Sword of Damocles

Album: Redeemer of Souls (2014)


  • 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."


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Sarah BrightmanSongwriter Interviews

One of the most popular classical vocalists in the land is lining up a trip to space, which is the inspiration for many of her songs.

Kristian Bush of SugarlandSongwriter Interviews

Kristian talks songwriting technique, like how the chorus should redefine the story, and how to write a song backwards.

Daryl HallSongwriter Interviews

Daryl Hall's TV show is a hit, and he's been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - only one of these developments excites him.

Crystal WatersSongwriter Interviews

Waters tells the "Gypsy Woman" story, shares some of her songwriting insights, and explains how Dennis Rodman ended up on one of her songs.

Krishna DasSongwriter Interviews

The top chant artist in the Western world, Krishna Das talks about how these Hindu mantras compare to Christian worship songs.

David Bowie Lyrics QuizMusic Quiz

How well do you know your David Bowie lyrics? Take this quiz to find out.