sam PhillipsSongwriter Interviews

Collaborating with T Bone Burnett, Leslie Phillips changed her name and left her Christian label behind - Robert Plant, who recorded one of her songs on Raising Sand, is a fan.